For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it. Psalm 132:13, 14.
Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.
During ages of spiritual darkness, the church of God has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, the pure doctrines of heaven have been unfolding within its borders…. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts.
The church is God’s fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son. From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.
God loves His children with infinite love. To Him the dearest object on earth is His church.
The Faith I Live By p. 281
Prayer Requests
—–Our daughter in-law’s son and his girlfriend are dealing with a difficult situation and need our prayers. Paul
—–Please pray for a young father and husband named Matthew who just found out he needs a kidney transplant. Joyce
Dear Friends,
About 27 years ago or so, when we lived in Washington state, my dear friend, Darlene, had a women’s prayer group that met in her house each Wednesday morning. Sometimes there were five or six ladies attending: sometimes it was just the two of us. We claimed the promise “if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Mat 18:20
One day, when Darlene and I were studying and praying together, I shared with her the longing of my heart. It had been over five years since I had seen my mother, and although our relationship had not been the best throughout my life, I really missed her. She lived in Florida, which was about 3000 miles away from where we were living. We could not afford to travel that far, so my desire seemed impossible to fulfill. Nevertheless, Darlene and I prayed about it.
A few days later, when I was grocery shopping, I noticed a little box sitting on a display of canned goods. It said, “See your mother for Mother’s day.” I stopped and gazed at the sign. That was the longing of my heart, all right. The store, along with a local radio station, was having a drawing for an airplane ticket and a bouquet of flowers for the winner’s mother. I quickly grabbed an entry form, filled it out, and dropped it into the slot in the box. Then I continued with my shopping and forgot all about it.
One day, a few weeks later, the telephone rang. I picked it up. A man on the other end of the line said, “Congratulations! You have won a free airplane ticket and flowers for your mother on Mother’s Day!” I exclaimed, “You’re kidding!” He said, “No, I’m from —- radio station and you are on the air right now. Tell us, where does your mother live?” I said, “Florida.”
Now it was his turn to say, “You’re kidding!” I don’t think they were expecting to have buy such an expensive ticket. A day or two later, Darlene and I drove to Spokane and picked up the ticket at the radio station. Darlene put a “*” in her prayer journal beside the request to see my mother showing that God had granted our request.
Indeed, our Loving Heavenly Father had answered our prayer in a way that I would not have thought possible. I was so happy! He had fulfilled His promise “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Mat 7:7,8
Why, then, do we often not receive what we pray for? Our Great Creator tells us, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isa 55:8,9; 46:9,10 Paul tells us, “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” Rom 8:26 He, Who sees the future, knows what would happen if He granted our request just as we asked for it. We think that it would be a wonderful blessing, but He sees that it would have just the opposite effect on our life. In love, He says, “No” or “Wait awhile” or “I will give you something better.”
Jesus assures us, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7 Here is another key to answered prayer. We must abide in Christ. We must cling to Him as tightly as a drowning man clings to the rope that has been thrown to him. We must look to Him for all things and in all circumstances. We must say as did Jehoshaphat, “our eyes are upon thee.” 2 Chron 20:12 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Ps 27:14
James gives us another reason for our prayers are unanswered. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 4:3 How often we ask for things that would make our life so pleasant, that we would be in danger of taking our eyes off from our Dear Saviour. We would become self-centered and self-sufficient, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer 17:9 Jesus explains, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:23,24
Let us “praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Ps 107:15 Let us trust Him even when we cannot see the answer to our prayer, knowing that He, Who knows the end from the beginning, will do what is for our good. Let us place our hand in His strong and mighty hand and allow Him to lead us in the rough and rugged path that leads to His Heavenly Kingdom, where there will be no “more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” Rev 21:4

A City of Refuge