Amazing stories about God’s grace and the people’s lives that have been touched
This magazine was designed to give our Lord Jesus Christ all the glory! Listed below are all the humble servants that put this magazine together. The Brandt Family Mrs. Barb Campbell The Clark Family Mr. Leroy Flowers Pastor Gardner Gentry Mr. Charlie Graves Mrs. Jeanie Hanson Jeffery Hanson Mr. Jim Hill Pastor Joe Murray Kristy Shriner Pastor Marvin Smith Mr. Marvin Smith, Jr. Pastor Thomas Smith
Amazing Grace Magazine is a ministry of Harvest Baptist Church.
614 2nd Avenue South Fort Dodge, IA 50501
To God Be The Glory Great Things He Hath Done
Purpose Statement We would like to share the goals and vision of Amazing Grace Magazine. This magazine’s focus is to give God the glory in our lives and to share God’s glory with others. If you have an amazing story about your life, we want to hear about it. Please write to: Harvest Baptist Church 614 2nd Avenue South P.O. Box 430 Fort Dodge, IA 50501 ATTN: Amazing Grace Story
The purpose of Amazing Grace is three fold: reach the lost, encourage believers, and inform the needy. Amazing Grace will reach the lost with stories of hope, mercy, and forgiveness through testimonies of ‘life-changing’ miracles. Amazing Grace will encourage and help believers with stories and topics that teach godly living and stewardship in such areas as finances, education, health, and the home. Amazing Grace will provide the needy with information related to alcohol, drugs, abuse, and relationships. Amazing Grace will provide the ON THE latest Christian book reviews. COVER Amazing Grace will also In these times, provide sources for twenty-four it is a challenge to hour prayer support, prayer raise just one godly partners, and an ongoing offer child, let alone and opportunity to give one’s forty-eight children. This issue shares life to Jesus Christ. the story of how Amazing Grace will the Clark family provide help, support, opened their loving and encouragement that home to many, strengthens traditional family children along the way. relationships.
Share God’s glory with others.
Volume 1 Number 1
Amazing Grace Magazine
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Living by Faith
Financial Part 1
Freedom by Pastor Marvin Smith
Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Growing up in hometown USA, population 3,000, a boy could ride his bike uptown, downtown, and a l l a ro u n d . Everyone knew you; life resembled easy street to me. I was not taught to think about money as a boy. As a teenager, I found myself introduced to a world of working and making money, while paying for a car with insurance and planning for marriage. No one sat down with me to help me understand the principles of finances. Therefore, I adopted the financial philosophy of no philosophy. Simply go to work, pay the bills and spend all that you have in between. Credit cards became the thing to own, and everyone used them. This was the wrong attitude and philosophy about finances. Let us trust God right now in prayer to establish some very important Biblical principles, to help guide us toward the right philosophy of finances and toward financial freedom. Let me begin by asking you to consider three major decisions that will impact the rest of your life:
Whom will you live the rest of your life for? Whom will you live your life with? What will you live your life in?
Whom will you live the rest of your life for? Will you live for yourself as your own
god? Or will you choose to accept that your life belongs to God, and is not your own? The decision to submit your will to faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord will transform your life and your purpose forever. This is the most important decision that you can make. If you live for yourself and lose your own soul, what will it profit you? Whom will you live your life with? Far too many people marry the person they happened to be around, when the rest of their friends started marrying. Your choice of a wife or husband as your lifetime companion will have a profound effect on every other area and de-
cision of your life. It is vital that you wisely choose God’s will for your life companion. What will you live your life in? Your choice of a career in a particular business, profession, or ministry will tremendously impact every other element of your life. Too many people spend their working years in a business or vocation for the wrong reasons: it was their first job, a relative got them a job or someone influenced their decision. You need to seriously pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in this vital life decision.
Five Key Factors Integrity - honesty in all Relationships
Discipline - using spirit-control In every area of life Social skills - friendly relations with people Supportive spouse - working together to reach goals Hard work - a willingness to work harder than most people
Financial Freedom Two ideas exist that we must understand. Money is not everything, and money cannot buy happiness. I read the other day that the chance of a person winning the lottery of $500,000 is far less than your chances of getting hit by lightning: less than one in ten million. Some people focus so exclusively on their finances that they have almost made their financial prosperity the sole measure of whether God is blessing their lives. Clearly there remains a need for balance. Money is important because we live in a world that takes money to live. Money affects the quality of life that one may live in regard to materialistic terms. But our goal should not consist of collecting the most toys. Someday we will give to the Lord an accounting of our stewardship of the finances He entrusted to us. To obtain that balance in our financial philosophy, we should remember the following:
Four Wrong Attitudes About Money
1 3 2 4
â€œMoney is an important part of our daily lives, and God knew it would be. He has given us instructions throughout His Word concerning finances.
1. Money is purely worldly.
Some suggest that the truly spiritual person should not concern themselves with worldly matters, such as finances. Many believe that the Lord is unconcerned with matters such as money, investing, and financial planning. Nothing resides further from the truth. Money exists as an important part of our daily lives, as God knew it would. He gave us instruction throughout His Word concerning finances. The Bible provides detailed instructions on how a believer should handle his money, as well as warnings about financial pitfalls to avoid.
2. Money is separate from our spiritual lives.
Some believe that the spiritual life should remain disconnected from worldly matters such as money. They create an artificial division between their sacred life and their earthly life. Some say, This 10% of my money belongs solely to God, but the other 90% belongs to me to spend any way I please. They believe it some how fanatical or extreme to involve God in every area of their finances; however, everything we own belongs to God. All we possess or will ever own is simply given in trust to us by the Lord. We are to use our finances according to the balanced principles taught in the Scriptures.
3. Financial success is unscriptural.
Some suggest that financial success proves incompatible with a true, spiritual life. They believe that prosperity is suspect and that the poor inherently possess more spirituality than the prosperous. Many believe that Christians who succeed financially reached that point by making money their god. This truth remains; financial freedom can be spiritually liberating, enabling you to focus on the spiritual goals in your life.
4. Financial planning Indicates a lack of trust.
By refusing to plan financially, some people believe that we should leave it all to God. Many spiritualize this passivity to justify their lack of financial discipline. They claim that if God wants them to succeed, they will wake up one day and find supernaturally acquired financial independence. Obviously, the Bible does not support the idea of passively awaiting a financial miracle. The Lord commands us to work and plan in order to provide for our families.
Biblical Attitudes Toward Money
God will supply our needs. Philippians 4:19, But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. One of the most fundamental, biblical truths is that God vitally concern himself with the practical, daily, economic needs of faithful followers, who trust in Him. While awaiting the rapture of the church, we must realize the probability of living through an economic roller coaster, for a number of years. Therefore, we need to find our ultimate financial source in our heavenly Father Instead of a salary or investments. If we ask the Lord, He promises to guide us with practical financial strategies through His Word and through His Holy Spirit. He will show us what procedures will help prepare for the days ahead. I believe that we can claim what David wrote in Psalm 37:25, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. This affirmation from King David confirms Godâ€™s promised care for those in need who appeal to Him.
A Family Serving by Jim Hill
Matthew 25:34-40 “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Here is a mission project that can include the whole family. Did you know in the world to-
day that every fifteen seconds a child dies from a lack of clean water to drink? Your family can help build clean drinking wells for children around the world through a project known as “The H20 Project.” It is really a very simple project that can have a lasting lesson for both child and parent alike. Americans spend over $50 billion dollars every year on soft drinks, which may provide the sweet-tooth drinker with some enjoyment, but the fact is, water is much more healthy and beneficial to our bodies. Challenge your family to a 40-day soda-
“Challenge your family to a 40-day sodapop fast.
pop fast. In the process, you can develop some daily devotions around fasting (Matt. 6:16), serving (Rom. 12:11), prayer (Matt. 21:22), and helping others (Matt. 25:34-40). Every time someone in the family sacrifices their soda, have them put $ .50 or $1.00 into a H20 jar that you can donate to The H20 Project at www.theh20project.org
Not only will you have taught your children how to serve, sacrifice, and help children get clean water, but everyone will be a little healthier in the process!
To g e t h e r
Building A Secure Foundation by Marvin Smith, Jr.
Matthew 7:24-27 â€œTherefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.â€?
Building A Secure Foundation
Four Essentials to Secure the Foundation of our Marriages
Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
1. A Common Desire
â€œIn every marriage there should be a time and a place where you sit down and share your heartâ€™s desires . . .
In our marriage relationships, we must ensure that our desires remain the same. Common desires mean striving after the same goals. In every marriage, there should exist a time and place to sit down and share your hearts desires with one another. Make time to share your love for each other and your family. In our relationship with Christ, the Bible tells us to share our hearts desires with Him; this same principle applies to the husband and wife relationship. The Bible commands the man to dwell with his wife according to knowledge. The husband bares the responsibility of sitting down and discovering what his wife desires to become. In the marriage, we need to share a partnership with each other while uniting under common desires. The more children in the family, the more important this time becomes. As husband and wife, you must partner with each other in child rearing, making sure you both know what goals exist behind the training of your children.
BE BEST FRIENDS!
When the children, leave you will still be together; therefore, never let your children come between you and your spouse. Do not allow them to ruin your marriage. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:18, And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. Husbands, be sure to remember that as much as she is there for you, you are to be there for her in the same way and more. Wives, you should help your husband to reach his potential for God, at home and at his place of work. Husbands, you should assume the position of spiritual leadership. You need to guide her so that she can become all that she can for God and the family.
2. A Common Appreciation
Genesis 2:21-23 says, And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
To g e t h e r
Appreciation reveals a sign of a healthy marriage. Always letting your spouse know how much she means to you is paramount. You must continually reflect on all the wonderful things she does for you and the family. How do you show your appreciation for your wife? Start by simply telling her, but continue in prayer for her and reminding God how wonderful she is. Express to God your gratitude for his wonderful wisdom in finding your helpmate. Wives, this goes both ways. When praying with your children at night, while your husband lies in bed or sits on the couch, let him hear you pray and thank God for all he does for you and your family. These times of prayer help your children appreciate mom and dad, and speak volumes to your children that mommy and daddy are deeply and happily in love. My mother, Mrs. Alice Smith, always emphasized this truth, The greatest thing that you can do for your children is love your spouse and show it.
3. A Common Commitment
The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:24, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. In every marriage, the husband and wife must leave their fathers and mothers for each other; both must cleave unto one another in all matters of relationship. Too many times husbands or wives will neglect the whole matter of leaving and cleaving and will try to live both lives. God commanded us to leave and commit ourselves to one another. When one commits himself or herself to someone they simply say, I trust you. This in return speaks volumes to the other spouse. In Ephesians 5:21-33 we find a description of how Christ loves the church, and how He willingly laid down his own life for the church. No one can separate Christâ€™s love from the church. If we love like Christ loves His church, Romans 8:35-39 should describe our marriage. It states, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation,
â€œWe are to love our spouse like Christ loves the church and like the church loves Christ.
Building A Secure Foundation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Our commitment to one another should be so strong, and our roots of love should grow so deep; however strong the winds may blow and hard the rain may fall, we will not separate one from another.
4. A Common Conviction
We must share a passion for Christ, the cause of Christ and the Church of Christ. The Scriptures say in Psalm 127:1, Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Husband and wife, you must get on the same page: for the sake of your marriage, your children, your church and your nation. We have heard the phrase before, Our family will only be as strong as the marriage; the church will only be as strong as the family; and the nation will only be as strong as the church. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Christ must reside in the center of your relationship! Christ must exist as the foundation for which you build your marriage upon. Christ must be the Cornerstone of your life; both husband and wife must decide to never seek a replacement for Christ. Do not use your spouse to replace Christ in your life. If we will learn to love each other like Christ loves the church, in the end we will reach the goal!
E x p o s i n g s a t a n ’s m . o .
by Thomas Smith, Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, St. Clair, Missouri
It should come as no surprise to any sincere Christian that Satan is busy about his business of discouraging, damaging, deceiving, dividing, and destroying. II Corinthians 2:11 tells us, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” God wants us to live informed lives, aware of our adversary’s mannerisms and devices. Unfortunately, most of us easily recall times when we failed to acknowledge the personality and power behind some of our most painful experiences. We make a common, yet very costly, mistake when we perceive our spiritual conflicts as “flesh and blood battles.” In Dr. Joe Murray’s book, Exposing Satan’s m.o., he uncovers some of the most common and destructive wiles or methods of the enemy. He illuminates the devious schemes of the devil through
often underestimate the damage of these lies. As pastors, we know the heartbreak of seeing the people, whom we love and care for and, deceived and led astray. Those who led these astray do not share the same goal for the well being of the Lord’s church. We have been surprised then devastated by the betrayal of those we once considered friends. We live in a spiritual battle. Exposing Satan’s m.o. explores and explains some of the ways to expect the Devil to operate. M.O., an abbreviation for the Latin phrase modus operandi, appropriately translates as “mode of operation.” Those working at law enforcement use this abbreviation describe a criminal’s character patterns and style of work. As you read Exposing Satan’s m.o., let it remind you that the Devil’s methods do not change. He still operates today in the same devices he used in the Word of God. Often, when we sincerely investigate a spiritual crime scene, we clearly discover the Satan’s fingerprints. Though profitable to recognize devilish involvement after the damage is done, we would certainly benefit by discerning the enemy’s ploy before he deceives people and adversely affects God’s work. The truths exposed in this book will help the serious Christian recognize the unseen spiritual reality
“Every Christian will benefit from the content practical and pointed clarity. Every Christian will benefit from the content of Exposing Satan’s m.o., but pastors and church leaders will especially find the teaching helpful, and perhaps even timely. Without question, the enemy relentlessly attacks God’s churches today. As a pastor of the same flock for more than twenty-four years, I have had the opportunity to see many of these scenarios lived out. Most of those who minister in overseeing God’s New Testament churches share this same testimony. Our minds, baffled by the power of false accusations,
behind the visible conflicts and struggles we all must face. Many pertinent and practical questions are answered in these pages. How can negative reports appear so believable? Why do lies sometimes seem more believable than truths? Can we afford to ignore such things as slander in the body of Christ? Why do spiritual leaders remain the target of satanic attack? What should a church member do when their pastor faces criticism? The children of God need to take spiritual warfare more seriously. While families suffer and churches divide, many who claim to know Christ do not personally engage in this conflict. Be assured, the Devil does not take a passive stand about these matters. The proponents of wickedness and spiritual darkness actively pursue their agenda of death. I am privileged to personally know many who have benefited from the principles and truths presented in this book. It is greatly needed, and I trust will be widely used. May this book serve to help stir God’s people to own the cause of victory through our Lord Jesus Christ..
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Living by Faith
School ofFaith An Open Door to the
by Pastor Marvin Smith
II Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”
School Of Faith
In 1996, the ministry of Harvest Baptist Church, In Ft. Dodge, Iowa launched out Into a broader scope of Impact ministry; they opened the doors to the Anchor Character Training Center. The training center would house, train, educate, and introduce troubled teenagers to Jesus Christ and build character into their lives. The call of faith has always been upon this ministry of Harvest Baptist Church. The ministry operates a Christian school, Bible college, and training center without charging monthly tuition. In the summer of 2000, the training center faced challenging times, due to the low level of support. It was a difficult winter, and at times the utility bills reached $13,000 for one month. The center had depleted all of its funds. This
Facts About The Training Center The Anchor Character Training Center was founded in October 1996. The center has ministered to 442 residents from 39 states and 4 foreign countries.
“That same year a truck driver came walking up on the property from the direction of Highway 20 and asked the director of the center if we could use some
challenged the staff and church, once again, to fall upon their face before God and ask Him, the source of our lives, to provide as He had always done for the needs of the children. While preaching in Toledo, Ohio, the director of the center called and explained of the shortage of food. I challenged the church in Ohio, the members of Harvest, and even the children in the home to ask God to provide. That summer proved to be one of the most exciting summers for answered prayer. The next morning, after the challenge to call upon the Lord, two grocery stores, in small communities, called and wanted to know if we needed food for the center. They were closing down, and if we would come and get the groceries, they would be delighted to donate them to the center. That same year, a truck driver came walking up on the property from the direction of Highway 20 and asked the director
of the center if wanted some turkeys. His truck had broken down on the interstate, behind the Anchor Character Training Center. We went and picked up over twenty cases of turkeys for the training center. To top it all off, a cold storage company contacted Pastor Smith about several cases of fresh hams, left on a dock by a truck driver. They wanted to know if we needed meat for the center. I could continue on and on with multiple testimonies regarding the faithfulness of God. I have come to know this, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” II Chronicles 16:9 God is not a respecter of persons, and this same God is interested in your needs regardless of how small or how large. Nothing is too hard for Him. Let me encourage you to stay upon Jehovah. Pray through my dear friend, pray through!
to Glory by The Clark Family
II Corinthians 12:9 â€œAnd he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.â€?
G r a c e To G l o r y
About The Clark Family Jim and Sharon Clark have shared their home with forty-eight children. Married for thirty-eight years, they share a total of ten natural children between them. They opened their home for nine of their grandchildren to live with them, as well as three nieces (one for fifteen years). Some of the grandchildren lived with them for a year or two. One family lived with them for a while, but when the parents left, the Clarks raised one of their two daughters for fifteen years. One of the children, an adult woman, physically and mentally handicapped, still lives with them today. They also opened their home for children of numerous bus families to live with them. Sometimes they took In the children of homeless families, while the parents lived with friends. Often, Jim helped the father find a job and at times drove him to work until he became more stable. Eventually, they became licensed foster-care parents leading to the adoption of four of their foster-care children. Sharon recalled that old four-bedroom house: one bedroom for the boys; one for the girls; a room for the small children, (Including several older ones to help with the younger); and lastly two cribs in their own bedroom. Their dressers lined along the walls in their hallway. On many occasions, Sharon and Jim bought clothes at Goodwill. Once, they found a nice coat in great condition but knew of no one there who could fit into it. Then, Jim said “Buy it, someone will probably come next week that can wear it.” Sure enough, that next week, someone came that could wear the coat. Sharon recalled God’s provision through it all. She remembered how people, knowing of their need with all these children, dropped off multiple sacks of children’s clothes at their doorsteps for them. Many times they found buckets of vegetables from someone’s garden left for them. Sharon marveled at God’s providing hand. The Clarks exhibit genuine humility and do not want any of the credit to go to them for anything done by them. Sharon stated, “Do not give us the glory; God did it all.”
From The Clark Family
His grace is sufficient! The Bible says in II Cor. 12:9, “...my grace is sufficient for thee...” Should you ever dream of children, make sure the Lord is in your life; then, God will teach you how to pray through your life with children. The job will not be easy; but, remember God remains the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. You will need to forget your own personal self. Remember, it is His will and not your own that counts. The Bible teaches us to continue on in His will; you will need to be praying all of the time and remember to thank Him for each day. Be ready to recognize your mistakes and know where they came from. Don’t forget that God makes no mistakes. Ask God for forgiveness and go on. We should not play the blame game between mom and dad: many times you do not have a heart to win! You need a heart to build first. We also believe, if you correct a child in anger you have already lost; always try to give a Bible verse when making the correction. Some of our children memorized the Bible verses we
used during their time of reproof. When asked why we were taking in more children, we simply stated that we were “rescuing the perishing.” Matthew 18:14 says, “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” We adopted a “Clark Crew” saying: “Move over and make room for one more.” Every child came as different as the other; and we needed God’s grace with every situation. God faithfully sent it; we just needed to be ready! It seemed like every time we turned around, something new came our way to pray about. Prayer time continued 24/7 at our home. When the church doors opened, we went together as a family; most of the time we drove two vans, while the bigger kids always helped with the little ones. Church camp, as well as family camp, filled our summers. We believed that an idol mind was the Devil’s workshop, and always tried to keep the children busy. We had many jobs for all ages. We praise the Lord for
“We told anyone who asked, without God you face a job you will not be able to do, and without prayer you will find it next to impossible. helping us understand this and teaching it. Another saying at the Clark’s house came from their Uncle Jim. As our niece, Karie, puts it to all the younger children, “Boredom is an affliction of the dumb and lazy, and I know you are not that!” She would then proceed to tell her story of how she learned this by moving a rock pile from one end of the garden to the
Remember, it is His will and not your will that counts. other. We told anyone who asked, without God you face a job you will not be able to do, and without prayer you will find it next to impossible. We experienced God’s grace in his miraculous hand of provision upon us. It Is Impossible to share a short testimony on God’s goodness and grace toward the “Clark Crew.” The short of it all, be ready to pray and ready to listen to God’s Word. He will guide you, and grace will just show up. (Titus 2:11-13)
Te s t i m o n i e s
ButFound by The Brandt Family & Leroy Flowers
How exciting to see God at work, and what an honor when He includes us in accomplishing His plan! During a snowstorm three and a half years ago, my husband, Troy, worked hard at plowing snow. He began at 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning with hopes of finishing, accompanied by his staff, before our church services began. He arrived before the others and parked his work truck near the maintenance garage. Immediately, he began to clear the snow off parking lots and sidewalks. The rest of his staff arrived within the next two hours to complete the task.
At approximately 8 a.m., while finishing up the job, Troy noticed that someone had moved his truck. It was out of sight. He asked the other men where he could find it, but no one knew where to look. His Initial thought of being the object of some kind of a joke quickly faded Into the reality of his stolen truck! Panic struck him! His tools, computer, important door lock equipment, keys, and important papers were gone! Anger began to swell within him as he thought of the nerve of someone taking his truck! After calling the police, he contacted me at home and
explained why he would not be able to attend church after all. He needed to file a police report and meet with an officer. We hung up and I Immediately told our three sons the report of their dad’s stolen truck. Our oldest son Cal, a fifth grader at the time, suggested we pray for whoever took the truck. I agreed saying, “Whoever took it knows it is not theirs.” When we prayed for the thief, we even prayed for God to use this experience to bring this person to Him and change their life. That morning, we asked others at church to pray for the situation. I heard myself saying, “Maybe someone just needed a ride and will bring it back.” I sensed the skepticism of the people concerning this possibility. More than likely, we would find the truck totaled in a ditch after a joy-riding expedition with all the valuables cleaned out and for sale on eBay! Even so, our little family continued to pray for “the person.” When I spoke to Troy again on the phone, I told him of Cal’s suggestion to pray for whoever took it. He responded with aggravation to this thought. “Pray for that person? You should be praying for me,” he said. “What will I do if all of that equipment and information is gone?” Eventually, the merciful heart of his son began to soften his own. On Monday morning, a man pulled up to my husband’s work in the missing truck and parked it in the exact place it had been, previous to the robbery. He got out and began to walk away. One of Troy’s employees saw him and called to him; he told him that he needed to come and speak to my husband. After showing the man to my husband’s office, he told Troy “There is someone here you have to meet.” The man introduced himself as Leroy, told Troy his last name, and said, “I took your truck the other day, but I brought it back. It is parked outside. Nothing is missing.” My husband could not believe his ears! Still very upset, he said to the man, “You don’t understand. I
Borrowed But Found have been worried sick about this. I had all of that valuable stuff inside.” In response, Leroy continued, “Well I brought it back. Everything is still there. I did not touch anything. I just needed a ride home.” He explained to Troy that during the snowstorm he drove his car into a ditch. While walking to get help, he found no one, but stumbled across Leroy’s parked truck. He took it home and parked it in his driveway. After the conversation ended, Leroy and my husband went outside to look at the truck. My husband realized everything inside remained untouched and in it’s previous condition. Relief swept over him, though he remained a bit irritated. He then thought of the answered prayer. He thought of this man’s explanation for taking the truck: “I needed a ride.” Troy could not believe the words that came out of his mouth next. “So what are you going to do now?” He replied, “I’m going home. I will just call a taxi.” To his own disbelief my husband said, “I will give you a ride.” During this fifteen-minute ride, in the same “borrowed” truck, as our little family now describes it Leroy shared his heart with Troy. He explained how he had been going through some tough times and felt like he could not get any lower. He later described feeling as though he hung onto the bottom rung of a ladder smothered In axle grease. Troy told him that he should meet our pastor. He explained the genuine trouble we experienced In our marriage, before going to pastor for biblical counseling. He told him of the help we received that saved our marriage. He confided in him that we probably would not be together if not for the Biblical counseling we received. Leroy asked for the name of our pastor and church that we attended. Happily, Troy gave him the information. Once at his driveway the two men parted ways. My husband called the police. He told them the missing truck and its contents were returned, and wanted the
case closed. Troy called me and said, “You will not believe what I have been doing this morning!” Together we praised God! I could not wait to tell the kids! They, too, praised God’s miracle! We thought that would be the last time we would see Leroy; however, we continued to pray for him. Wednesday morning we received word that my husband’s best friend’s son, a senior In high school, had died in a car accident. Troy left to stay with Jim and his family. That same Wednesday, Leroy
saved! What wonderful miraculous news to report to my husband, Jim, and his family! Leroy remained faithful to our church ever since! II Corinthians 5:17 promises that he is a new creation! Through biblical counseling with our pastor, he obtained freedom from various bondages. God truly performed a miraculous work in Leroy’s life! God slowly allowed him to rebuild a relationship with his children, while they watch God change his life. Two of his children and his parents vis-
“After we hung up, I told our three sons what was going on. Our oldest son, Cal suggested we pray for whoever took the truck. showed up at our church’s office and talked with the pastor’s wife and the school principal. He explained that he was the guy that took Troy’s truck and how Troy had sent him to the church. He asked for help! I received the news when I picked our kids up from the school. The kids and I rejoiced and praised our Lord! When I called and told Troy, he shared how encouraging this was to Jim and his family during such a difficult time. Leroy came to church Thursday night, and the school’s principal introduced him to me. We sat together in church and he told me, “I’m a God-fearing man, but He seems so far away right now.” He returned to church on Sunday morning and Sunday evening. The kids met him, and we all agreed that we liked him. We had, after all, been praying for him for a week now! At Sunday night’s services, Leroy got
ited our church; Leroy’s parents and sister thank God for the work He carried out in Leroy’s life. They had spent years praying for him! Leroy remains a very special friend to our little family, and even Jim still asks about him. Let us not forget the power of encouraging others in their walk with God by our own walk with God. Recently, when Leroy, one of his sons, and our little family met together, we talked about when we all first met. We told Leroy, for the first time, how Cal wanted to pray for whoever took the missing truck. That thought really touched him! He remembered on that Monday how he was “moved” to return the truck. Before that, he really cared nothing about what happened to him, the truck, or its contents. In reflection on those dark days, Leroy stated, “It was right there where the good Lord could reach me and pull me up. I was so low. I finally gave up trying in my own power. It was all Him. I thank God for what He has done for me. He has blessed me financially and in relationships and I never want to go back to where I was before.” Praise God He still answers prayer!
It Is Never Too Late to Give Your Life
Life By Pastor Marvin Smith
Many have read about Hudson Taylor, William Carey, C.T. Studd, and other great men and women of God who gave their lives on the mission field, helping reach the Gospel to those without Christ. There are some among us today, like these men and women, whose names dwell among the unknown heroes of the faith.
â€œThe Good Samaritan Orphanage was established by the Gentrys and now houses over 100 orphan children, supplying them with food, education, love, and the teaching of the Bible.
This is a story that needs to be told! It is a story of faith, sacrifice, and love. It began, over thirty years ago, when I picked up a cassette tape by Pastor Gardner Gentry of Victory Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. It contained a message called, “Compassion.” As a nineteen-year-old boy, this message lit a fire in my heart to do something great for my God with my life. Over twenty years later, I heard about Gardner Gentry going to the mission field of Malawi, Africa. In my mind, I first questioned “Why would an elderly man, with a successful ministry
“Malawi is in the top three of the poorest countries in the world. in America, go to one of the world’s poorest countries?” If he were young, I might understand it, but why leave, in what we might call our retirement years, to sacrifice his remaining years on the mission field: helping to feed the
physically and spiritually hungered. I invited Missionary Gardner Gentry to Harvest Baptist Church to present his work for Malawi, Africa, with the consideration of our ministry supporting their mission work financially and prayerfully. After hearing his burden for Malawi, there remained no doubt in our minds that this man of God would make an impact on that poor world of dying people. Most people in America stay completely out of touch with the needs of our third-world countries. Malawi ranks in the top three of the poorest countries in the world.
â€œAIDS is at an all-time high as an epidemic. Death is everywhere, and hope is nowhere.
Tens of thousands of children are left as abandoned orphans. They live without clean water, food, and medical care. They endure AIDS at an all-time high as an epidemic. Death resides everywhere, and hope cannot be found. Gardner and Alice Gentry have brought the hope that this country needs. They have been working in Malawi, Africa, for over a decade. Today Bro. Gentry serves with a body filled with malaria and sickness. Throughout his weeks spent at the hospital, Bro. Gentry never lost his vision for Malawi. Could this be the will of God? Does this bring glory to God? Gardner Gentry, now in his seventies, established over 350 Bible-
preaching churches with national pastors leading these ministries. In addition, they also began a Bible college that now serves over 900 students, while preparing them to serve their nation. The Gentry’s birthed The Good Samaritan Orphanage, which now houses over 100 orphan children: supplying them with food, education, love, and the teaching of the Bible. One of our very own ladies, in our church, recently left to serve in the orphanage. A medical center has been established to help serve the sick and dying. More importantly, thousands have come to receive Christ as their Saviour and will live in heaven because a man
and woman by the name of Gardner and Alice Gentry decided, “It is never too late in life to give your life.” If you are interested in supporting Gardner and Alice Gentry in Malawi, Africa, send your support to Harvest Baptist Missions and designate your offering to the “Gentry’s to Malawi.” Every dollar that comes in will be sent to their ministry to continue the work of changing lives for Christ.
Send your gift to: Harvest Baptist 614 2nd Avenue South PO Box 430 Fort Dodge, IA 5050 ATTN: Gentrys to Malawi
Hidden Gospel How the Devil Hides our Gospel by Pastor Joe Murray
11 Cor. 4:3 â€œBut if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:â€?
May I ask you a question?
Has the Gospel been hid from your loved ones: your brother, sister, dad, mom, son, or daughter? Has it been hid from your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends, or even acquaintances? How could this possibly happen through the life of born again, blood cleansed, Heaven-bound believers? The answer is in II Corinthians 4:9-12, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” The Lord Jesus says, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23 Beloved, when you carry a cross around, you will get nailed to it, either by people or by circumstances. In verses ten and eleven of II Corinthians, the context tells us to continue in the action, meaning always, throughout the day and night. The Devil’s strives to complete his number one goal of getting us to act natural. When we act natural, we give him opportunity to hide our Gospel. Now, how did the Lord Jesus die? Not His death, but how did He die? He was despised, rejected, criticized, laughed at, mocked, lied about, and misunderstood; this describes the normal Christian life. On the other side of the cross, the natural man wants to be liked, looked up to, thought well of, and accepted. This describes the sin nature that dwells within every lost person and remains in every saved person until we go to heaven. Our enemy constantly shoots fiery darts into people’s minds, hoping they will shoot them out of their mouths. By using their words of criticism
“You see, the cross that we carry as we follow the Lord Jesus is not to bear, but to die on, so that the Lord Jesus can live His resurrected life through us. or rejection, he will cause us to lay down our cross and to act natural. The cross that we carry, as we follow the Lord Jesus, is not to bear but to die on, allowing the Lord Jesus to live His resurrected life through us. Always, throughout the day, people or circumstances nail us to the cross; sadly, many times we react in the natural way instead of in our new nature of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
No matter how much we confess that we are Christians, when we get in the flesh, that old sin nature hides our Gospel. We must immediately confess our sins to God, receive His forgiveness, and then ask those that saw us and heard us to forgive us. Tell them that the Lord Jesus did not have anything to do with the way we acted. In doing this, our Gospel will not remain hid and folks can see and hear the real Lord Jesus Christ through us.
God’s Wonderful Plan of Salvation 1. Admit your lost condition.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;“ Romans 3:23 2. Realize you cannot save yourself. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His Mercy He saved us,”Titus 3:5 3. Know that Jesus has provided the perfect sacrifice for your salvation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 4. Receive God’s gift of salvation. “....the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God...” John 1:12 5. But How? ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 Whosoever means you. If you, by simple faith, will trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for your soul’s salvation, you can be 100% sure that you are going to Heaven. Nothing else will do. Church membership, baptism, confirmation, or communion will not get you to heaven. None of these things can save us from sin; only Jesus Christ can save us. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 6. Now will you call on the Lord by praying the following prayer? “Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, I do believe in Jesus Christ and that He died to pay for my sin.The best I know how, I trust Him now and receive Him into my life as my Savior. Forgive me of my sin and save me.Thank you for saving me today, and forgiving me for my sins. In Jesus name, Amen!’ If you said this prayer, we would like to send you a FREE gift in the mail. Harvest Baptist Church, 614 2nd Avenue South, P.O. Box 430 Fort Dodge, IA 50501 ATTN: Saved Through His AMAZING GRACE
Wo r k i n g M o m
Family by Jeanie Hanson
Proverbs 31:13 â€œ...and worketh willingly with her hands.â€?
With the economy the way it is these days, we all need to tighten our belts. I recently adopted the title of stay-athome housewife, with four girls, ages one through thirteen. This opportunity arose, at the ripe old age of forty-two, when I delivered a bouncing baby girl. My prayers to God, to be able to stay at home with the baby, have been answered. Just to let you know, things get tight; my husband is an artist. We sometimes use the term starving artist in our family. Really, he does a great job at working hard and providing for us. In a twoincome society, it remains a challenge to live on one income. Not wanting to return to work right now, I assumed the job of trying to save money and found several ways that God has enabled me to do so. We all need
to remember that it is not our money; it belongs to God and we should not waste what He gives to us. I included some tips that I acquired from reading various books and articles. I hope that some of them will help you save. One week we had almost nothing for groceries. I literally spent thirty-five dollars that week for our family of six. Not an easy task! I needed whole milk for my one year old, while my thirteen year old easily downs four hot dogs at lunch, wolfs down a big dinner, and asks me what I made for dessert! My eleven year old does not lag far behind. One of the things that helped me was to scan the ads in our town paper on Wednesday afternoons. After checking
to see which store advertised the best sales, I made a list of things I needed and where to buy particular items. I sometimes traveled to three different stores in one shopping day. I loaded up on the really good sale items, enough to last at least six weeks. It takes about that long for them to go on sale again. Certain items I need to buy every week. I purchase fifteen pounds of flour, five pounds of sugar and rice, a bag of popcorn, two pounds of margarine, one pound of butter, two pounds of dried pinto beans, six dozen eggs, and a jar of yeast. I also buy fruit, carrots, celery, and a jar of peanut butter if it is on sale. It is also good to keep corn meal and oatmeal on hand. With these items we can at least eat for a while. Have you ever considered getting rid
The Thrifty Family
Left Over Bread Cookies I have found a great way to use up old, dried-up bread. You can use it for really good cookies. 1¼ 1¼ ½ ½ 1/3 ½ 1 1½ 2/3 2
cups flour cups sugar tsp. salt tsp. baking powder cup cocoa cup milk egg tsp. vanilla cup melted shortening cups bread crumbs
Stir together all the dry ingredients. Stir together the wet ingredients and then add to the dry. Add melted shortening and bread crumbs.You may add a tablespoon of peanut butter, M&M’s, or pieces of a candy bar to give the cookies more flavor. They are also good without anything added. Drop by teaspoonful on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes.
Money Saving Tips Unplug your television, coffee pot, etc., when not in use. They use up electricity. An empty refrigerator or freezer uses more electricity than a full one. Put bottles of water in them to fill them up. Make your own bread! Store bread is expensive and you are tempted to impulse buy when you are at the store. Crock-pots use less energy than ovens and do not heat up the house in the summer. Take a sack lunch to school or work!
of your cable or satellite television? Since we cut out watched regular television for so long, my kids do not even know what television shows play. We do not miss trying to censor the bad programs or commercials either. We do have a television that we use for parent-approved videos. Try this money saving tip. Instead of renting movies, the library lends them for free in our hometown and only charges if you fail to return them after a week! You wait a little longer for the new releases, but I remember waiting years to see a movie before they Invented videocassette recorders (VCR). Our kids do not suffer boredom, as you might think, even without the television. Instead, they are very creative and play outside more than most kids in our neighborhood. They love for me to read to them at night, which I think builds their imagination.
Remember, don’t cheat God; give your tithe and mission offerings. Those things are eternal and everything else remains temporary anyway.
“The kids love to have me read to them at night. I think it builds their imagination. Proverbs 19:17 “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” You may need to plan a little and sacrifice some, but you can live on less. May God bless your finances and help you to live more frugally. Proverbs 13:11 “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.”
Helping People Where
They ARE by Thomas Smith
I Thessalonians 5:14 â€œNow we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.â€?
Helping People Where They Are
“There will be those who are faint-hearted or discouraged; they are in need of encouragement and comfort. When it comes to helping people, several things should be obvious. We all need help from time to time. There are no “maintenance-free” Christians. We all need assistance, comfort, instruction, reproof, encouragement, and acceptance. We must avoid, at all costs, the mind-set of the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:17, “I...have need of nothing.” In our text, the Lord uses Paul to remind us that we do not all need the same thing at the same time. Those who are “unruly” will need someone to warn them, as well as the rebellious and disobedient. The Bible tells us to “comfort the feebleminded.” There will be those who are faint-hearted or discouraged; they are in need of encouragement and comfort. They do not need to be rebuked or warned. Sometimes, the brethren will be “weak” and in need of someone to help carry their burdens or support them in their weakness. However, whatever the need, we must have patience with everyone in our spiritual family. The verse goes on to say, “be patient toward all men.” We are to be forbearing with all the brethren. One of the greatest mistakes we make, in our attempts to minister to God’s people, surfaces when we try to give the same medicine to every ill person. We do not want to correct and reprove someone who needs support, nor do we want to comfort those who need warning. How reassuring to know that God knows the spiritual condition of every person, and
He knows what we need. We can come to Him with our needs and know that He cares; he holds the perfect answer for our problems. We can also trust Him to give us direction and discernment, when we seek to help those who struggle. We must remember to “be patient toward all men.” None of us have arrived; we all have room to grow, much room. People, like plants, do not all grow at the same pace. Although we may be further along in a particular area than another brother or sister, if we will be honest, we discover our own weaknesses of other areas. If we keep this in mind, we will exhibit more patience towards others. Lastly, remembering how patient God has been, and continues to be, with us will grow our patience with others.
Straight Paths Devotional Guide This is a practical, daily, twelve-month, devotional guide for the whole family and can be ordered through Harvest Baptist Time Publishing by calling
M y N e w To o t h
Tooth by Pastor Marvin Smith
A couple of years ago, I accepted the invitation to speak at a three-day missions conference in Poplar Bluff, MO. The conference was dedicated to pro- I discovered that my tooth had moting missions on the foreign fields, as gone through the drain trap and well as planting new churches in America. could not be recovered. On Monday night of the conference, the The worst of it was, it was pastor did not call me up to speak. On Tues- one of my front teeth. For me day evening I was ready to go, yet the pastor to get up and speak would did not call me up to speak. I thought they leave me looking like a fullmust have been planning on me closing the blown hillbilly. I first entermeeting out. tained the idea of calling the That afternoon before the conference, church and informing them that I could while brushing my teeth In my hotel room, not come to the meeting. When I called a tooth broke off and went down the drain. the office of the church, the pastor heard I might mention that I wear false teeth, my dilemma and said, “Pastor Smith you which I made for myself after an accident have to come.” I said, “I can’t.” He replied, in my teen years. The tooth went down “Pastor Smith, tonight in the conference the drain of the sink and I went into panic we are honoring you as the ‘Church Plantmode, pulling the drain trap off. In doing er of the Decade,’ and we are giving you so, I broke the drain trap into pieces and several gifts as well as a large financial gift cut up my hand. In the midst of the mess to take your wife on a vacation. “ of the drain pieces and my bleeding hand, I could not believe my ears. How in the
world could I get up with my front tooth missing? I turned and noticed that in my fruit basket, which the church had provided for me in my motel room, there sat a package of Chiclets gum. As you may know, this kind of gum resembles large white teeth. That evening I climbed to the pulpit to receive my award, with a Chiclet stuck in the place of my tooth. My prayer, as I stood before the large crowd, was that my new tooth would not dissolve before I left the platform. I made it, and as soon as possible slipped out the door, with my new tooth melting and falling out of its socket. The great Biblical truth discovered through this humorous story is, “God will always make a way of escape.”
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Preach Beyond Borders by Gilbert Anger
$10 Product# GB001
As you read this powerful book, you will have to face some vitally important facts. All that is asked of you is that you will not turn it off when you come across something that cuts across your philosophical position or across your set of programmed ideas of what missions is all about and how it is to be managed. If we are going to reach this world in the short time we have left, we must decide to do all we can to “get it right.” This is what Preach Beyond Borders is all about. This 215-page book covers everything from the local churches’ responsibility to its missionaries and the missionaries’ responsibility to its mission field. Pastors, future missionaries, and lay people in the churches will be encouraged and strengthened through this book, Preach Beyond Borders.
The Authority of the Believer
by Pastor Marvin E. Smith III
You will be energized in your faith as you discover the authority of the believer, the source of this authority, the giving of this authority, and the purpose and extent of this authority. If ever the enemy would want to hide a truth from the church it would be this one. As a believer walks in the Spirit from the position that he has in Christ in harmony with God’s Word, his prayer life no longer becomes a begging session but a weapon for God to use to do great damage to the kingdom of darkness.
The Battle Is The Lord’s by Pastor Marvin E. Smith III
In this easy-to-read book you will learn about how to recognize and fight the right enemy. You will be challenged to learn about yourself and how to become familiar with the weapons of our warfare. The armour of God will be presented in such a way that you can effectively appropriate your weapons. Too many of God’s children are fighting the wrong battles. Remember those who use “carnal” weapons will die by those weapons.
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