HOPE – From Rev. Don Gifford

Pastor, friend, Superintendent for Indiana Assembly of God, Rev Don Gifford, has been my pastor since 1992. We worked together for five years before I left to pastor in Lebanon and eventually CEO of Indiana Teen Challenge. We have stayed in touch since then. Pastor Don and his wife Dianne and I traveled to the Brownsville Revival that made a lasting effect in my spirit.

Rev. Don Gifford

During these stressful days of Covid-19, I received a letter of encouragement from Pastor Don to the Indiana District Ministry family. Pastor Don permitted me to share with you.

  • “In my devotions this morning from Isaiah chapters 40-43 I noticed these promises:
  • “The grass withers, the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them…and the Word of our God stands forever.”
  • “He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them to His heart.”
  • “He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”
  • “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
  • “Even youths grow tired and weary, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
  • “I said, You are my servant. I have chosen you and not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • Sing unto the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.”
  • Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  • “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
“I share these Scripture so we will continue to have hope.” Rev. Don Gifford

Allow these words from God set ablaze your lightnside for comfort and a light to the hurting world around you. Blessings

knowledge and discernment

Philippians 1:9-10 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding (Discernment, insight). 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. NLT

Why the need for discernment, understanding, or insight? DECEPTION

Our world is full of lies,  false truth,  twisted truth.  Where do we find truth anymore? Most TV reporting, social media, newspapers, and radio promote an agenda. We must be able to gain insight into truth from biblical understanding and Holy Spirit insight. This takes time in the word and in prayer. Deception will increase toward the last days. We must strengthen our understanding and Godly insight. In the last days, the antichrist will be a master deceiver.  He will deceive the world and lead them away from Christ.  He will deceive and cause most to receive a mark on their forehead or hand and doom them to hell.  

Why are we so easily deceived? 

Satan used to be the highest angel in heaven. Envy and self-seeking were found in him as he said Isaiah 14:14 “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High” When Adam and Eve sinned, this same darkness filled all mankind. We are born with envy and self-seeking. You never have to train a baby to say “no”, or “I want”. We are by fallen nature self seeking and envious. 

To grow in discernment, and live a pure and blameless life, you must be aware of the fallen nature we all fight in our own lives. These fallen natures are easy targets of deceptions. The more we become aware of our inner struggles, the greater we can discern how to live holy in a troubled world.

Our inner weaknesses.

James 3:13-15 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. NLV

Earthly – follow the trends of the world. A follower of crowds, “I’m with them”.  A desire to be accepted by all. There is great pressure to follow the status quo.  The attraction of being part of the current excitement.

Sensual (unspiritual)(by natural appetite)  emotional, animalistic, instinct  –  live by feelings,  allowing emotions to guide your path.  “This is how I feel”,  “I feel it’s right”- making decisions only by your emotion or feelings.

Demonic – witchcraft is on the rise.  Be careful what you read and watch.  Be careful of religions outside of God, Christ & the Holy Spirit.  Songs, books, movies, social media are attracting many to seek demonic forces for guidance.

Four steps to increase discernment

  1. Grow in the knowledge of God.  Read the Bible every day.  Read good books about the Bible.  Take notes of sermons. 
  2. Repent of sins and attitudes,  Psalms 51:10-11 “Create in me a new heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, take not Your Holy Spirit away from me.”
  3. Patience in God’s Presence.  Rest in His presence.  Many things about God are taught, but some of the deepest  understandings are “CAUGHT” in your spirit while in God’s presence.
  4. Don’t let a battle discourage you.  The strongest truths and revelations come from the wilderness. 

Why do we need Godly knowledge and insight (discernment, understanding)? So we can recognize the fallen nature of our own life and the world around us. So we can live a holy life until the day we stand before Christ. Grow in discernment to brighten your lightnside.

God’s Names

Psalm 9:10 NIV  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Unspeakable name of God

The first was spelled without any vowels.  The followers of GOD so honored GOD they gave him an unpronounceable name as YHWH.  It is written Jehovah or Yahweh but in the early days, the name of GOD without vowels sounded like a sigh, a breath.

Special names of God describing His interaction with man. 

Meditate on these names and allow the many names of God expand who He is in your life.  These are just a few of the many:

Yahweh Nissi:“The Lord is my Banner.” Stresses that God is our rallying point and our means of victory; the one who fights for His people (Ex. 17:15).

Yahweh Shalom:“The Lord is Peace.” Points to the Lord as the means of our peace and rest (Judges 6:24).

Yahweh Sabbath:“The Lord of Hosts.” A military figure portraying the Lord as the commander of the armies of heaven (1 Samuel 17:45).

Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Sanctifier.” Portrays the Lord as our means of sanctification or as the one who sets believers apart for His purposes (Exodus 31:13).

Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd.” Portrays the Lord as the Shepherd who cares for His people as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his pasture (Psalms 23:1).

Yahweh Tsidkenu: “The Lord our Righteousness.” Portrays the Lord as the means of our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).

Yahweh Shammah: “The Lord is there.” Portrays the Lord’s personal presence in the millennial kingdom (Ezekiel 48:35).

Yahweh Elohim Israel: “The Lord, the God of Israel.” Identifies Yahweh as the God of Israel in contrast to the false gods of the nations (Isaiah 17:6).

(3) Adonai: Like Elohim, this too is a plural of majesty. The singular form means “master, owner.” Stresses man’s relationship to God as his master, authority, and provider (Joshua. 5:14).

The names of the Lord will expand your knowledge of and confidence toward Him and place lightnside your heart.

God is above the Pandemic

What verse or word from God helped you during the pandemic?

Hello to all. Besides being the CEO of Indiana Adult & Teen Challenge, I am also a regional representative Teen Challenge corporations of six states. I report twice each year the status of our Teen Challenge centers to our national board. The Covid-19 Pandemic hit our centers hard. Church services canceled, Thrift Store shut down. Banquets and other fundraising efforts canceled. No one faced this kind of crisis before. Our corporate leaders had to trust God and lead their centers forward. God continued to bless our centers with health and financial blessings.   

I asked each corporate leader what verse or word from God helped you during the pandemic. Below are some of these answers.


God delivered me from drug addiction. A pandemic is a small thing. Isaiah 43:1-3 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you, says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you, for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 

Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  


The Lord gave me this scripture & confirmed it…Psalm 37:18-19 – “Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.” He would continue to sustain us as He always has. The staff and students have witnessed the miraculous provision of the Lord! We are humbled and grateful. 


Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

 Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, and do not panic before them. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  

  John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

West Virginia

We are standing on the Truth that God is our source in all things. 


    Leading with Integrity – God’s Strength/Comfort (Not a spirit of fear)  


James 1:2-8 New Living Translation (NLT) 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

I thought you might be blessed to hear our Adult & Teen Challenge leaders share their faith in Christ as their Lightnside shines bright.