Monday, May 18, 2020

You Own The Most Complex Battlefield Ever Built

You Own The Most Complex Battlefield Ever Built

     In the media-circus atmosphere during this global pandemic we are hearing of sad losses, increased robberies, con artists, political absurdities, false promises, and mind-boggling claims.  But out of everything I've seen, heard or read Pfizer Pharmaceutical just about takes the cake for whopper claims.

     The behemoth worldwide Pharmaceutical has been releasing advertisements since this horrid pandemic began.  One particular grabbed my attention.  In it the the narrator begins by saying:

“At a time when things are uncertain, we turn to the most certain thing there is—science. Science can overcome diseases, create cures and yes, beat pandemics. It has before; it will again.”
      Pfizer includes photos of some of their scientists holding signs saying, “Science Will Win.”  Their spokesperson assures viewers, “Our goal is that the Message of hope, (‘Science Will Win’) will be meaningful in the current environment.”

     It is crucial that any child of God realizes that this claim is clear blasphemy according to the Bible, our personal Christian walk, our travel through the valley of the shadow of death and any personal triumphs we humans achieve.  For anyone to claim that "science is the most certain thing there is" is an arrogant, pride-based, ungodly affirmation that begs God to crush it into the dust.

     Perhaps you’re a new believer or one considering becoming a believer.  It may seem to you that I’m being unreasonable about well-intentioned people and/or companies.  Prayerfully consider what is going on.

     The Bible begins with the devil deceiving the first persons created.  That deception has continued throughout all of history.  Because God loves us... He had a warning written for each of us to consider ~ seriously consider, that is:

     “We know that we are held firm by God; it’s only the people of the world who continue in the grip of the Evil One.  And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  This Jesus is both True God and Real Life.  Dear children, be on guard against all clever facsimiles.” (i John 3:19-21, MSG)

     Since the Devil (Evil One) has such power there is a battle going on of which many are unaware.  It is a life and death battle for your mind and soul.  Though your brain only weighs about 3 pounds it is the most complex battlefield ever known.  It doesn't contain bullets, missiles or bayonets.  The apostle Paul contrasts our weaponry with that which Satan wants used.

     “It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives.  The weapons we use in our fight are not the world's weapons but God's powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds.  We destroy false arguments; we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, GNT)

     God doesn't want us to kill our enemies.  He wants us to convince them to abandon their falsehoods and idolatrous beliefs and wrong arguments and win them to Him.  This is why Missionaries have gone to nearly every tribe, country and continent to preach the Gospel which has now been translated into 1,534 languages.

     The Gospel clearly says, "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6, NIV)  He wants us to destroy the false arguments of the Evil one and battle every thing raised up against the Lord and bring every one of our thoughts captive and surrendered to the Lord.

     You’re using your 3 pounds now reading this and I used my 3 to write this post.

     The Holy Scriptures use an allegory to explain the process of growing  from being a new believer to a strong believer who is able to use his/her 3 pounds to battle successfully for God.  “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14, NIV)

     I refuse to accept Pfizer’s claim: “At a time when things are uncertain, we turn to the most certain thing there is—science” - to go unchallenged.  Science is not the most certain thing there is... it is not and never has been certain.

     Ponder this: At age 21, 3 fingers on my right-hand were amputated in an industrial accident.  Though the fingers were taken to the hospital the doctor later said, "I didn't try to sew them back on because they were cut in two pieces and I knew that a serious infection was the likely outcome."  Hmm.  Where were you "Science?"

     Compare that to Jesus.  When Peter slashed off a soldier’s ear Jesus put it right back on.  He gave a blind man sight.  He healed a leper, a man with a withered limb, and a woman with a bleeding condition.  The Lord God is THE ONLY CERTAIN THING THERE IS!

     Ponder this:  My wife needed major surgery which was scheduled two months away.  As we talked with the surgeon we asked if a blood transfusion might be needed... because she would have blood draws done and stored in advance so she wouldn't be at risk of receiving contaminated blood.  He said, "I've never had this surgery require a transfusion in my 35 years of practice."

     We also asked: "How long will the surgery take?"

     "3 to 4 hours tops."  He also promised to come and tell me how it went as soon as the surgery was completed.

     When the day came we checked in about 9 AM.  They prepped her and rolled her into surgery about 10:30.  I prayed fervently and settled back reading some magazines and my Bible.  I read and read and read and lost track of the time.  About 1:30 I looked up at the clock, yawned and rested my eyes.  Next thing I knew it was 2:30.  Then 3:45.  At 4:00 I couldn't stand it anymore so I asked the Nurse to please see if maybe the doctor had forgotten to talk with me and if my wife was in recovery now and how long it would be before I could see her.

     The nurse came back in about ten or fifteen minutes and said, "The surgery is not over yet."  But she didn't know anymore.  If my memory is correct at about 6:40 the doctor slowly came up the hall corridor and sat down beside me.  In his German accent he said, "Ve had summ probblams."

     Even a renown surgeon can not produce or guarantee 100% success.  But God did, does and always will.  I had not been praying to the surgeon.  I was praying to the Lord that He would help the surgeon since this operation was going south.  The best of medical science can not be absolute certainty.  Only God is absolutely certain.  Jesus told a raging sea and wind to be still.  And it did.  He raised Lazarus from the tomb.  It is clear that the Lord God is THE ONLY CERTAIN THING THERE IS!

     I've never heard anybody pray to Science.   It is not deity.  But since Pfzier claims that “it is the one certain thing there is” then perhaps they'll also pull an IBM stunt one of these days.

     International Business Machines (IBM) built a fantastic new computer 16 years ago just before selling their hardware business to Lenovo.  They named it "I AM."  Every Christian or Jew on the planet knows that when Moses asked the Lord who he should tell the Israelites was going to free them, God said to Moses tell them "I AM” has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14, NIV)  Jehovah God is the God of the past, present and future.  That is why he used the state of being title of “I AM.”  One lexicographer has broken JeHoVah into Je=Past, Ho=Present and Vah=Future.

     These encroachments are not laughable.  Claiming the same name as God is absolutely wrong, sinful and dangerous.  The 3rd of the 10 commandments reads, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7, NIV)

     Consider for your own sake and others around you how often this command is violated.  The Lord we worship is a triune God.  There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  So when you hear someone exude, "Oh My God" realize that is a vain usage.  Or if someone feels pain and says, Jesus or Jesus Christ." they are using His name wrongly.

     In Bible College a young man enrolled to become a preacher.  He had some unusual behaviors, it was obvious to some of us.  For example he always had to leave nighttime church services, or evening get-togethers early.  Why?  He had to go home and iron his tie for the next day.

     In the college we began the day with about 15 minutes of group prayer down on our knees.  About half way through the school year he and I happened to be close enough I could clearly hear his voice.  I can still hear his voice saying these words at the end of his prayer: "For I ask this to the Old Man in the name of Junior."  Later that day he was expelled even though his tie had been ironed.

     Neil Enloe was a young ministry student who formed the Couriers trio that sang Gospel Music for 57 years.  He was an outstanding singer but may be remembered better for writing heart-penetrating lyrics.  You may know a couple of his songs: Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Lord, Fill My Cup to Overflowing; I will Live for Jesus; Flow through Me; I’d Rather Be an Old Time Christian; Give Me Jesus; Lift Up the Name of Jesus; There Go I, Who Can We Turn To and Ask, Seek and Knock.  And Neil won the 1974 Dove award for The Statue of Liberty.

     But Neil also addressed the sacredness of the name of Jesus in his song, He's More Than Just A Swear Word.

His name is voiced in every conversation 
He's now become a superstar they say
But oh the curse it's bringing to our nation
When men proclaim His holy name in vain 

He's so much more than just a swear word
More than just an I don't care word  
How can we use His name so recklessly  
Our only hope is in this one word  
Whosoever will may come word  
He's more than just a swear word  
He's the precious Son of God 

It's hard to understand how those around us 
Are plunging to a lost eternity  
And all the while they say the name of Jesus
But they curse the only name that sets them free

     For several decades now pundits have called this period in history the post-Christian era.  Ponder what has happened in the last 50 or 60 years.  It used to be that you learned the character of a person by whether or not they kept their word.  We used to say, “My word is my bond.”  It is probably more accurate to say today that for a large percentage of people their word is not their bond.

     In fact, being a counselor, ~ an observer of human behavior ~ I’ve come to believe you probably learn more about a person’s character by what they laugh at.  I recall being in one session where two men were laughing about the bloody scenes in some type of Slasher movie.  It made me sick to my stomach and I interrupted them and said, “I know of a missionary who left his house clinic and went into the bush to minister miles inland.  When he was almost back home he was startled to see heavy smoke and flames in the clearing ahead.  Uncertain what he'd find if he walked out into the clearing he looked through a large bush.  His house and clinic was on fire.  Worse - in the work area his son was tied to a log and a terrorist was running him through the giant saw.  He collapsed and...

     I didn't finish.  They apologized for laughing about such demonic behavior.

     "The Lord left us an awesome challenge: “I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that you will be able to choose what is best.  Then you will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ.  Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God. (Phil 1:9-11, GNT)

     The Lord knows you’re capable of becoming a champion for Jesus.

     Napoleon watched his soldiers in the fierce battle below.  This siege was turning against his men... something he had never experienced before.  It was proving to be a deadly battle and he saw trusted, experienced men fall victim to the enemies' swords.

     Napoleon shouted, "Trumpeter sound the retreat."  He looked back at the furious battle and saw two more of his men fall.

     But he heard no noise.  He turned to the trumpeter and shouted louder, "Sound the retreat."

     Nothing happened.

     Napoleon grabbed his sword and thrust it to the trumpeter's throat.  "Trumpeter I ordered you to sound the retreat."

     Crying, the trumpeter said, "I can't - I knew I'd be blowing my horn for you and I never learned how to sound the retreat."

     Stunned, Napoleon looked back over the battlefield.  Waited a moment and then screamed, "Well then sound the charge, louder than you ever have before."

     It is time God's children sound the charge louder than we ever have before.  Let this article and the following song stir you to a dynamic renewal in your faith and Christian walk for Jesus.

Step Into The Water
Cathedral Quartet

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Soul-Destroying Behaviors

Soul-Destroying Behaviors

     The car spun around and was broadsided by an 18 wheeler.  The impact knocked Kirk from the car and careened his head onto the concrete road.

     Kirk was life-flighted to a trauma center.  It was a full day before I finally got in to Intensive Care to pray with him.  As I stood, all alone, next to this young man that I loved so much, I saw something so horrid as to be almost indescribable.  His head was so badly hurt the side of his skull looked like a thick braided rope and was badly swollen.

     I was not able to pray with him.  So I prayed for him.  But the prayers of a million voices would not save him that night.  He got to meet the Lord of his life before the sun rose again.

     When his parents learned he was gone they grieved that grief that only a parent knows when you have to bury your child... wasted... before his time.  Yet there was such a difference in their grief.  They knew he was a Christian and they said, like King David had when his little boy died, "But why should I fast when he is dead?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”  (2 Samuel 12:23, TLB)

     But there's more to the story.  Much, much more.  But that's all anyone had been told including the police officers who called for the life-flight.  Including his parents.  Including the church members.  But I didn't learn it until the evening before Kirk's memorial service.  His wife asked to meet at a coffee shop.  I supposed she wanted to discuss the service and maybe get some counseling.

     Over the next hour she unloaded... maybe confessed is more accurate.  Kirk had worked a double shift and was hungry, stressed and exhausted.  But for Kathy he needed to do just one more thing before his day was done.  "Couldn't it wait until tomorrow?" he asked.  "Oh please... I'll make it up to you," she begged.  "After all we can get back in an hour or so."

     So they hit the rush-hour freeway and began weaving in and out of lanes.  Kirk sighed a couple of times, but Kathy kept repeating, "Thank you so much.  You know how much I need this."  Kirk had wanted her to quit for so long but had given up trying to reason with her.  She had cleaned up enough that the State finally had promised to give their two daughters back in a week or so.

     When they pulled up to the curb she dashed to the door and gave the coded knock.  The door opened slightly, hands touched hands, a day's wages went poof.  She had her baggie.

     Back up the freeway they went and she just couldn't wait but as she opened the bag she fumbled it and dropped it next to the gas pedal.  She lunged for it and bumped his leg. H e looked down and tried to correct but it was too late.

     And that's when what everyone had been told happened:

     "The car spun around and was broadsided by an 18 wheeler.  The impact knocked Kirk from the car and careened his head onto the concrete road."

     I went through the Memorial Service with an overly burdened soul.  Two days after the service she asked if she could borrow a few bucks.  As I reached for my wallet she stuttered and stammered ... "Would you be able to drive?"

     I couldn't believe my ears.  Her craving had precipitated her husband's death.  And then she wanted me to transport her to her dealer.

     I did not drive her anywhere.  She was a full-blown addict who had never truly quit.  Though she had attended church with Kirk her mind was so fixed on having her baggie she never became a Christian.  Worse than that, she never got her girls back as the State found her high on the scheduled day.  But that was probably for the best as Kirk's awesome Mom became the darling girls' mother.

     Kathy is now in the wind.

     Addicts, whether drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc., often are not successful at giving it up.  Most counselors choose not to try working with them one-to-one but refer addicts to 12-step programs instead.  It is hoped that the addicts that really mean business will bond with a "sponsor" in that group and two are stronger than one.

     Over four decades of counseling individuals with all types of undesirable behaviors I learned that God's Word has the best plan for freeing addicts from their soul-destroying behaviors.  The Creator does not want any person to be sold hook, line and sinker, to any sin.

     If you struggle with any addiction please carefully and prayerfully read these words from the Holy Spirit:

     "Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God!"  (! Corinthians 6:19-20, TPT) 

     "We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously." (1 Corinthians 10:13, TPT)
     CAUTION:  Let's divide up into two camps.  

One Camp is addicts who want to be successful in stopping their addiction and becoming full-fledged Christians who want to bring God glory in their body.  

The second camp is Christians who are not addicted and unsure how to deal with addicts who are professing Christians. 

Camp Addict needs to be truthful and be serious about winning the battle.  

Camp Two needs to guard against blistering abusive lectures that often drives the addict away.

     Think about the Prodigal Son story Jesus told.  Who did wrong in that story?  Certainly the prodigal son.  Did the Father?  No, you say.  He was loving, caring and receptive.  How about the older son?  Was he right or wrong?  Watch out with your answer.  Jesus didn't just accidentally mention an older brother.  He was teaching everyone several lessons.

     Sometimes Christians preach when maybe they should hug.  Sometimes Christians disown when they should reach out.

     When Elsie told me how she was able to break her nicotine addiction I was astounded and found her words almost impossible to believe.  But if you knew Elsie you knew she was as serious as a heart attack.  Elsie said, "I just could not give them up.  I confessed it to my minister, Don Hill."  

     She continued.  Don said, "Elsie, if you are truthful with me I will make you a promise. Whenever you have the urge, day or night, phone me and I will come over and pray with you."

     She concluded, "I had the temptation for quite a while and Don kept his word each and every time.  Finally I was freed and thanked the Lord for His strength and for having Don in my life."  I knew Elsie for many years after that and she never returned to her addiction.

     Camp two Christians, do you love your Christian addict brother/sister enough to make that promise with them?  Hmm! Think about it before you answer.

     CONSIDER:  An improved approach to stopping your addiction and or to helping your addicted brethren.  The chart below is the method the Lord had me show addicts.  It worked in many cases because it is the Holy Spirit's plan ... not mine.

     The Apostle Paul explains this Pendulum:  "Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need." (Ephesians 4:28, NIV)
     Paul gives these 3 steps (pendulum positions) - showing what is wrong, stopping it and making a positive correction: (1) What was the wrong behavior? (Stealing)  (2) Needed action? (Stop Stealing)  (3) How do I make this change a lasting one? (Work and earn enough so you can give to those in need).

     In the chart above you'll see the three stages of several common areas that many people need to change.

     Do you swear?  Stop.  How do you change the behavior?  Praise instead.

     Do you criticize?  Stop.  How do you change the behavior?  Speak encouragement.

     And concerning addicts.  They need to stop the addictive behavior.  But don't quit there.  Get rid of your likely victim mentality and become a supporter of others who are struggling to overcome whatever their addiction is.

     One of the coolest reality check Scriptures is:

     "Don’t be misled; remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows!  If he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death; but if he plants the good things of the Spirit, he will reap the everlasting life that the Holy Spirit gives him.  

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.  That’s why whenever we can we should always be kind to everyone, and especially to our Christian brothers."  (Galatians 6:7-10, TLB)
     And each of us knows that if a farmer plants fifty pounds of corn seed he plans to reap a zillion pounds of corn.  So what we sow we'll reap plus the crop growth.  

     Whatever your challenge.  Whatever your struggle.  Whatever your need.  Keep fighting against sin.  After all, God says He won't allow anyone or anything to condemn you.  Not addiction. Not the Devil.  "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us," (Romans 8:37, NIV)
     The Lord Jesus prays to the Father for you: "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)

     So as you ponder what to do and consider everything and everyone you'll impact remember, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to get what he cannot lose."

And He's Ever Interceding

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God Applause: True Stories Honoring God's Awesome Wonders Observed or Experienced In My Life And Others  From 40 Years of Counseling & Ministry

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Fashion Show and Full of Hypocrites

A Fashion Show and Full of Hypocrites

     Have you ever pondered what kind of person becomes a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ?

     Since Jesus said, "The meek will inherit the earth," maybe it is docile, timid and gentle people.

     Since Luke was a medical doctor and wrote the Gospel and the book of Acts for a person he esteemed... maybe the Lord wants professional people.

     Since Lydia was a traveling business woman maybe the Lord wants wealthy entrepreneur types.

     Since Matthew was a Tax Collector maybe He wants government nobility.

     Since the Ethiopian Eunuch was the Queen's Treasurer maybe He wants political figures.

     Since Thomas was a doubter maybe He wants pessimists.

     Since Peter was impulsive and furiously protective maybe He wants movers and shakers.

     Since the Samaritan woman at the well was a multi-divorced and loose-living woman maybe He wants those with tough relationship problems.

     Since Paul (as Saul) had watched Stephen get stoned to death maybe He wants authoritarian and 100% committed people.

     Now let's put the wondering and questions aside.  Jesus states in what, at first might seem to be surprising terms, what type of people God calls to be His disciples.

     "Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: 'Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.'”  (Matthew 11:25-26, MSG)

     The Apostle Paul further solidifies this fact, "Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31, MSG)

     Ellicott long ago observed, "... though there were, perhaps, a few of high birth and education who were called, and responded to that call, yet these are “not many.”  It has been well remarked, “the ancient Christians were, for the greater part, slaves and persons of humble rank; the whole history of the progress of the Church is in fact a gradual triumph of the unlearned over the learned, of the lowly over the great." ...“Christianity with the irresistible might of its weakness shook the world.”

     As Christians we are to humbly yield to our beloved Savior and always remember when we seem unable to succeed, pushed to the breaking point, hindered by adversity and nearing wit's end ~ that 
     " I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

     My grace is enough; it’s all you need. 
     My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

     Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10

     Let me introduce you to George Austin, who suffered cancer but faithfully served his Savior and his extended family followed in his footsteps.  I never met a man with a bigger ear-to-ear smile and that was with half his jaw removed. George was a most endearing friend and child of God.

     Let me introduce you to Ben Nix, who owned a scavenger-log boat.  Though deeply introverted and incredibly hard working from dawn till dark, took time to study the Bible and yield to the Lord.

     Let me introduce you to Don Rodda who grew up in the Church and then went into the Navy, where he met and taught Ron Berquist the Gospel.  Both ex-Navy men became life-long ministers.

     Don was so true to his Lord that even after having had several strokes and a heart attack, using a walker, limped into old-folks homes strengthening seniors in their faith.

     The Lord wants to live through you and be your strength! 

     Fanny Crosby at six weeks of age caught a cold and an inflammation in her eyes.  A common cure was mustard poultices which may have caused her blindness.  Her father died when she was six months old and thus she was raised by her mother and grandmother.

     How I wish I could have written her biography as she was one of the Lord's most productive people ever.  Just a couple of highlights to give you a taste of her divine calling.  Raised as a strong believer she wrote her first poem at age 8.  She went on to write more than 8,000 hymns... far beyond the amount of any other known person.

     She later stated: "It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it.  I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."

     Fanny died in 1915 at the age of 94.  May her greatest hope have been fulfilled ten seconds later: "When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior."

     The Lord wants to live through you and be your strength!

     Sixty years ago a frail and badly crippled Stevie Sanders sang an unforgettable song whose lyrics I can still hear vibrating within me.  In the first verse his haunting query, "Will I be a crippled boy in heaven?" switches to a crescendo ending, "I won't be a crippled boy in heaven, anymore."

     The Lord wants to live through you and be your strength!

     Quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada perceived: "Our Saviour chose to flash His credentials as Messiah through ministry to disabled people. A disability magnifies God's grace... We in our wheelchairs get to prove how great and how trustworthy God is."

     The Lord wants to live through you and be your strength!

     The Roman Catholic Mother Teresa was born in the largest city of Northern Macedonia in1910.  She died at the age of 87 in 1997.  She is renown for a great number of deeds and self-effacing quotes and was dearly loved and admired across much of the world.

     An old legend always mesmerized me. She was seeking alms to feed the poor.  On a commuter train she approached a group of rough gang members.  She stretched her arm towards the group saying, "Alms. Alms for Jesus."  Bystanders reported the horrible thing that happened then.  The disgusting sound of spit being drawn up in the throat of the gang leader and then spat in her face sickened everyone.

     Mother Teresa calmly wiped the spit off and stretched out her arm toward him again.  She said, "Alms. Alms for Jesus."  He swore at her and said I gave your Jesus what he deserves.  She replied, No, you gave that to me.  What do you have for Jesus?"

     The Lord wants to live through you and be your strength!

     Famed Irish author, educator and free thinker C.S. Lewis (who his friends called Jacksie after his beloved dog who had been killed by a car) claimed to be an atheist until Oxford Christian friend J.R.R. Tolkien challenged him to become a believer in God.

     Lewis came part way in 1926 by admitting there was a God but resisted yielding to the Lord as a Christian.  It took several years before he became convinced that Jesus was the Son of God.  

     "In fact," his biographer described those days as, "Lewis vigorously resisted conversion, noting that he was brought into Christianity like a prodigal, "kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape"

     Lewis said, at first he felt uncomfortable around crowds in church reflecting that he attended church only to receive communion and had been repelled by the hymns and the poor quality of the sermons.  However, as God's Spirit worked in his life he felt honored to attend with common men who came in shabby clothes, and work boots.

     Meet Clyde...
     Clyde was known as the town drunk and a womanizer.  One week he drank most of his paycheck up.  So his wife sought help from Welfare.  While waiting her turn she met a woman who comforted her and also invited her to church.

     Maude decided to attend a service unsure how it would help.  The woman sat with Maude and then kept contact through the next few weeks.  They became close friends and started studying the Bible together.  Maude began to realize how much God had done for her and gave her life to Him.  Two of her sons attended her immersion.

     When Clyde found out he was furious and told her she couldn't go to church anymore.  When she went anyway she paid the price of his abuse.  He told her again to stop, but she  felt the Lord's tug on her soul more than she feared his anger.  She missed the next Sunday service and her friend told me that Clyde had given her a black eye.

     Feeling righteous indignation I went to their home and found him working in the carport.  The Holy Spirit led me to challenge him to become a Christian and treat his wife and family right. He snarled a curse and I chided him, and challenged him to give his life to the Lord.  To be a real man!

     He snarled, "I will never set foot in that church.  It is just a fashion show and full of hypocrites."

     My heart was pumping wildly as I stood face to face and challenged him even more strongly.  "Sir, if you're honest and a real man you come to church tonight and bring a piece of paper and a pen. The first sign you see of a fashion show or a hypocrite write it down and hand it to me when you leave and I'll never darken your door again."

     He came to church with his wife that night. He didn't hand me anything when he left.  After coming to nearly every service for more than 6 months he asked if I'd study the Bible with him.

     After we had studied God's Plan of Salvation he came forward at the invitation.  He confessed that Jesus was God's Son.  That he had done great wrongs to others...most of all to his wife and that he was going to repent and be immersed.

     He became a dynamo for the Lord. Throughout the town it was mentioned over and over about how "he had got religion." In truth he was totally converted and not holding back a smidgen. He became a soul-winning zealot.

     Best of all two of his boys became Christians and one an awesome leader in the church.  Some years later I needed to visit a family that had quit coming to church. I asked him if he'd like to go with me.

     When we knocked on the door the wife opened it and I asked how I might help them to return to the Lord.  She spoke ugly words mocking us for being there and started to close the door in our faces.

     Suddenly there was a noise?  Then I heard it close by.  It was right next to me.  A tender, pleading voice begging her to reconsider. I looked beside me, watching as his mouth softly and warmly spoke and I'll never forget the tears streaming down his face.

     What kind of person does the Lord want to be saved?  Broken ones... who know they were lost... and now have been found, were blind but now can see.  Best of all - now they'll spend their life leading other lost souls to the Lord with tear drenched cheeks.  

    Meet Grandpa and little Jimmy...

     When little Jimmy visited with his grandparents he begged grandpa to teach him how to bottle feed the baby lambs.  Grandpa and Jimmy went into the feeding shed and Grandpa selected some nursing bottles and led Jimmy out to the flock.

     "How will I know what to do?" asked the big-eyed 7 year old.  "Just watch me Grandpa replied."

     Jimmy carefully studied his Grandpa's every move.  But then he said, "I'm confused Grandpa.  You only gave the milk bottle to some of the little lambs and not to others.  How will I know which lambs to feed?"

     Grandpa smiled at his bewildered grandson, winked and said, "Look for the ones with clean knees.  They haven't knelt to be fed yet."

     The Lord wants to nourish us.  When will you get down on  your knees... and pray?

     Our loving Father reaches out to broken vessels who need Him to make it.
     Dear Lord please heal my broken heart.

Heal My Broken Heart
Patty Felker

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God Applause: True Stories Honoring God's Awesome Wonders Observed or Experienced In My Life And Others  From 40 Years of Counseling & Ministry