I don’t understand why, but many of us enjoy seeing others become frightened. Some of the funniest videos I’ve seen are of grown men getting scared and screaming like little girls. It may be fun to see others get scared, but living in fear is nothing to laugh about. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, […]
This follow-up to a previous post, Words of Life ~ ADVOCATE, is a means to share how the Lord has been working in my heart the last few days, and to ask you to join me for a life-changing experience.
The Lord brought Bill and Terri into my life several months ago. Bill lives in the southwestern part of the USA and Terri in the eastern region. They have become advocates for each other.
As they have shared how God is working in their lives, I have become an advocate for them before the throne of grace.
If you know Bill and Terri, you can skip this part and go to the exercise. But it may be a good thing to review who and where they are.
Bill and Terri each live in a physical state of paralysis. Their conditions are similar but different in how they operate in that state. They are mindful of their circumstances and have learned to function and communicate with others in a gift of clarity most of us do not have. They are each a special gift to us who know them.
Bill, diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) over twenty years ago, has been preserved long past the average two-to-five year expectancy. The Lord has done a miraculous work in Bill for a witness of the Unshakable Hope he has in Christ. With Mary, his wife and principal advocate, Bill lives at home, functioning with modern equipment that moves him from and into his bed and chair. He writes with his eyes with a computer designed for this purpose. For his blog and book project, Bill is filled with the Spirit of God, influencing and encouraging people throughout the world to know and trust their lives to Christ. His hope is not in himself or anything of this world but only in the promises of eternity when he will have full use of his body and faculties to praise and serve the Lord.
Even though ALS has drastically changed my life and that of my wife and our two daughters, I don’t believe anyone should allow a disease or any life-challenge to define who we are.
To do so is to give that challenge more credit than it deserves and is the first step on a dead-end road of hopelessness.
This trial has taught us that the only way to experience genuine and consistent hope, peace, and joy in the middle of a trial is to view our lives and situations through God’s eyes. For me, learning this was a long and difficult process—but a rewarding one; an ongoing process that will continue until the day I go to be with the Lord.
Terri, from a fall in her kitchen, has been a quadriplegic since 2013, She is single and dependent on medical staff in a nursing facility. She, too, is a witness for Christ, and attends her church for worship. Terri has siblings and church family who are advocates in the capacity of which they are able. She uses some of the same equipment as Bill and by her voice, communicates through her computer. In these six years, dealing with other medical issues, she has spent time in ICU and been moved to other facilities which upset any rhythm in her life, causing depression and anxiety. From one of her blog posts, I quote the following.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5
No matter how frustrated, disgusted, or depressed, I get about being a quadriplegic, I know I’m where I am meant to be. I don’t have to understand why this happened. I only need to acknowledge that God is sovereign, loving, and good. And he doesn’t make mistakes.
Bill and Terri’s readers continue to encourage and support them. The greatest encouragement comes from Bill and Terri to us when we read what the Lord is doing in them.
A SPIRITUAL EXERCISE AS AN ADVOCATE
We cannot, as advocates for Bill and Terri, appeal with the strength of the medical equipment they need. Those things are already provided for them. The idea and the means for advocacy on their part is for the spiritual strength and grace they need to endure and triumph as witnesses for Christ as they are bound, imprisoned in their bodies.
They are teaching us what the world is like ~ paralyzed ~ and in need of a heavenly outpouring of the Spirit to move in His people.
Here is where we can be a part of an awakening in the body of Christ.
For the last few days, the Lord has uniquely led me to pray and intercede. At first, the thought was only for Bill and Terri. Then the blessings came for me, my family, my church, and the whole church worldwide.
Three things will come as a result of this exercise.
1. Bill and Terri will be strengthened in their witness of Christ.
2. We and other Christians will be strengthened in our witness for Christ.
3. God, our Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ will be glorified.
This exercise began when I awoke. I lay still as if paralyzed like Bill and Terri. Quietly I waited, arms at my sides, imagining their immovability; then, remembering Psalm 46:10 ~
“Be still, and know that I am God,”
I again waited ~ motionless.
Stillness is not easy in a world that is spiritually paralyzed. The body does not want this stillness and will not succumb to it except by His Spirit.
“I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
This exercise is an excellent means to realize that every breath is by His Spirit and through Christ alone.
The Spirit then moved me to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
Our whole of living moment by moment, day by day, is for this purpose. He wants us to know Him as our Father. Through us, He is exalted, honored, and His name hallowed in this world.
This prayer and this thought of His overall sovereignty and exaltation led me to ask for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit from His throne of grace to fill me and enable me to pray in the Spirit for power as an advocate for Bill and Terri.
From the Holy Spirit’s leading, then came the request for the Spirit’s filling for them. I prayed for the continual work in their lives to overcome in the battle against weariness, discouragement, uncertainty, depression, and anxiety. Among other requests, I prayed for the Lord’s filling and leading for Bill to finish his book.
There was a third request for the filling of the Spirit for His people everywhere. (You need facial tissue for this exercise.)
I went to the next petition, which the paralyzed body of Christ needs ~ asking for His kingdom to come in power by His Spirit, and His will to be done in the hearts and lives of His people everywhere.
“God hath made with me an everlasting covenant |
ordered in all things and sure,
this is all my salvation and all my desire.”
2 Samuel 23:5
Even as with David, this everlasting covenant revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, is God’s means to establish His kingdom’s rule here on earth and His will to be operative in the hearts and lives of His people.
It is by His divine power that we destroy strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring every thought captive in obedience to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Before getting up to start my day, I finished petitions for which I usually ask. I asked for the Spirit to raise me and His people everywhere for the work He has for us to do ~ to be the moving witnesses Bill and Terri encourage us to be.
These are only the beginnings of what I have experienced in this new intercession.
During the day, this exercise can be done anywhere and anytime you can lie down, or even sit quietly and still ~ as you desire the Holy Spirit’s filling and moving in your heart and spirit for you, Bill, Terri, all who are ill or physically handicapped, and especially for the moving of God’s Spirit.
Teach your children and do this as a family exercise. Let this exercise displace some of the time you usually spend with your devices. Set your timers and stop and pray throughout the day.
If possible and you feel led, continue this exercise for a week. We may post some of the responses and address any concerns next week.
Advocates for Bill and Terri could become a movement in this world to bring an awareness of the need for God’s Spirit for all people. Let us share this need and call others to join this exercise of intercession for His glory.
Since getting to know Bill, and Terri, through her blog, emails, and my phone conversation with her, Jerry appreciates his wheelchair, and the use of his one leg though he has not been able to walk for over two years. It is amazing how your life can change when you are aware of the more significant needs of others.
Please share this with your Christian friends even as you become an advocate for Christ’s sake.
Gracious Father in heaven, Whom have we in heaven but thee and there is none on earth we desire beside thee. Draw your people to this intercession with understanding and the Spirit. Fill us and enable us to pray in the power and intercession of the Holy Spirit and Christ, our High Priest, who sits at your right hand calling us to Him, for thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
The airwaves are contaminated with information that is clouding the heavens and the earth, shutting out the goodness and glory of the Lord our God. The world is polluted with a poison that spews from the heart, lips, and fingers. Instead of using social media as a place for our secrets, our complaints or our achievements, let us be spreading the Good News of Life in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Should there be a difference in what we as Christians make public?
How do we determine what we share through social media?
These questions led me to search God’s Word for what He wants us to publicize. We will look at four areas: Our deepest secrets and sins; our disappointments; our fears and anger; our achievements.
As we scan the following references, let us stop and meditate on those we should heed.
Our Deepest Secrets and Sins
Many consider that sharing our sins before the world can make others feel better about themselves. Let us read what our Lord has to say about our sins.
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: Galatians 1:4
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians 1:7
What We Should Remember and Share with Others
We learn from the following references that we are to confess our sins to the Lord.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
We have been quickened (brought to new life) who were dead in trespasses and sins; Ephesians 2:1
When James 5:16 speaks of confessing our faults one to another, this does not mean the sins of which we have been forgiven. He is speaking of needs in present circumstances when in times of prayer for one another. This might also relate to the confession of faults against one another.
Disappointments and Sorrows
If we continue to talk about our disappointments – either from childhood or as adults – about our griefs, and sorrows – our minds and hearts will not heal.
What does the Bible teach us about these things?
Our comfort is given by the Lord through His Word and His Spirit.
This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. Psalm 119:50
Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Psalm 119:76
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
One of the most remembered references is Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as the Comforter in His place
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 the means of comfort in the body of Christ among believers.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Our Fears and Anxiety
Fear turns into anger toward those we think are responsible for the ills and chaos of the world. Social media is the means for many to strike out — to make their anger known. This does not alleviate the problems that cause our distress. It simply causes more upheaval.
What should we do as believers, followers of Christ our Lord?
Paul wrote the following to the Philippian believers.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
As children of our heavenly Father, we need not boast of our accomplishments. All that we have is of His mercy and grace and for His glory.
For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Psalm 49:12
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Daniel 4:37
The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Psalm 12:3
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. Proverbs 27:2
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. 1 Chronicles 29:11
Dear Father in heaven, search us and know our hearts, try us and know our thoughts and see what is in us that needs to be displaced with your thoughts and words. Forgive us for wasting your time and the talents you have given us; enable us to use the means of communication in this world to proclaim your love, truth, grace, righteousness, and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Why has it taken so long for me to write this post?
It is not because I have been at my task of caring for Jerry. It is not because there are not enough hours in the day to witness of the Lord’s goodness ~ this is the reason I write.
Titles come so very easily, but the meat is not always simple to come by. We long to publish the truths of the Father’s kingdom, but it must come by experience. And so this is true of the subject matter of contentment and anxiety.
Growing up in an environment of anxiety stamps a person for life, until we encounter Christ and learn of Him.
Then, we are born and sealed with His Spirit of promise, sanctified, and set apart for His use.
But even as Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord, so we wrestle for the promises that are ours in Him. This wrestling is the work of the Holy Spirit within us, bringing us to know the promises through God’s Word, claiming them, and working through life with the two-edged sword to destroy the strongholds that have have been set up in our lives.
There is as much difference between contentment and anxiety as between day and night. The difference is as light and darkness; as good and evil. And each has its ownership and connotations. Books have been written, messages spoken and songs sung, and we could say more, but we post very simply today of how the Lord brings us from the anxiety of this life to contentment in Him.
The Source and the Fruit
Anxiety is the abnormal attitude of human beings; the seed thought of every man; flowing from the spring of unbelief.
“O, ye of little faith.”
“Yes, Lord, I hear you. I recognize your voice. I acknowledge my lack of faith.”
“Why do you doubt?”
“I have no excuse. My thoughts carry me where I do not want to go. They seem to have a power of their own.”
“Have I not proven that I love you and am able to provide all that you need?”
“Yes, Lord, I am guilty of forgetting you and your goodness when my thoughts wonder away from you. When times are difficult I am carried away by the moment. I am still learning to be content in every circumstance. I confess my sin, and ask that your Spirit keep me in your Word, to always remember your promises. Let me not dwell on the things of the world, and the power of the enemy. But let your Word be the source of my thoughts, to do its work. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and the contentment that is ours in you. Bear in and through me the fruit of your Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, temperance; the fruit of holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, and humility. Fill me with your fullness, so there is no room for doubt or fear, but only thoughts of you, your grace and your glory.”