Friday, July 18, 2008

Neighborhood prayer walk - 7-17-8

Marion/Harrison Street Neighborhood

We had another great night tonight. Terry Wallin, Melissa Wolfinger, and I walked and prayed tonight. Another long night on Marion Street. We were praying with people and talking with people on Marion street for well over two hours. It was well after 9 p.m. before we finished tonight.

As usual our first stop was with cigar Bob. We had a wonderful time of conversation with Bob. He was born March 22, 1921. He's 87 years old. I asked him if he were baptized and he said yes he's pretty sure he was baptized when he was 14 years old in a church in Goshen located at the corner of Main and Middlebury street. That kept us guessing for a while. We thought he was talking about Elkhart. He doesn't have too good of a recollection of it, but he remembers being dunked under the water in church when he was 14. We thought it pretty safe it was either a baptism or he took a bath at the church. He went on and on about the county fair. He used to work security at the fair and he was telling us many interesting stories of events at the fair during his career there. Certain things sounded kind of strange in his telling of them and I finally asked him what year was this taking place. He worked there in 1954, the year of my birth. We had a grand time talking with Bob.

The little store was out of their regular bottles of water. Everyone in the neighborhood apparently bought cold water today, but they had some gallon jugs left. So we got one of those and our usual pickle for Melissa. We chatted with the shopkeeper and her wonderful children for a little while before moving on up the street.

One gentleman we prayed with last week for a job found one soon after our prayers. The people gave glory to God. . . The other people on this porch likewise had had good experiences during the past week with their prayer requests.

At this point it seemed like it was going to be a quiet evening. It was very very warm and not lots of people were out, when we came to a porch on our way back east on Marion. It is a two-story, relatively well kept home on the south side of the street. A young woman, maybe between 16-20 years old came and met us at the sidewalk. She is disabled in some unidentifiable manner. She doesn't walk quite right and there's something different about her eyes. We had seen her earlier in the little grocery store. We have prayed with her in the past and she again wanted prayer and anointing. There were maybe 8 or more people on the porch of the house she was at and other people parked in cars out front and still more going in and coming out of the house. We began to pray with her on the sidewalk at the end of the steps and you could see people watching, maybe out of the corners of their eyes at what was going on. We talked with people about prayer and faith and the power God. Pretty soon another person wanted prayer and then another and another. We had a regular prayer line going. . . men, women, teenagers. . .Some people came back two or more times other things they wanted anointing and prayer for. We had addictions, mental issues, healings asked for, financial problems, children. . . it was just amazing. . . Several said they will be at LTC for Sunday School. . .God's presence was very much there.

It was a powerful time there. As we continued to walk back east on Marion Street, Melissa needed to find a restroom. This is problem. There just aren't any public restrooms to speak of in the neighborhood. We had tried previously the little bar/restaurant Sciliano's and had been turned down. We were quite a long ways from the car. I didn't know what to tell Melissa. She pondered for a moment and maybe in desperation, then headed across the street where we had helped her Wicca acquaintances take in the groceries last week. Terry and I hung around and sat on the steps of a vacant apartment house across the street for quite a little while waiting for her. Melissa had a gleam in her eye and gave me an enthusiasic high five when she walked back. . .Last week she had been very intimidated by her former friends and said half earnestly that she would never come back to this section of Marion Street so as to avoid running in to them again. . .this week she entered into the lions den itself, so to speak. . . . and the lady whose house Melissa had asked to use the bathroom asked Melissa to pray for her. . . this Wicca lady asked Melissa to pray for a number of needs in her life and her family's lives. . .this is tremendous. . .was a powerful testimony. . . Thank you God.

Lots of people. Lots of prayers. . .On Harrison Street, we prayed with and talked with an elderly prostitute. Just Tuesday, we had anointed her and prayed with her over in the apartments on Middlebury Street. This woman is really quite amazing. She knows Scripture. . .I don't know how, I don't know where but somewhere, sometime in her past she has very much been a child of God. Maybe her father was a Pastor. I don't know, but twice in three days we've prayed with her and anointed her.

Another house on Harrison Street, the lady had asked for prayer last week for a job and she was so very very thrilled that very shortly after we prayed with her, God provided a job for her. She gave God great glory over providing her this blessing. Her daughter had hurt her leg just today and the mother requested that we anoint and pray with her daughter. The mother loudly proclaimed, "Prayer works!!!"

I came upon a Mother, two teen daughters, and a young teen aged son. The woman was close to tears. It was very hot and she was very very frustrated. All sorts of stuff was strewn about the sidewalk. The trunk lid was open. A jack, a sledge hammer, lots of miscellaneous stuff were laying around a very flat tire that was still on the car. They couldn't get the lug nuts loose from the wheel. They'd been trying everything they could, including apparently the sledge hammer to loosen them to no avail. Terry and I made short work of changing the tire. It was very much a Godly moment. As we finished she kept trying to thrust money into my hand. . . I refused. . . I refused. . . I refused. . .I kept telling her this was no coincidence. This was a tire change from God. . .She finally pushed it into my hand and said to put it into the offering plate. . . now it became an offering to God for His goodness. . . I could not refuse that. To not accept an offering to God is to take away her blessing. . .Thank you my Lord!!!

Another lady whom I was supposed to bring to church a few weeks ago, was out on her porch. She battles depression. . .LOL. . . Terry, Melissa, and I all three are intimately familiar with that old foe. We were praying with her for her to be healed when I stopped the prayer and I'm not exactly sure what the word is. . .I guess I gave the lady a word of wisdom. . .I told her that worshiping God is a very powerful means of defeating depression. . . I gave her my testimony of how I had overcome depression with worship and praise. . .Melissa and Terry echoed my words. . .

A lone lady was sitting her porch toward the end of the walk on the south side of Harrison Street. I gave her a flier and a Bible verse card. She was so glad to meet who it was who had been leaving the fliers on her porch. She was wondering and did not at all know who we were. She is Pentecostal. She attends a large black Pentecostal congregation in South Bend. She said it is the largest church in South Bend. I couldn't hear what she said the name was. She takes our fliers and brings them and shows them to the ministry at her church. We talked about the tremendously positive reception we have from the people and the power of God moving in the neighborhoods. . . She agreed that what her neighborhood needs was the Spirit of God to move in a mighty way. . .

Many other prayers. . .wonderful happenings. . . too many to relate. . .

Thank you my God. . .
I love you God. . .
I love you all. . .


Friday, July 11, 2008

Our newest family member. . .

This is our golden retriever puppy that we're buying from David Schwartz in Creston, Ohio. He's 4 weeks old in these pictures. We'll pick him up at the end of July.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Neighborhood prayer walk - 7-10-8

Marion/Harrison Street

Another wonderful night of praying on the streets of Elkhart. . . It was such a wonderful night. . .Are you getting bored with my saying that over and over? I don't mean it was a nice night or a merely good night. . . It was a wonderful. . . a wonder filled night. . .I try to share the happenings on these prayer walks with you, but I cannot do the wonder and power of it justice. . .a voice of doubt in my head asks what is the point of writing virtually the same things over and over week after week, but it is so amazing to me. . .I have to share it. . . this is to bring Glory to God. . .to lift Him up. . .

Melissa Wolfinger, Marvin (a fellow who has only been coming to Life Tabernacle for a few weeks), and I walked and prayed tonight. It was such a full night. We took way longer than we ever usually do. After nearly 2 1/2 hours we were still on Marion Street. We talked with and prayed with just so many people. . . hundreds of Bible verse cards. . . hundreds of fliers. . .we handed out all of Ruby's VBS fliers and ran out of Cathy's English class fliers. . .

We talked with an older man, not long after we got out of the van who is in his own way trying to clean up the drug houses, etc. in the neighborhood. He is very very angry and frustrated with the prostitution and drug houses. He was working in his well kept very tidy yard with his little dog by his side. He came to the fence and talked with me for several minutes. I told him that we were joining with him in his desire to bring change. I explained a little about our experience in the Middlebury Street area, of how effective prayer and the power of God is in cleaning up an area.

We sat and talked with Cigar Bob for maybe 10 minutes or so. His delight at seeing us is obvious and we surely look forward to talking with him. We anointed him and prayed with him, just a general prayer of healing, blessing and protection. As we were finishing up, he suddenly remembered he desired prayer for his voice. I'm not sure what is going on, but Bob began very nearly weeping as Melissa, Marv, and I laid hands on him. At times his voice fails him and Bob is fearful of soon not being able to speak at all. Earlier Bob told us that God had spoken to him and told him that God was going to take him home with him. Bob said this with great power and enthusiasm.

We went to the grocery store for our usual bottled water and pickle barrel pickle for Melissa. The lady shop keeper was there with her husband (the man who runs Saleh's market on Middlebury Street) and their beautiful children. She thanked us for our prayers for the neighborhood. She said our prayers are making a difference. She said that the neighborhood was much "calmer" than it was just a few months ago.

We talked to a whole family sitting of a porch. The somewhat intoxicated father wanted anointing and prayer for all of his family for various needs. The wife and daughter were OK with it and we anointed and prayed with the father and both them. The boy was reluctant and we told him that we would just keep him in our prayers as we walked. He had just recently quit high school. . .as we left we prayed for him.

We helped several members of the local Wicca coven carry bags of groceries and cartons of pop in from a cab into the house. I didn't know who they were until later. I asked the one lady if she needed prayer for anything. . . She politely declined my offer. . .I think Melissa was looking for a rock to crawl under. . .Melissa didn't remember at the time that she was wearing a big chaplain's cross on her shirt. . .

Two men were drinking beer on their very small porch. I told them we were praying for the neighborhood. . . praying for good things to happen to people. I asked them that if they wanted prayer for anything, we would surely love to join with them. . . The one man, pointed to his beer bottle, a little exasperated with me, "Don't you see? I'm an alcoholic. How can you want to pray with me?. . ." I told him that didn't matter to me. We would be glad to pray with him regardless of the beer bottle. He was silent for a few moments, and then, "Yeah. . .I'd like you to pray for me." He did not want to be anointed, but Melissa and I lifted him up before God in fervent prayers. . .It was a very special time. . .I think it was this man's brother who was drinking with him on the porch. Anyway, he knocked over his quart bottle of malt liquor and it went running all over the porch. There was just a sweet sweet little boy toddling around the porch, sidewalk, steps and in between these two somewhat inebriated men as they tried to clean up the spilled beer. I talked to them about our upcoming VBS. There was no sign of the child's mother around. The man I'd been talking to had just gotten out of prison and it was his boy on the porch. He was interested. I had left them a VBS flier and was walking away when it struck me that there was really zero chance of that VBS application being filled out unless I filled it out and took it with me. So I headed back and got all the information from them for this little boy to come to our VBS. What ever it takes, if I have to pick up that little boy every night, I'm going to do what I can to see that he comes to our Vacation Bible School. The little boy was just so sweet, it pained my heart. . .please keep this little boy in your prayers.

A lady and her children we sitting on their porch enjoying the evening, she came down the sidewalk to greet us and she asked for a flier. She said that a few weeks ago we had come through praying (I do not remember praying with them about this) and the next day Oaklawn Psychiatric Hospital had called with a very unexpected opening for her severely mentally ill brother. She attributed this to the power of God in answering prayers. She thanked us profusely. She regularly attends Calvary United Methodist church and she very much appreciates what we are doing. She just loves the fliers and Bible verse cards.

We talked to our three Hispanic friends (they speak maybe 6 words of English to match our 6 words of Spanish) on their back porch drinking beer. We've talked with them and given them fliers, etc. for the past 3 weeks or so. They had gone to Life Tabernacle on Monday evening to attend Sister Cathy's English classes, but saw no bike rack to chain their bicycles up to and were afraid to leave them outside, so they left. I tried to explain to them that there was a fence for them that could be used to chain their bikes to, but I'm not sure they understood. I called Sister Cathy on my cell phone, but I couldn't get hold of her.

Marvin got the hang of praying and handing out the fliers. He ran into several people whom he knew. Several times people offered to sell him drugs. Please keep Marvin in your prayers. He very much enjoyed this tonight.

I was talking with one lady. She was telling me about the demons in her and about Lucifer who rules her life. She wanted prayer and for the demons in her mind to be cast out. I was just beginning to pray with her, when she saw Melissa walking up and the minute she saw her, she just turned, ran into the house, and slammed the door. I have no idea what was going on with that. Melissa felt very badly and kept apologizing to me, but Melissa had done nothing wrong on her own. It is such a blessing to have Melissa with us. Every time we pray on the streets with people, I think if possible we need to have a woman along and Melissa is so enthusiastic and again her presence is such a blessing to this ministry.

The neighborhood kids just love Melissa and she surely takes great delight in them. At times they just run and squeal with delight when they see her. I had forgotten about this until just this moment, but we prayed and anointed with one precious little 5 year old girl who has, since she was 9 months old pulled her hair out until she has bald spots on her head. We first prayed with her Mama for peace and stability in her life and then for this wonderful beautiful little girl to be healed from this habit. This little girl is so precious.

Melissa's legs began hurting and she sat on the stoop of a house on Harrison as Marvin and I finished Harrison and brought the van back to Melissa. Melissa ended up just talking and talking to this family whose stoop she was sitting upon. She apologized for our having to come back to get her, but I'm not sure that her talking with this family for half an hour or so wasn't the greatest act of ministry done all evening. . . We talked to so many people. . . many more than I can relate here. Again it was a wonder filled. . . God filled evening. . .

I love you Lord. . .


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Sweet Savor Unto the Lord

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

The blood of the sacrifice was given to us for an atonement, as a payment for the sins which we have committed. Without the blood of the sacrifice there is no payment for sin. The blood is essential. Without the blood there can be no payment. Jesus supplied the blood for our sacrifice. We do not ever need to kill again to pay for our sins. That debt has been canceled out once and for ever, but in the days of animal sacrifice it was never the sacrifice alone. The sacrifice was followed by the burning of it upon the altar. . . .

Leviticus 1:9 . . .the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD.

I do not read where God enjoyed the sacrificial killing, but 23 times:

Lev_1:9; Lev_1:13; Lev_1:17; Lev_2:2; Lev_2:9; Lev_3:5; Lev_4:31; Lev_6:21; Lev_17:6; Lev_23:18; Num_15:3; Num_15:7; Num_15:10; Num_15:13; Num_15:14; Num_15:24; Num_18:17; Num_28:8; Num_28:24; Num_28:27; Num_29:2; Num_29:13; Num_29:36;

I read that things offered and burned by fire He finds to be pleasurable. Why is that? Why is it necessary to burn the sacrificial offering?

In those days every family was to come and make an offering of atonement at the temple. I cannot find a specified required frequency for the offering of the various kinds of sacrifice, but it is mentioned going yearly in association with different festivals and feast days. In any respect, there were millions of Hebrew people. Thousands upon thousands of animals would have been offered every month. The blood of the offering was as payment, as atonement, as a cleansing for sin, but if left and allowed to accumulate and not quickly disposed of, these mountains of animal carcasses offered, surely would not have been very cleansing. The wilderness tabernacle and later the temple of God itself would have carried the stench and pall of death. Without the cleansing fire, it would have become not a place of holiness, but a place of profanity. . . a place of infection and vileness. That which is dead, that which died for atonement must not be allowed to remain and rot, but must be removed and purified by fire. Therefore the sacrifice must be closely followed with the fire of purification. . .

I began this study thinking about and meditating on the role of fire in my spiritual life. . . .I expected to find many references equating fire to passion, but in the Bible fire is much more universally used as a means of cleansing or disposal.

1 Corinthians 3:15-17 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We are the temple of God. The temple had a fire of sacrifice burning, never to be put out:

Leviticus 6:12-13 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. 13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.

This fire is always to be ready to dispose of dead things. It is an eternal fire in the temple of God. If then I am the temple of God, what fire is there within me? What then is this altar of fire within me? What form does this fire take in the child of the new covenant?

A fire has two essential components. First it must have oxygen. Without oxygen a fire cannot exist. Every breath we take, contains mostly inert useless gases. For both fire and life, oxygen is required. This vital principle which gives life, is in the New Testament translated from the Greek word 'pneuma', the breath of God. . . the Spirit of God is the now revealed essence required for the fire of our internal new covenant altar.

Without the Spirit of God, without this Spiritual oxygen, fire is not possible. We cannot have a cleansing fire burning within us without the breath, the Pneuma of God. . .

But fire has another essential component. It not only requires oxygen, but there must be along with the oxygen, there must be something to burn:

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

We surely have no need to re-crucify or to burn our Savior, and maybe here the analogy falls short, but we are to mortify those parts of us which are not holy, we are to kill, we are to sacrifice that which is sinful within us, but as in the Old Testament temple, we cannot allow these things which have been done away with, to accumulate. These things which we mortify, cannot lay around inside of us, to putrefy and taint the temple, but must be disposed of upon the altar within us. . .

It is not enough to merely turn away from our unholy parts, we cannot put them merely in an internal tomb and cover them with a rock within us. We never desire these bodies of darkness within us to resurrect. We cannot retain them as any kind of memorial within us, or the stench of their remains will contaminate our holiness. We must do that which cannot be undone by mortal hands. Only by the total and permanent destruction of our sin filled nature do we create a sweet savor unto the Lord.

Do not merely kill off those sinful things within you. Place them on your altar. Bring them forward in your mind, offer them in a time of fervent praise and worship. Ignite them while filled with the Spirit of God and burn them into oblivion. . . .

I say it again. . .create within you a sweet savor unto the Lord. . .

I love you my God. . .

I love you all. . .

Dave Stokely

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Neighborhood prayer walk - 7-8-8

Middlebury Street

We had a great night tonight. Melissa Wolfinger and I walked and prayed the streets of the Middlebury area.

We anointed and prayed with David & Zoe Gilbert. Zoe has the flu and the high humidity is rough on David's COPD. Zoe's friend Cathy who lives right next to the church, the house behind the barber shop with the with the little religious statues in her yard, very much wants us to keep dropping off fliers to her house. This is the second time Zoe has requested this. I dropped off a bunch of them a few weeks ago, but more recently I keep forgetting. I did manage to drop one off at Cathy's house tonight.

A lady walking on the sidewalk, just started softly weeping when Melissa asked her if she needed prayer for anything. She said she'd been looking for us a few days ago to pray with her. She wouldn't tell us what she needed prayer for, but when we anointed and prayed with her, she just clutched my hands as if holding on for dear life. She was silently sobbing about some terribly sad thing in her life. . .I don't know. . . Her name is Kim. Please pray for her. . .

Just lots of people out tonight, all up and down the street. A lady sitting in a swing chair tearfully requested prayer and a prayer cloth for her mother Doris. On the way back, Melissa's legs were hurting so badly she asked if she could wait there and if I could pick her up in the car. She sat and talked with this lady for maybe close to half-an-hour. This lady really opened her heart to Melissa. . .

A man in the apartments is a new father. His wife just had a baby a week ago today. He requested prayer for his new little family and took a prayer cloth for his baby.

Leah asks for prayer. She needs deliverance from drug addiction.

I had just put a flier on a door when two gentlemen got out of a car and approached us on the sidewalk. It was apparently their house. They are Mormons involved in a Hispanic outreach (according to their name tags.) They asked for anything in Spanish that we had. I gave them a couple of my Spanish Bible verse cards and one of Sister Cathy's English class fliers. They never said much of anything else, and neither did we. It seemed like an awkward moment.

Another lady Regina, needs deliverance from drugs and alcohol.

Another house I've been putting fliers on the door handle every week with absolutely no signs of life at the house, a lady bolted out of her front door after I put a flier on her door knob. A scene momentarily flashed through my mind, of this lady running out and tackling me. That is how quickly she came out after me. The lady implored me to stop as I walked down the sidewalk. She had been wondering for weeks who was leaving the fliers on her front door. Usually she works until 8:00, but we were running way late and she got off from work early tonight. . .She had been watching for us. She was so very thankful for the fliers. That house is a half-way house for a faith based women, victims of violence, assistance service. The lady shook my hand two or three times, while telling how thankful she was for our prayers for the neighborhood. She was full of emotion and tearful in her gratitude.

Just so many wonderful things. . . talked to Loretta and Tina. . .prayed with just numbers of people. . .

It just don't get any better than this. . .

Thank you my God. . .


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Neighborhood prayer walk - 7-3-8

Marion/Harrison Street

Melissa Wolfinger and I walked and prayed tonight. It was a very good night. I have had some other commitments and have missed the walking and flier handouts both last Thursday and the most recent Tuesday.

Cigar Bob was waiting for us. We sat with Bob for close to half an hour. He filled us in on all the neighborhood (and really the entire city) goings on. I'm coming to understand that Bob talks to lots of people and he gets around on his crutch far more than I would ever have guessed. I apologized for not being by to talk with him last Thursday. Bob said, "That's OK. I know. You were out of town. . ." I was very much taken aback at his confident proclamation. I laughed. That was exactly right, but when I asked Bob how he knew, his rheumy old eye sagely peered at me from under his midnight dark sunglasses. He slowly nodded his head and thrust his warped index finger into the air. . . ."He told me." Bob said that God told him that I was out of town. . .I'll not second guess Bob. He is a man of many surprises. . .

On another note, Bob told me that he needs a broom and a sweeper. I'm guessing an upright would be easier for him to manipulate than a canister type, but in any respect, if you have either that you would be able to part with and would be willing to donate to him let me know and I'll help you get them to Bob.

We bought ice cream from the street vendor and gave him (and quite a number of others) Sister Cathy's fliers for the English classes she teaches at the church.

We bought water and visited with the lady shopkeeper and her children.

It was a very very good night. We had a couple stop when they saw us and get out of their car and request prayer. . . more people cross the street and come up to us and want anointing and prayer. . . several come to the door when they saw us and ask for prayer. . .We prayed over numbers of prayer cloths. for jobs, for healings, for financial situations, for businesses to succeed, for unspoken requests. . .

Melissa was very much physically hurting. Her ankle has been injured and re-injured in no small part by her walking in the neighborhoods and praying.. Her knee joints grind together. At some point in the future, if the Lord does not heal her, she will need knee replacement surgery. She has no cartilage. It is very painful for her to walk and yet as much pain as she is in, she loves to walk and hand out fliers and pray with people. . . She has a great boldness about her and is willing to pray with any one at anytime. . .She has just this week found a part time job and has yesterday had an interview for another job. She should find out tomorrow. Please pray for her to get this job.

My other partner, Terry Wallin is likewise afflicted in a number of similar ways. Please pray for Melissa and Terry. They both love the Lord greatly. They are both being tested greatly right now.

It was really a wonderful night. We prayed with so many people. I really missed not doing it for a week. Changes are taking place in the neighborhood. Weedy places are being cleaned up. Things are bing painted that were previously all broken down and neglected. . . .God is on the move. . . .