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

God’s Covenant of Grace

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“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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You have bought me
You have sought me
You have caught me
You have brought me
You have taught me

Today, by the power of your will and grace, make everything in my life YOUR OWN.
In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

(Quote for covenant from Heaven Opened ~ The Riches of God’s Covenant by Richard Alleine)

Abraham and Paul ~ Heirs of Promise

How exciting is our God!
The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to amaze me as I sit under the preaching of His word.
It is a joy to have my heart and mind opened to the truths that are expounded through the messengers that He has chosen. Such is the case as I am experiencing the preaching of Paul’s letter to the Romans. I have read it many times and studied it; but never before heard and seen what I am seeing now. So had Martin Luther, and God changed his understanding, his life, and the church.

In Romans 4 there is a remarkable revelationimages of how well the apostle Paul knew Abraham. Should it not be so, since Abraham was his father ~ twice born?
Jews throughout history have claimed him as their father. But, Paul gives us a backward view of who has a true claim to this relationship.

God, the Father, chose Abram to be the father of many nations, not just a nation called Israelites. He made an everlasting covenant through him for all nations and changed his name to Abraham. He chose Abraham, made a covenant with him and gave him a promise to bless people from all nations through his obedience of faith.  This is how he became the “father of faith” to all nations.

Let’s look back in time to this covenant blessing upon Abraham that is our blessing, too. We cannot skim over this, but we need to take the time to see the truths here.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,
that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”
Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him,
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. Genesis 17:1-7

The Lord appeared to a mere man on this earth, gave him a promise that through his physical seed a new nation of people would be born; a covenant that God, Himself would fulfill ~ an everlasting covenant ~ not just to the nation of Israel; and not just for a certain time, but a promise and covenant forever to all who believe in His promise.  God is a God of covenant; a faithful God to His people who accept His word as truth.

How would this covenant be established except through Abraham’s physical offspring, a son that God promised to Abraham? Through him would come the Messiah promised by God since the beginning (Genesis 3:15). But do we see the catch ~ Abram was ninety-nine years old and had no offspring. There was yet no son through whom a people would be born.

But God promised. And Abraham believed what God promised, though it was physically impossible. His faith was counted as his righteousness before God.  As difficult as it was for him to believe is it impossible for us to believe through our own insight.  We are each in our own country, our own little worlds until God speaks through the power of the gospel to us.  By human thinking we cannot see the incarnation, the righteous life of Jesus Christ, his death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven.  It is by His grace, and His light in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6) that reveals Christ to us and gives us the new birth by His Spirit, so that we see and believe. (John 3:3; 6:44-45)

The essence of Romans 4 is that Abraham’s faith preceded his action of circumcision. It was his faith in what God promised that made him righteous, not his works. His obedience to God’s command for circumcision was a result of His believing God’s promise.

(Remember the purpose for Paul’s letter was to bring a people from all nations to the obedience of faith. His preaching the gospel was not to tickle the ears, but to lead people to faith in the gospel and therefore to proof of salvation and righteousness by obedience to God’s word.)

How well Paul relates to his father Abraham; and how well he knew his own people who trusted in their circumcision and the law for their righteousness before God.
The Lord had chosen Saul, appeared to him, changed his name to Paul, and sent Him, first to his own people. They tried to kill him, because they did not like the good news of faith in Jesus Christ. They proved themselves not to be true offspring of Abraham, because they did not believe that God had sent His Son for their salvation.

And so, Paul was sent with the gospel to the Gentiles; and all who believe God are the heirs of the promise; joint-heirs with Christ, Abraham and Paul.

 “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.
But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also.
It will be counted to us who believe in him
who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Romans 3:4, 24,25

 Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for calling Abraham out of his own country to establish a new country, a new people of faith and obedience to your word. Thank you for stopping Saul from persecuting your people, that he might become your servant to all nations with the good news of our salvation. Thank you for giving us your word and your promises through others of faith. Thank you calling pastors to preach the gospel in our time. Thank you for calling each of us as your people, by your Spirit and through your word, that others may see and know who are your children; though there are those who will reject your promise and persecute us who live in obedience of faith.  Today make us to know who you are, that we may know whose we are ~ heirs of promise. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Obligated and Eager  Romans 1

An Everlasting Covenant

Twelve years ago, through the following devotional, the Lord opened my heart to the truth of the following verses.  This “everlasting covenant ordered in all things, and sure” is to this day “all my salvation, and all my desire.”

“He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things,
and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.”  2 Sam. 23:5.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen.”  Psalm 89:3.

“This was David’s plea and confidence, when, with eternity full before him, he was just going to make his appearance before an infinitely pure God.  This must be our plea also, if ever we would obtain the approbation of our Judge.  After a life of the most eminent holiness, the best of men will have reason to cry out, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord.”  It is true, indeed, the believer will discover some evidences of grace, just to show the child of God, and no more; but all so imperfect, that he dares not ground his expectations on them.  Here the covenant of grace steps in to his relief, wherein he sees ample provision made for the security of his eternal interest: for the covenant is made with Christ and his seed.  It is an everlasting covenant, not only made before time, but extending its beneficial effects through the ages of eternity.  It is ordered in all things, therefore nothing can be wanting in it, either to promote the glory of God, or the salvation of believers.  It is sure also:  depending on no conditions, requiring nothing but what it gives, conferring its blessings freely, and making them sure to all the seed, being established upon better promises.  Happy souls, who are interested in this well-ordered covenant.  May it be all my salvation, and all my desire.”

Thy word, O God, begetteth faith;
From thence our hope doth spring,
Founded alone on what God saith:
My soul, adore and sing.

Thy word is truth, thy promise sure;
Hence faith and hope abide:
True faith in Jesus will endure;
Naught can from Christ divide.
________
(Bogatzky’s Golden Treasury ~ February 8)

Product Recall (Part 2)

The Resolution

There is a resolution—and only one—to the problem of the human heart that is hardened to, and unresponsive to its Creator; it is His, and His, alone.

“A new heart also will I give you; and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

“And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:6-8

These are the promises of our God, the Almighty Creator and sustainer of all His creation, especially His people.

The Warranty

“I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me. Jeremiah 32:40

With the new heart comes a new warranty—an everlasting covenant for life. The original covenant with Adam depended on his own obedience to the covenant.  It only proved that man couldn’t live alone; we cannot live without the daily presence and power of God.  Life no longer depends on our working to sustain the covenant of life in ourselves, but on our trust and faith in what He has promised to do in us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit.

“I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts,

and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  Hebrews 8:10

The warranty is written on the new heart, and so it can never be lost.  And we can never be lost to God.  The new heart is registered in heaven.

“Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself.”

And this is the testimony, (the warranty) that God gave us eternal life,

and this life is in His Son.

Whoever has the Son has life;

 Whoever does not have the Son does not have life.” 

1 John 5:10-12

 Spirit of the Living God, Fall Fresh on Me

(Join us for daily devotion agoldentreasury.com)

 

Rainbows and Promises

A rainbow is a symbol of God’s grace.    Bow in the clouds

We don’t usually find one if we are looking for one.  They come with no planning on our part.  This one appeared while the sky was still very cloudy. And only then, through a small sweep of the sky between the trees.

Had I not been been looking through the kitchen window at a certain moment I would have missed it.  And even then it was very dim, disappearing soon after I took this picture.

Why does God continue to display a rainbow? What good is it, actually, and practically?

What is its purpose except to cause us to look, and in seeing, remember our heavenly Father’s promise to Noah and his sons, recorded in Genesis 9:11-16.

“I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood. This is the token of the covenant between me and the earth.  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I MAY REMEMBER THE EVERLASTING COVENANT.” (condensed)

When we look up He is looking down.  Our eyes look upon this token, and remember the other promises of His everlasting covenant of grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, for eternal life.  There will be another day of judgment and destruction, not by a flood, but by fire, (2 Peter 3:10-13)

~ ~ ~ ~ NEVERTHELESS ~ ~ ~ ~

“We, ACCORDING TO HIS PROMISE,

 LOOK for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

    Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before,

       beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

2 Peter 3:14,17-18

“And he that sat was to LOOK upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.

and there was a RAINBOW round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”  

Revelation 4:3