Advocates for Bill and Terri ~ A Spiritual Exercise

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
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
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.
Fran

A Prescription for Praise

As a young mother of a four and a one-year-old, my life was ruled by migraine headaches. Nothing killed the pain, and after an x-ray showed a shadow on my brain, my doctor sent me from our small town in Georgia to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. More x-rays (no CT scan or MRI in those days) and tests proved there was nothing physically wrong.

The doctor sent me home after a week, with a prescription for Triavil, an anti-depressant used also for headaches. He said that the medication would enable me to see through rose-colored glasses. When I look back, I realize that the time I spent in his counseling must have been a week of complaining about my life. Though I did not understand then what he meant by rose-colored glasses, I took the medication. In time, my headaches subsided. Triavil became my god because it got me through those days when I did not know who I was or my purpose in life.

During the ten years I took this medication, the Lord began to draw me to His Word. We attended church but there had been no connection for me with God. Reading the Bible became a new experience, one in which the Lord was speaking to my heart. In His timing, He brought a conviction that the medication was no longer needed; that He would be my God and do more for me than this medication had ever done. He was true to His Word and weaned me from the medication, continuing to teach me and lead me.

In 1992, years after He brought me to His Word, His Spirit did a marvelous work, giving me a new heart and a new life. A new life in the Spirit of Christ was His gift of grace that has worked until today for me to live in dependence upon Him. There is no place for me to complain about anything in my life; no reason to spend my time complaining about the world, the chaos, the evil, and the trials Jerry and I continue to experience.

The Lord, through His Word, has prescribed something more powerful than any medication can provide. His Word prescribes all that His children need in this world of degradation. We cannot change the world or our circumstances; only He can; and will, in His time.

His Spirit provides His grace within us to respond to all things according to His will; responses that prove who we are as His children – those that glorify Him.

His grace brings us to trust in Him for all things. Living in trust enables us to praise Him no matter the circumstances.

Consulting a physician usually results in some kind of treatment, a prescription that has proven in certain cases to solve the physical problem. God’s Word has been proven to solve spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical cases. His commands are not to be taken lightly. We should, as willingly as we accept a prescription from a physical doctor, accept what God prescribes for us as His people. We not only trust the doctor but also the pharmacist who fills the written prescription.

We accept God’s Word as His plan for our well-being and take His prescriptions to the throne of grace where His Son sits at His right hand to fill all that we bring to Him through His Holy Spirit. In His timing, He fulfills every promise He makes to us through His Word.

In Psalm 107, the same verse is quoted in verses 8, 15, 21, 31.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

.The Practice of Praise
From Psalm 113, we find reasons to praise and in these verses the command (prescription).

Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Rarely do we miss a dose of medication because we want to be well. We want to get over whatever ails us and so we take all medication that is prescribed every day. In the same way, we must begin and practice daily the habit of praise. We don’t just praise the Lord when all things are well. Especially when the difficult days come, we need this prescription more than at other times.

The beauty of praise is that it does not cost us anything. Our prescription plan was paid for on Calvary by the blood of Christ. He is the reason for the Spirit of praise that lives within us, working every day through the good days and the bad. Our circumstances change but God does not. Saying, “I praise you Lord” privately, or “Praise the Lord” where others hear, is one of the most blessed expressions the Holy Spirit works in us showing our trust in Him and to others.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3

Why Should We Praise Him?
He is our God; Deuteronomy 10:21
Because of His righteousness:.Psalm 7:17
The Lord is worthy to be praised: Psalm 18:3
For God is the King of all the earth; Psalm 47:7
For the help of His countenance; Psalm 42:5
Praise glorifies God; Psalm 50:23
To honor His name; Psalm 66:2
Because of His word; Psalm 56:10
For His strength, and his wonderful works; Psalm 78:4
Praise is comely; Psalm 147:1
We are accepted in the beloved; Ephesians 1:6
We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;  called out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9
His truth endures for ever; Psalm 117:2
For His power; Psalm 21:13
The Lord is my strength and my shield; Psalm 28:7.
For His mighty acts and excellent greatness; Psalm 150:2

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Psalm 63:3

Where Should We Praise Him?
We should praise Him among the heathen Psalm 18:49 that others may see, fear and trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3; to the ends of the earth; Psalm 48:10; among the people and nations; Psalm 57:9; in His sanctuary: Psalm 150:1

Who Can Praise Him?
The upright; Psalm 33:1 the poor and needy; Psalm 74:21; His people and sheep of His pasture; Psalm 79:13; the people He formed for Himself; Isaiah 43:21; the meek; Psalm 22:26; those who fear the Lord; Psalm 22:23

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. Psalm 86:12

When Should We Praise Him?
We should praise at all times; Psalm 34:1; all the day long; Psalm 35:28; Psalm 44:8continually; Psalm 71:6; Hebrews 13:15; every day; Psalm 145:2; when we have learned His righteous judgments ; Psalm 119:7

 Let us study what our Lord has written for us; the prescription for praise will change our hearts and minds during the times of trial. We can know His grace and peace when we learn to praise Him every day even in times of despair.

Dear heavenly Father, you have given us every reason to praise you. You have given us a proven prescription for all the earthly ills that plague us. By your Holy Spirit, work in us the power of your Word to thank you and to offer the sacrifice of praise to you; the fruit of our lips as we continue to trust you at all times. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran
Related Article: The Glad Rule