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ZMI Family Ministries International > Articles by: Starr Ayers

Eyes to See

“‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” 
2 Kings 6:16

Recently, I sat across the table from a former high school classmate and listened to him recount his experience in the Vietnam War. His assignment—the Phan Rang Air Base bomb dump, 150 miles northeast of Saigon—a large open area surrounded by dirt piled high to control unexpected explosions.

Hour-after-hour, soldiers clad in uniforms drenched to their legs with sweat would assemble bombs and stack them for use the next day against the Viet Cong. In 1969, during the Tet Offensive, U.S. military planes would fly so many missions his team would work every day from dawn to dusk for weeks.

“At times, I felt lost and abandoned. I tried hard not to feel sorry for myself. I knew people would die from the bombs we made, but I chose not to think about it. I just put my head down, did my job, and tried to survive while counting the days until I could ‘return to the world.’ Our only diversion was to watch helicopters fly over, or our aircraft bomb and strafe the enemy in the mountains surrounding us. We were attacked many times with rockets, mortars, and occasional ground forces. I truly believe God looked out for me.”

As I listened to my classmate’s story, I could only imagine the conflict of emotions that life in the middle of a warzone would bring. After all, my friend’s presence there along with thousands of other troops sheltered me from the horrors of a war that took place halfway around the world. For their service, I am grateful.

In the 2 Kings 6 account of another war, fear struck the heart of Elisha’s servant when he saw an army of horses and chariots surround the city. Elisha assured him that God was greater than the enemy and prayed God would give his servant eyes to see. “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). As the enemy moved toward them, Elisha prayed that God would strike them blind, and he did as Elisha asked.

Do you face seemingly insurmountable difficulties? I’m sure my classmate, afraid at times, found comfort as he watched his comrades rid the mountains of their enemies. Scripture states that in this world we will have trouble, but because of Christ’s death and resurrection our enemy is a defeated foe. No illness, grief, financial crisis, rejection, or calamity has the power to overcome us. God always leads his children to victory.

Look to the hills. Lift up your eyes in faith and allow God to show you his triumphant power.

 

Blessings,

Starr

On the Way

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mark 10:17

During a recent trip to Cincinnati, a twenty-something lady sat down beside me on the plane. After a brief response to my greeting, she connected her earphones to her mobile device and put them in her ears. Shortly after takeoff, she added dark glasses to her travel attire and remained plugged in—or should I say out—for the duration of the flight.

I might have been offended had I not been familiar with this hallmark of our day which is fast becoming the norm. I wondered who she was, where she was going, and what her felt need was. We all have them, you know.

On my next connecting flight, a forty-something lady was my seat mate. After our initial greetings, she revealed she was on her way home to offer her final good-bye to her father who’d passed away the day before. For the next hour, we shared portions of our lives, looked at family photos and agreed to become Facebook friends. As we prepared to depart, she thanked me for the conversation that had kept her grief at bay.

“Ships that pass in the night” is a line from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem penned over 150 years ago. You’ve probably heard and used this phrase yourself as you’ve brushed shoulders with someone while you were both on the way to your respective places.

The metaphor speaks of two sailing vessels that pass in the night and shine their lights to acknowledge one another’s presence. After passing, they slip into the darkness, never to see the other again.

The Enemy of this world is a master deceiver. He uses multitudes of devices to create division and separate us from the people God places around us on the way to where we’re going. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from shining a light into someone’s darkness. Our lights may appear dim. What we do may seem insignificant. But the simple offering of our presence may be all someone needs to keep their flickering flame alive.

Daily, Jesus met the needs of people. Some he met while on the way to the next place. His presence always meant life for their souls.

Who will God place along your path today? On the way, listen to the gentle whisper of his Holy Spirit. Acknowledge someone’s presence with yours. Shine a light into their darkness. Your paths may never cross again.

Starr Ayers

 

 

Photo credit: Pixabay image

Wake Up!

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36, NIV

In 1917, New York artist, James Montgomery Flagg painted the World War I poster Wake Up, America. A young lady is shown sleeping while the storm of war brews behind her. Dressed in red, white, and blue apparel, she wears a Phrygian cap, the symbol of liberty. Flagg painted the poster with hopes that it would inspire Americans to wake up and do their part for the war effort. In response to calls like his, thousands of men, women, and children stepped into their respective roles. The dedication and unity of those who answered the call to serve changed the tide of war and secured America’s victory and the freedoms we now enjoy.

Today, another storm brews across our land. America is undergoing a tremendous shift in its social, political, economic, and religious atmosphere. As we move farther and farther away from the godly principles upon which our nation was founded, there is a steady rise in division, discord and strife. The Scripture text exhorts believers to be ready to serve and be lights in the dark days prior to Christ’s return. Are you prepared for what lies ahead—am I? Are we ready to respond to God’s call to serve? Will we open the door to His daily presence in our lives and move forward in the power of His Spirit?

In Genesis 14, when Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been taken captive by the enemy, he rallied his troops and stepped out to rescue him. Yes, Lot chose to live in the wicked city of Sodom, but Abram never gave up on him. Because of his unconditional love and valiant effort, Lot’s freedom was restored.

Two of my favorite verses in Scripture are Romans 8:35 and 37: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Wake up, children of God! United in prayer and service, we can change the tide of the spiritual war raging around us. Fight for the souls of those you love. Christ gave His all for their freedom. The enemy is a defeated foe. Believe it. Suit up. Step out. Step into the role God has for you. His presence is with you. We are more than conquerors!

Starr Ayers