AFM Ministry's David Shelton

David's Life applications of God, his Word and his calling

Month: December, 2014

Daisy’s Story- a story of Grace

Daisy was a young 25 year old woman who loved life and was raised in a loving Christian family. She loved Jesus and being a part of the family of God. She and her family regularly attended church. She was a beautiful young woman both inside and out, with the joy of the Lord filling her life. She was devoted to family and country and lived a quiet, humble and respectful life to all people. She loved sharing the love of Christ with people through showing kindness and compassion by serving them. She loved talking about Jesus and worshiping him in spirit and in truth as God’s Son who died for us.

Like most women, she dreamed of getting married to a God-fearing man and of having children and raising a family.  She dreamed of a nice wedding, romance and happily-ever-after life like most all young girls and women desire. Her natural beauty captivated the eye and affections of a handsome young man, named Abram. He courted her and asked her parents for her hand in marriage. They loved each other and soon were married. Life seemed to be so blessed and happy even though Daisy had always lived in relative poverty by all worldly standards. But she had great wealth in a loving family with father, mother, sister and aunt and cousins. She had a good family and now a husband to begin her next chapter of her hopeful life story.

Although things seemed well and God provided all the joy she needed, Abram could not find a good job and felt unable to properly provide for his new family. His pride was hurt and he was driven, at all costs, to make something of his life and provide for his wife and make way for children in their new family. Yet his love for God was based on tradition and there was no real passion for Jesus Christ in his life. He really did not know God, nor was he truly saved. But he lived the religious Christian life as was expected since he was born and raised in a Christian home.

His inability to find good work was due to cultural discrimination held against his poor family and traditions. 95% of the people around him were Muslim. They actually held great disdain for the ways Christians lived, and the way they worshiped Jesus Christ, as though he were God!   The Muslim culture around Daisy and Abram was toxic and growing increasingly violent and uncomfortable. They had to take menial day labor jobs and live at starvation level wages, and be treated with contempt by many of the Muslim masters who they had to work under. Yet most of their family had learned to be humble and quietly live their lives among their fellow man; meeting with Christian friends and making a simple form of life of loving God in Christ as they were led.

Abrams’ lust for stuff, status and pride in life drove him to think of ways to break free from this bondage of being held back in society. One day one of his Muslim friends told him there was a way for him to become respected and popular in his community and to make good money right away. He told him that at the local Mosque, the Imam would pay him $1000 and help him find great work and status in their populous community if only he will forsake Christian teaching and follow Allah and the Prophet Mohammed. Abram’s lack of love for Christ and his greed to be something in life, convinced him that this would be the best path for both he and his wife Daisy. So he accepted the offer and converted to Islam.

He came home with his new found “wealth” and told Daisy that their family will now follow Allah and Mohammed and would forsake all the teachings of Christ; that they will both now convert and gain a great life among their neighbors! Daisy was horrified!  She loved Christ and would have nothing to do with this type of treason to our Lord and God! She tried to convince Abram to reconsider his choice and told him what a great mistake and dishonor this was before her, both their families and before God himself! But Abram would not budge!  He was insistent that his new Muslim friends and their ways were superior and ordered Daisy to submit and convert along with him!  Daisy refused and would not turn her back on her Lord.  So with the help of the Imam and Abrams new Muslim friends, they rented a new home far away in another city and forcibly took Daisy away to Abrams new home. There they chained the doors to a room in the house and imprisoned her, until she would recant Christ and turn to Islam. They assumed she would give up her foolishness and come around. After weeks and months of her being unwilling to turn from Christ, they began regular beatings of her and screaming at her and keeping her imprisoned, rarely allowing her a bath and never a change of clothes. She remained imprisoned for her faith in Christ for over a year!  She never denied Christ; she would rather die a martyr’s death than turn on her Jesus.

Daisy’s once blessed life seemed now so dark and difficult. While imprisoned her family searched for her but could not find where Abram had moved. She was losing all hope and life seemed to be total despair; during which her family had begun to assume the worst, and that she was dead. Daisy prayed daily to Jesus to help her escape and find freedom and life so she could live and serve him. Then one day her husband and friends all left the home and she managed to break out and fled!  She ran from the home with nothing but a tattered year-old dress, barefoot and dirty until she found a public road and fell down weeping. A kind and generous man found her in her distress and asked her how he could help. This “angel” lovingly drove her for several hours to her home town and deposited her at her parents’ home!  It was over!  She was free from her terrible ordeal! Or so she thought.

Her family and she all wept and hugged and welcomed her back into the home!  Yet her troubles were not over, but about to get worse. Her father told her she could not stay because her evil husband Abram would come back looking for her and force her home, as was the Muslim tradition since women are considered as property to most Muslim men. Daisy’s joy was short lived as her family arraigned for her to quickly be carried to one of her lesser known aunt’s home who Abram did not know. There they hoped for a while she could recover and find some better place to live and hide. The next day, as expected, Abram and a group of Muslim men from his mosque arrived at Daisy’s family home. They forced themselves into her parents’ home and when they did not find Daisy they roughed up Daisy’s family and interrogated them and tortured them for her whereabouts.  Her father, mother and sister were beat and tortured for information which they refused to produce until the band of thugs finally murdered them all!!  Yes this Christian family all died protecting their eldest daughter and her faith in Christ. They died for Jesus! Would you?  This terrible evil came about and was born in lack of faith, pride and greed. Be careful because sin is crouching at your door in these forms and it seeks to pounce on you and destroy you too, just like it destroyed Abram and now the bodies of his wife’s family!  Yet only Abram is really destroyed in this story, even though his body lives, his soul is standing in horrible judgment of hell fire! Daisy’s family is in paradise, they are the truly blessed ones.

Daisy’s horrors are not yet over. Her hell is now her life on this earth. Once she knew hope and happiness and peace and joy; now she lives in utter fear, panic, discouragement and disbelief of what God has allowed to happen to her and her family!  Yet she is clinging on to Jesus and praying and asking him to save! Yes, amid her darkness God’s rod and his staff are comforting her as she finds some solace in the words of the Bible and times in prayer. Her widowed aunt fears for Daisy’s life and that Abram will find her someday, so they seek advice from other Christians in their community and decide her only way to stay safe would be to leave the country and quickly. Thailand is the only country that would simply grant them an immediate VISA for a fee and that was reasonably low cost place to live, so Daisy’s aunt pulled all her life savings, purchased her a ticket and gave Daisy all the money she had. It was enough to get to Thailand and pay for rent and food for about 6 to 8 months if she could live sparse for under $200 a month. So with her one suitcase in hand  with her few belongings, Daisy made her first trip out of country to Thailand with about $1,200 to live on. She arrived tired, shocked, scared and alone, yet by the grace of God guiding her, she found a low rent furnished apartment with all bills paid including internet and PC for about $130 a month where she settled in.

Daisy ate little, due to the stress and fear and so she managed to stretch her food and supplies to last about 8 months. She rarely left her room in fear of the unknown, and after overstaying her VISA for fear of being arrested by Thailand’s military run government and police (They do random VISA checks on all foreigners). A couple months into living in her apartment, she lost contact with her aunt and does not know if she went into hiding also or was murdered like her parents and sister. She mostly read and slept and was growing more and more worried and fearful thinking that somehow God may have abandoned her. Her money is now run out. She has only a few days of rice and clean water to drink. She has been on Facebook and trying to tell people of her condition and need for help, but no one seems to care or if they say they do, they do nothing to help. In this condition she cries out daily to Jesus Christ to save her and come to her rescue. She tells him of her great love for him and how she did not turn on him and kept the faith! Now what?

“God are you just going to let me sit here and slowly starve to death? What am I to do”, she prays.

Thailand’s strict military police are cracking down on foreigners overstaying their VISA and putting them in Jail until they come up with the fines and money to buy tickets back home. So many illegals there are rotting away in the Thai jails. Christians from the western countries all seem to have good lives and they have means to help. Daisy sees the wealth of many of the Christians from her distant positon as she scours the internet looking for some form of help. People either ignore her when she mentions she is in life threatening financial distress, or they simply are not sure to believe her, and they then go about their lives not even seeking a way to help.  But she does not give up. She visits various Christian ministry websites and Facebook pages and comes upon About-Face Missions public page. She sees the stories of hope and grace in which this small group of Believers are doing to proclaim the Gospel and share the love of Jesus with others. She sees how they are helping poor pastors, their orphan children and the needy all over the world, even in her home country of Pakistan. She wonders if these people would take the time to listen to her story and pray over her need. She is desperate.  She will literally die soon if she cannot find some help from someone. Surely God has heard all her cries and will connect her with someone who likewise is seeking God and open to his voice and has means to do something! Surely God is for her and not against her she believes!  She believes and still will not give up on Christ and counts all her sufferings and losses nothing, for the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ in all his glory some day! Yet her frail humanity is taking a beating and her mind is in turmoil and her hope is fading for any rescue this side of heaven.  What about you?  How would you fare at this point? Would you still be clinging to the cross of Christ for all it’s worth? The fires of God are purging her soul. Daisy keeps praying and not giving up…but eating less and less… as she has rationed her remaining rice and clean water to make a half-serving of food a day for another five or six days.

Daisy sends a message to the About-Face Missions Facebook page and she prays God moves someone.

But God….But God!  He does something.
Psalm 118:23 “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
God has chosen to hear his suffering daughter’s cries for mercy and ending to her tribulation; to put her on a path to healing and restoration; to show her his plans for her; plans for welfare and not for calamity to give her a future and a hope! (Jer 29:11)  The martyrdom of the saints that has been ordained for some to walk has passed her over. God opened the heart of one of his own at AFM Ministry as he read Daisy’s story. It rang of truth and great sacrifice and suffering for Christ and that for such a time as this God has ordained for her that we be here (Esther 4:14); to be the arms, hands and feet of Christ to bring the hope of his love in provision of her needs!  God provided About-Face Missions with a close friend who happened to also be in Thailand. We enlisted her to meet with Daisy in person to help us vet out her story.  God ordained all to come to pass, and all we his servants needed, was to listen and obey the Spirit leading us. We did. So did Daisy.

You see Daisy was terrified of going out of her home with so many police patrolling; fearful of going to prison for being now illegal. She was also fearful of meeting this person who About-Face Missions wanted her to meet to see her face to face, and help verify her identity and story. She already felt so apprehensive about the many questions the AFM rep asked her as if it were a lawyer from Pakistan drilling her as if she were giving legal testimony in a trial ( it was a Pakistani Lawyer, our AFM staff member).  She was alone, hungry and frightened, but she and I chatted, and I assured her that without Faith it is impossible to please God and to see his full glory of what He wants to do in our lives. We must put to death the fears in the flesh and really trust Christ to lead us as we make wise steps toward his will. Yes Daisy was afraid in the flesh and it showed somewhat when she was met and interviewed with our woman representative in Thailand, but she allowed her faith to move her, and she went and met and told her story. You see true godly faith has feet. It moves us to take steps into the unknown fully resting in God to have our lives in his hands. Daisy demonstrated real faith. God has smiled upon her and opened up the door for us to give her some cash that day. And now for the past few months He made way to have AFM Ministry cover her monthly need for food, basic supplies and rent!  Glory to God!

Today Daisy is working for AFM as our representative for us to help us reach out and meet and vet out other people and their needs. She even gives freely of her own meager foods to help those in worse condition than she. She is not bold and fully of joy and hope and carrying the hope of Jesus Christ and his care for fellow persecuted Believers stranded there in Thailand. This is a true story of God’s grace in action today.

In part, this is how God has made way for About-Face Missions to come to see the great need of His Children stranded in Thailand who have suffered great harm at the hands of cruel men in countries like Pakistan, and now today are out of means to live and seeking asylum through the United Nations Human Rights Commission. But due to government delays, they are stuck fending for themselves for a year or more until inducted into the government refugee programs. Many arrive with little, then exhaust their resources, and have resorted to begging for their needs, praying for God to open doors to make a way to survive. For those willing to work with AFM in honestly and faith, we want to do our part by raising awareness and financial support to bless them with financial aid, for a time; until they can get moved into the government programs, plus assist in expediting that process also where able.

Do you hear the voice of the Christ whispering to you, ‘these are my people..These are my Sheep’?  “What you have done for the least of these my brethren, you have done unto me. “

Clearly for those who have heard Daisy’s story, you now know this crisis is real and brewing, and many more are in great need. AFM has taken in 5 families so far.  We have our AFM Pakistan lawyer and new staff member, they too are a refugee couple living in AFM care here in Dallas (whom Muslims have tried murdering). They are helping us in this undertaking we have begun. We have Daisy (her name was changed to protect her identity). We have a family of 5 who Daisy came to know whose daughter is her friend now, whom we have taken under care for their rent. Then we have taken in another man who ran a Christian orphanage and his wife and their newborn child who were tortured and left for dead and who escaped also to Thailand. Now most recently we have taken in another young woman and her 1 yr. old baby who had her husband and entire family brutally murdered and forcibly injected with deadly poisons until foaming at the mouth dead. This was done by a gang of Muslim thugs for her and her husband leading a young Muslim woman to faith in Christ as Lord. (The brother and family of that new Believer tortured and murdered her, and came and killed this woman’s family, but since she was away on a doctor visit for her newborn, she escaped and likewise fled to Thailand.)

These terrible crimes against God and against humanity are quietly going on time and time again, and in greater intensity all around the Muslim dominated countries like Pakistan where the radicalization of Islam is growing worse. As Islam moves back to its fundamental roots, we shall see more of this increase world-wide. While the local governments corrupted by this evil theology look the other way, we can do something. It begins with us praying and getting real by setting aside some money and effort to first help rescue these fellow Christians suffering and in crisis. Christians are the by far most persecuted faith group of people in the world today and in history. Prophecies are being fulfilled. Yet God has given us a task to do for many in need. We can do this. Together we can make a huge impact for Christ.

Come and see our Jesus. Go and be “their” Jesus.  …If Jesus lives in you.

Jesus said.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”  – Matt 25:34-40

“For such a time as this” God has raised you up and given you means to help.  Help by first committing to give to AFM Ministry to help us fund these first 5 couples monthly and for us to take this ministry beyond and to meet all who truly are persecuted for their faith and love of Jesus! We need donors to grow this to meet more of the vast and growing need. As the Lord enables, this Thailand Pakistani rescue is just the beginning. As we build this out we hope to help expedite asylum cases for those in need and to render aid to all persecuted Believers all over the world! Come join us and begin today!
Make a donation or a pledge to our AFM Persecution Aid fund.

Here is the link for ways to give or online donation. http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/donate

If you have an ability to help us on a professional level who can help us develop this work even further through partnerships, donation of labor or advice, or simply to get the word out, please contact me us email. david@aboutfacemissions.com or imran@aboutfacemissions.com. We are looking for viable strategic ministry partnerships.

*Image above is blurred for security, but it our first photo of ‘Daisy’ in our meeting with our representative along with her new found freind whose family also is awaiting asylum help from the UN for similar reasons.

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Chewing gum theology

When you read the Bible, do you read it simply to get through it? Or do you read it with a sense of expectation looking for something God wants to speak to you about ? 
   I have found if we read for the wrong motive it totally changes things. It may become a drudgery, inconvenience, or something we just must do as some religious exercise.  Even for one born-again of God, this can be a trap that makes your “feeding on the bread of life” like chewing gum.  Something you chew on casually, taste a little and then spit it out once the bold flavors are absent. The end result is meaningless.

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God wants to transform our lives through intimacy with him. Like Moses, we cannot spend time with God and not walk away without his glory shining from our lives. If you are not moved, then you did not swallow the truths of who He is and his call on your life. You chewed and spit him out.  This reminds me of my 2 year old grandson, who often chews a new food we give him, that don’t suit his taste or texture preferences, and then he pushes it all out of his mouth with his tongue, never swallowing it.
The Bible is God-breathed and as such is living an active and will nourish our souls, if we will learn to enjoy it’s flavors and swallow.  It penetrates both the physical and spiritual realms of life. It is not supposed to be like chewing gum, but to be solid meat for the soul. We must desire God in this life so much as to be like a deep hunger to a starving man. Holy Spirit indwelling causes those who are the Lords to want to consume him…to hunger to know him and follow his every word. We should naturally hang our lives in balance to hear the next word from our sovereign Savior ! 
  Why would we even say we want heaven and all the glory of seeing Christ face to face and being forever with God in all his beauty and not really have any passion to know him and obey him today?
He is God; Our Creator, and full of endless wisdom and love and has good plans for our welfare and our future with him.
He speaks through his Word as the Spirit in us makes it alive and guides us in truths that will direct our steps in daily life applications.

Read your Bible books and learn the context first…. Then Slow down… Stop and think and search paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, about some truths God is wanting to apply to some part of your life today. But you got to slow down and listen for that still small voice that is speaking.

God is speaking. Are you listening?

John 10:11 (The Good Shepherd)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. – Jesus.

Do you know his voice as your spiritual and life shepherd?

THE RIVER WALK

Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

Read: Isaiah 30:1 – 33:24

Relate: I don’t know much about shepherding. Most of what I’ve been taught about sheep and their care has come in the form of sermon illustrations and it isn’t something I’ve really done much fact checking or research on my own. What I do know is that sheep stink. There was a sheep farm near my school that my bus had to pass way back in the day. Anytime there wasn’t enough wind to blow the stink away it was horrible. I mean, seriously, horrible. You would almost thing they were permanently torturing skunks on that farm the way the smell would always stick around.

Some things I have heard in sermons about sheep: They’re dumb. I’ve heard a story about 1,500 sheep all walking of a cliff, one right…

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Yielded to Holy Spirit

There is a real interpersonal mystery in the Holy Spirit. He relates to each of God’s elect on an intimate basis. Even so while maintaining his eternal relation to the Father and the Son in the triune mystery. As we read in 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”; herein we see there is fellowship and intimacy with God through the Spirit. (Notice also the triune persons of God represented again)

There has been much talk about the Holy Spirit and his power being revealed among us as much in the charismatic movement has been a forced exercise of trying to use God the Spirit for our own human desires or feelings.
  But God; He is not one who we can use. He uses us. Intimacy with God begins by surrendering daily to the Spirit and allowing him to lead you. We don’t conjure Him up in some emotionalized worship service like some form of pagan spiritist or medium. Worship and power of the Spirit is much more than outward manifestations seen among worshippers in a gathering of Believers, which many times emotionalism and forced jibberish is confused with the Spirit’s power and presence. But rather a life of obedience to God is evidence of the Spirit in you. Romans 8:5b says
“…those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
The Spirit is sent in power to encourage us yes, but even more so to empower us to boldly do the works of the Gospel.

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Do you live according to the Spirit? How does this reveal itself in you?  Since the Spirit inspired all of the Bible, wouldn’t you likewise assume to see a deeper hunger for those who are true children of God for his Word, and to walk in the ways of Jesus to whom the Spirit leads us to be like? Yet the vast majority of those who call themselves Christian rarely spend time with God listening to him through reading and meditation and obedient application of their Bibles to their lives. Scripture exhorts us to be doers and not hearers only. (James 1:22)

If a regular hunger and making time with God through prayer and reading his Word and seeking his voice to lead is not part of your life, then something is seriously wrong.

Make the change you must to reorder your life. Today is the day of repentance  from known sins that hold you back, and getting your life right with God. Don’t delay, because every day missed from this glorious relationship with Christ and the Father through the Spirit is a day others cannot be made new through you.
  
God does have plans for you, to give you a future and a glorious hope. Yet you must seek him in love and listen to the Spirit and yield to him. The promise is; you will find.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.- Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV