On Being Loved More Gently (My Disability)

There will be no wheelchairs, canes, or even ‘seeing-eye dogs’ allowed in heaven. Outside the gates, there will be a huge pile of crutches.

Some of us have been struggling with mental or physical illness.  Some people don’t understand and they walk away.  This really hurts, and we can isolate ourselves even more.  We feel not only forsaken but even “cursed” by God. But these things shouldn’t separate us from our Father’s love.  (He loves “his special needs” children even more?)

We believe that our transformation is happening, more and more, into the image of Christ.  We are becoming like him (hence the word, Christlikeness).  This is a long process, but it is happening!  (Philippians 1:6). God has given his word.  Don’t give up. It may take years, or maybe taking just a few moments.

I believe he understands us perfectly.

I’m seeing lately that spiritual growth and getting older often work hand-in-hand (and why shouldn’t they?)  Often as we get older, we’ll start having many different issues.  When you’re 60 years old, you don’t have the same situations that you had when you were 30.  Physically we grow and understand things differently, and this works into us spiritually. 

Becoming older (and hopefully wiser) we will blend discipleship and age together, especially when the Word and Spirit are present.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”  

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Philippians 1:3-6, NLT

It is my wish for you that you could walk in your own shoes, and not somebody else. Also that you would know the grace of God intimately. Being disabled means special efforts will often be necessary, but Jesus’ love for your soul will be molded to fit that disability. There will be no wheelchairs or canes, or even ‘seeing-eye dogs’ allowed in heaven.

I like to imagine that there will be a considerable pile outside the gates. Glory awaits.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Romans 8:18

 

Gold Fears No Fire, [Comfort]

Things fall apart

“He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.”

-2 Cor. 1:4, NCV

“The sinners in Zion are afraid;
    trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
    Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”

Isaiah 33:14, ESV

There has to be some sort of confusion here. Some discrepancy, some incongruity, something overlooked. But things are never what they seem, and that is accentuated when we are in real pain. We think that whatever trouble we get enmeshed in, can’t have any real redeeming value. Or does it?

After a period of time walking with God, whose presence is true fire, we should process this prominent thought. Suffering is part of God’s idea. He has plans that hinge on our pain. It has been deliberately placed into our lives.

A competent pharmacist will be extremely aware of the drug he is filling for a patient. Never too much, nor too little. God is even more meticulous and acutely alert when it comes to suffering and pain. He has an intense love for you through it all. He drops in the proper amount needed for that moment.  It is confined and designed to heal, grow, and strengthen. Never to harm or destroy. He is not punishing you.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

Keller understood. She was both deaf and blind, since infancy. From this dark and complete isolation, she broke through. Helen Keller became a potent and significant woman. She would graduate from college and became a famed public speaker of international renown.

“God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son” (see Romans 8:28-29).

Jerry Bridges

Gold fears no fire.

We must believe pain has purposes. Life teaches us how to love. Some seem to go through life “charmed”, they are really not hurt in any substantial way. If that is the case, reach out and help someone else, for there’s certainly enough pain and evil to go around. (We should find ourselves actively sharing in the trials of others.)

I think that when a believer finally arrives in heaven, they will be ushered in limping, wounded, leaning on an angel for support. They will bring it all to Jesus, their scars remembered, and their sins forgiven. And we will be transformed, fit for heaven.

aabryscript

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The Quiet Power of Jesus

“The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside.”   John 2:9 

Jesus Christ performs the first miracle of his short ministry.  He will perform thousands of them in his brief work on planet Earth.  This miracle was done silently, there was absolutely no fanfare or hoopla. (What a contrast for ministry today!)

Silently, quietly, much like he does today, he touches the hearts of thousands of men and women.  I wouldn’t have done it this way, I would’ve advertised, had the 12 disciples out doing some PR work, maybe some autographs and definitely make it quite the show!

He is not in the storm, or the fire, or an earthquake.  That is not the way he operates (but he can). He comes quietly in a still, small voice to our confused hearts.  Silently help comes to us, and silently the answers to our prayers glide down to us.  Not a shred of ostentation; no gaudy bows or ribbons.  When Jesus is ministering to someone who is in a horrible fix, he does it peaceably–quietly and calmly.  He is infinitely gentle.

It is significant that “the servants who had drawn the water knew”.  Often those who minister for Christ get to see his omnipotence and his power, they know it first-hand.  As a young man, I worked as a full-time evangelist in San Francisco.  I saw God change people! Addicts, gays and transvestites would often come for the Bible studies, and God would work and they were changed.  As you and I mature and step into service, we are privy to the work of Jesus.  We are no longer strangers but friends, and he lets us see his wonders for ourselves.  I have been allowed to see up close his workings in a twisted heart of a lost soul.  The water is turned into wine. I simply stand in awe.

The master of the feast did not know what had happened.  Is this not the same with us quite often?  We cannot explain where the blessings come from.  It happens quickly and quietly.  Look, over there, see the confused woman as she desperately seeks an intervention.  She sobs out in prayer, imploring the Lord for mercy.  Suddenly, through faith something happens, and it is completely supernatural.  And no trumpets sounded, for these are common, regular everyday miracles.

We drink the wine, but we don’t quite grasp the miracle.  But that’s okay.  Our limited understanding handles these quiet miracles and we will step into the light that grace leaves behind.  The water has become wine and we are changed as well, forever, by the quiet power of Jesus.

ybic, Bryan

Evil Gets a Makeover

by Catherine DeMonte LFMT

God delights in changing evil things into good. He has this crazy habit of taking dark things and making them new. Many of us have a checkered past, many hurtful and ugly things have been committed on us, as well as by us. We have been wounded, and we have hurt others.

There are some of us with a mental illness. And some with a chemical dependency. These have been a factor in our sin, but they are not excuses. The Book of Proverbs describes this “playing with fire.”

“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?”

Proverbs 6:27, ESV

The first step we take is to “own up.” But alas, we have hid it for so long, denying and pretending that we have not been harmed, or have harmed others. We are masters of disguise, masquerading as whole people. When I was a boy, I often earned the task of cleaning the barn. You would scrape the manure into the gutter, and then dusted lime over anything left behind. But it was only cosmetic, it was simply covered up.

The deep promise of Jesus is not cosmetic. It is not superficial; it is not just “skin deep.” The profound actuality is that our transformation is inside out. It is a work that starts in our heart, and then works itself out where people can see. We have all tried to clean things up, but what we don’t need is more lime.

The love and forgiveness of our Lord is what we really must have. Our sins are making us very unpleasant people. As we get older we find that our evil has been compounded and extrapolated. The infection only spreads, and it gets worked throughout our lives and relationships. This is ruinous, and David understood.

“Then I confessed my sins to you
and didn’t hide my guilt.
I said, “I will confess my sins to the Lord,”
and you forgave my guilt. “

Psalm 32:5, NCV

We are sinners, and some of us are very talented at it. It is an art form to us. Our entire society, and every social aspect is sick with it. Jesus who knows us completely, and He loves us the most.

“In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace,8 which he has given to us so fully and freely.”

Ephesians 1:7,8

“I sinned against the Lord,
so he was angry with me,
but he will defend my case in court.
He will bring about what is right for me.
Then he will bring me out into the light,
and I will see him set things right.”

Micah 7:9, NCV

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