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

First Things for the First of a New Year

If ever we begin a new year without focus and direction, we will surely fail to know our purpose, to go through and end the year with any success. As a believer, a follower of Christ, we must start with wisdom and knowledge of Him and His teachings.

He left us with specific directions and expectations. As our Shepherd, He continues to lead us by the written Word of God and His Spirit. He teaches three specific things, first things that we need to know and remember at all times, especially as we begin a new year.

These “first things” are shared in our free ebook, First Things That Last Forever, as an introduction to the series Little Books About the Magnitude of God.

These books were originally written and published to preserve a legacy for our family of what the Lord has taught me for seventy-eight years. They are available here for anyone who desires to know how God’s presence and power work in the best and the worst times of this life. Jesus finished His work, left us His example and teachings, and has sent His Holy Spirit to reveal and fulfill the promises made through Him.

We invite you to begin this year of 2018 with these teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to share them with others.

The Lord bless you, keep you and lead you in the paths of righteousness this New Year.

Fran and Jerry

Gracious Father, as we offer this book to your people, we ask that you lead by your Spirit those who will accept this free offer, even as you offer eternal life through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. I pray we all will continue to learn to focus on you as our heavenly Father, and what it means to hallow your name; to learn what it means to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, and to love you with all our heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Bless us as your people in this new year for your own glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Let Us Pray Together For Our Nation

Why should we pray together for our nation? Burdens and prayer go together. As Christians we expect our heavenly Father to place burdens upon us so that we will come to Him in humility for His intervention.

He has given us His Spirit of grace and supplication for times like these.

He has placed His Son, our Lord and Savior at the helm of His kingdom as our High Priest, and through His Spirit, He receives our prayers and supplications.

In these last few weeks before this presidential election, please join me at the beginning of each week to pray each of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.  We will see how it relates to each of us, personally, to our families, the church, our nation, and the world.  We ask that other nations join us. (See A World in Crisis)

Please consider fasting as the Lord leads you.

our-father-which-art-in-heaven

Dear Father, we come to you with the burden you have placed on our hearts. We see the handwriting on the wall. Believing that you are our heavenly Father who has birthed us into your kingdom, we need no other recourse but you. You care for us through your authority and rule over us as your children. During these times of uncertainty draw us near to you, show us your ways, teach us your paths, lead us in your truth, for you are the God of our salvation.

As we watch the proceedings leading up to this election, enable us to see all in your omnipotence, all happening under your control. Let our responses to these things be honoring to you, as we trust you in all things.

Let us not be anxious; let us not be fearful, but work in us that we may trust you explicitly in these coming weeks and for the end result.

Examine our own hearts and minds. Search us and try us as your people; let us not be found wanting, but in all things honoring you and your name ~ in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Let the work that you do in each of us be honoring to you as a light to others who are fearful.  Let us be a blessing to those who have no hope.

Increase our faith during these times of uncertainty.

Let our attention not be on those who may be physically ruling this country. but enable us to keep our focus on you, your authority, your honor, your power, and your glory, for your name’s sake.
In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Related articles:  A World in Crisis, and  A Crucial Seven Weeks.

Photography: Washington Sunrise by Aram Vartian

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 4)

To sum up our meditation of Jesus’ revelation of the Father—“our Father” of grace and glory—John’s recollections are used last. John was “the disciple that Jesus loved.” Being closer to John than any other man on earth Jesus perhaps made more of an impact on him than on any of the other disciples.  John is the writer of the fourth gospel, which is more personal than the other three; also, he wrote three letters, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.  He quotes Jesus’ words in his gospel and in the book of Revelation.

We see in his writings four different facets of Jesus’ words, as He proceeds to unfold the work of the Father’s grace and glory: 1.  His relationship and unity with the Father. 2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption. 3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son. 4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, and glory of His children with the Father and the Son.

1. Jesus’ relationship and unity with the Father is revealed in John 8:54-“the Father honoreth me;” John 10:30-“I and the Father are one;” John 14:9- “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” John 14:10-“I am in the Father, and the Father in me. The Father that dwelleth  in me, he doeth the work;”  John 14:13- “the Father is glorified in the Son;” John 15:23-“He that hateth me hatheth the Father, also;” “John 16;28-“I came forth from the Father, and I go to the Father.

2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption is seen in John 6:27-“everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed;” John 12:49-“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave what I should speak;”  14:28-“I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I;” John 15:1-“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman;”  John 16:15- “All that the Father hath are mine;” John 18:11-“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son is revealed in John 6:37-“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” John 6:44-“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” John 6:45-” Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me;” John 14:16-“And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 14:26 “whom the Father shall send in my name, He shall teach you all things;” John 14:21-“he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him;” John 14:23-“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him;”  John 15:8-“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples;” John 16:23-“Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you;” 17:11 “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are;” John 17:26-” I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it;” John 20:17-“I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God;” John 21:21-“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you;”   Luke quotes Jesus in Acts 1:4, speaking of “the promise of the Father”—that they would “receive power when the Holy Ghost had come upon them” (in the Father’s timing) to be witnesses of the gospel of the Father’s grace.

4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, worship, and glory of the children with the Father and the Son is seen in John 4:24-“true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him;”John 17:24-“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou has given me;” Revelation 2:26-27-“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; even as I received of my Father;” Revelation 3:5- “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels;”  Revelation 3:21-“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

WHO BUT A FATHER CAN SIRE CHILDREN OF HIS OWN?

Dear Father, make us to know who you are, that we may know whose we are, for your glory and our joy

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 2)

“Meditating on my bed” about the Father’s grace and glory since 4:00, by 6:00 several titles and articles had come to mind.  In the Draft file already are Musings vs. Amusements, Seeds of Grace, and Graceful Contentment.  Like a child my thoughts run to and fro from one subject to another, but this morning “our Father” has held me close, so that I may delight myself in Him, to know the desires of His heart.

Is this a last stage of His grace for me, or the flourishing of old age, promised in Psalm 92?  It really does not matter; each moment of each day is the working of His grace, for all ages and stages of this life. It is mostly in this latter part of life that I am coming to understand God as my Father, but more than this—that He has made me a part of His family; that He is “our Father.”  My only sibling is a brother who is eight years older, so my former years were as if I was an only child.  There is very little that I remember of his presence as I was growing up.  We were latch-key children (actually, living in Pepperell textile mill village, we did not even lock our doors), so, coming home to an empty house was never a pleasant thing.  This was one of the main reasons that I never wanted to work outside the home.  The few jobs that I had were either temporary, or, as in the building business, during school hours, and mostly building homes in our subdivision.

Enough of those memories—our heavenly Father is displacing those with better thoughts, better things, better promises. I can dwell on those that bring me down, or I can, with Him, walk in the light of His grace, looking up, thinking of those things that He is teaching me in His Word, and confirming by His Spirit of grace.  I could stay to myself, and get those dishes done (I am a keeper-at-home).  I can, like Mary, sit at Jesus’ feet (and I do). I have a biological family (whom I love more than they know).  I have a husband, (with whom I am preparing to be the bride of Christ.) But all of this is within a larger family, an eternal family of which I am a part. Our Father has desired us and sired us as His own to first, love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; from this relationship we love others, whether brothers and sisters in Christ, or those outside the faith.  (Matthew 22:37-40; I Thessalonians 3:12-13)  It is this relationship with the family in Christ, through which He sustains His people, bringing His kingdom to come here on earth.

It is our Lord Jesus Christ, “the first-born of many brethren” (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2: 11) who reveals the Father to us.  It is the Father who reveals the Son to us.  The two are one, and have brought us together in one body with them—in Christ.  (John 17:21)  In our next post we will ponder how and what Jesus, the Son, reveals to us of the Father.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father,

and no one knows the Son except the Father

and no knows the Father except the Son

and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  

Matthew 11:27 ESV

In His Grace—for the Father’s glory and our joy.  ~  Fran