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Joni Zabel

Expanding My Regulars

By | Day 06 | One Comment

I have to admit, I have writer’s block this week. I just feel…off. Maybe it’s the rainy weather putting me in a funk? Maybe it’s much-needed down time, as my prayer partners have pointed out? Whatever the cause, I refuse to give up and let the enemy win! ūüôā

Day 6 Challenge was to list 25 people to pray for that I interact with regularly, and to make note of the ones that do no know Jesus Christ. After I made the list, I realized that especially now that I don’t work a full-time job, I don’t hardly interact with anyone at all on a regular basis, let alone those that don’t have a relationship with Jesus!

Lord, lead us to new opportunities to build relationships with the lost, while protecting us from temptation. Guide and direct our every step, and help us to get out of our little boxes so that we can reach this lost world for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Where He Leads Me

By | Day 05 | One Comment

Today’s challenge included prayerwalking. We had originally thought about walking in the neighborhood of one of the parks in our community, but God had other plans, as it started to rain. He¬†had assembled a team: our friend, my husband, my two step-children, and myself. We walked out our door and headed on foot wherever the Lord led us.

We stopped to pray for the future residents of a home that was for sale for a long time, but now it’s “pending.” May the future residents of the home come to a relationship with Christ, if they haven’t done so already. May their children, if they have any, be brought up in the Lord’s ways. May the home be full of Jesus’ love and laughter.

Around the corner we saw an elderly couple cleaning up a yard and asked how we could pray. The gentleman said his mom, that used to live in the home, passed away a year and a half ago. They’ve been blessed with finding a ton of neat memories. His parents were married in March 1941, and his¬†dad was enlisted¬†into the service in February 1942. There are 300-400 letters back and forth between his parents, and you could tell by the letters how much they genuinely missed each other. He went into detail about one¬†of the letters his mom wrote to his dad. It stated that she had three hamburgers in a frying pan. The pan¬†got bumped, the burgers¬†fell to the floor, and the dogs ate them. Those three hamburgers were all of¬†their ration of meat for the week!¬†¬†What an amazing lesson, especially to our children, about just how blessed we¬†are to be living in the day and age we do, as difficult as they may seem to us some days.

We walked toward a house that legend has it was a witch’s house. It has an upside down cross laid in the bricks. It seems like everyone that moves into the home doesn’t stay long, and the house is for sale again. We observed the very interesting house, and rebuked any demonic strongmen that may be tormenting any who live there.

As we continued to walk, we saw an elderly man sitting on his porch across the road from us. We waved and smiled. As we continued to walk, he looked curious as to what we were doing, so we went to talk to him.¬† At times like these, I fall in love with my husband all over again! He walked right up and started talking to him. The man invited my husband to sit down and visit for awhile. He proceeded to tell us that he was having a tough time with some things. He had been involved in a car accident, and it messed up his back. We asked if we could pray for his back, and he allowed us to do so. When we went to pray for him, something came to my attention: an occultic secret society symbol on his ring. After we prayed for him,¬†I noticed that he was getting teary-eyed. We believe he was already feeling better. ūüôā I also¬†noticed a big plaque on his house with the same symbol as the ring.¬†¬†I have to be honest…it made me uncomfortable. My husband asked him if he knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and he reminded him that time is short before Jesus’ return. The man said he knew Jesus, but you could tell he had fallen away from¬†that close relationship.¬†A remorseful¬†continence came over him.¬†We were probably visiting with him for an hour. He attempted to keep us there as long as he could. He just had to show us his ’48 Chevy. I wonder if he ever talks to Jesus about his loneliness. How sad it must be to feel so alone. I pray the Lord gives him renewed hope today and draws him closer to Him. We certainly plan to go back to visit with him soon.

As we walked home, I was still feeling a little uneasy about us associating with someone that is part of that secret society, even if he was just a member for the social interaction.

I asked the Lord, “What do You want me to know about this?”

The Lord replied, “I came to seek and save the lost….and the deceived. Joni, you can’t be offended by those that practice the occult. I want a relationship with them, too.”

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 NKJV

Oh, man. Of course, He was right…AGAIN.¬†I keep telling the Lord that where He leads me, I will follow; where He goes, I’ll go. He reminded me that sometimes that means being uncomfortable.¬†Those that need to know His love and goodness are often those that are involved in other religions and practices.

Lord, I truly want to go where You lead me. Please help me to remember that no evil can harm me, so that I can be¬†used by¬†You each and every day, the way You see fit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reality Check: Am I Worth Multiplying?

By | Day 03 | 4 Comments
The first word that came to mind after reading today’s assignment: Ouch.

This was painful for me today, to be honest. As much as I long to be like Jesus, I fail miserably EVERY DAY. The stress that comes with misbehaving children and being hated by people in my life that I just cannot avoid really gets to me sometimes. Oh, who am I kidding? It gets to me MOST days, despite my daily prayers that I walk in the Spirit and not the flesh; ask the Lord to help me be meek, mild, loving, compassionate; full of joy, grace, and mercy every day so that it oozes and radiates from me to everyone with whom I come in contact.

Today’s assignment¬†included¬†reading Matthew Ch. 5-7 (The Beatitudes) and writing down four verses that spoke to me. They all hit home, but these four are the areas that¬†God and I were dealing¬†with today:

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 NKJV

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7 NKJV

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 NKJV

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?¬†Do not even the tax collector do the same?” Matthew 5:46 NKJV

Today’s assignment also included a self-examination quiz¬†by John Wesley. Even though this reality check was painful, it pointed to areas I already knew were struggles in my life, and today I¬†cried out¬†to the Lord in anguish over these heart matters. This led to anointing the entryways¬†of our home and the bedrooms with oil, kicking the enemy out, and loosing Jesus’ love in our home and in our family members. Something changed in our home by¬†the evening. Our home was full of love and laughter as¬†it never has since we became a “blended” family! We had a pastor friend over for dinner, and he said he could feel Jesus as he walked in the door! HALLELUJAH!!!

While our friend was visiting, we were able to discuss this calling we have on our lives and started making plans to move forward. THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

Lord, please keep molding me and making me into Your likeness, a disciple worth multiplying. I’m Yours, and I want to be used by You and for You. Trusting You every step of the way!

Our daughter being silly, attempting to give one of our sons a "swirly."

Our daughter being silly, attempting to give one of our sons a “swirly.”

Why Just One?

By | Day 01 | 2 Comments

I’m very excited to start this new adventure and growth opportunity! For the past four years or so, I’ve felt like the enemy has had a huge target on my back, so I know God is up to something. THANK YOU, JESUS!

A few months ago, the Lord just kept showing me that to be His disciple, I need to be able to leave it all to follow Him:

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26 & 27 NKJV

I stepped away from my full-time office job to be available for whatever it is He wants me to do, as He asked, and I’m trusting Him every step of the way.¬†I would have never guessed¬†that He had planned an invitation to participate in this 3o-Day Disciple Making Challenge and blogging¬†for my future! It¬†always amazes me how God¬†orchestrates everything to get us¬†right where He wants us. The invitation came from a woman I met at¬†my first 5K Run a year ago that benefitted Missions, of all things! GOD IS SO¬†GOOD!

When I asked the Lord who he wanted to¬†by my prayer partner for this journey, He actually brought¬†two¬†people to mind. He asked, “Why just one?” I know how big of a spiritual fight¬†against the enemy I go through every single day without¬†participating¬†in this challenge, so¬†Him choosing two different¬†women to pray for me¬†is like Him¬†telling me, “I got your back!” ¬†Both women are awesome prayer warriors that have gone through or are currently going through major trials and persevering. They’ve always personally had my back, as well, and I know this experience will be a blessing and growth opportunity for all three of us and even more!