I’m Disabled—Why Am I Still Alive?

As an online missionary for Global Media Outreach, most of my contacts are from overseas, but not all.  A Christian man wrote from Texas.  He said he was disabled and on disability.  He wondered why he was still alive, and what could possibly be his purpose for living.

I wrote back:  “As long as you have breath, you have life to live and to share.  God can use you, even if you’re disabled.  You can obviously send emails.  Why not send an encouraging email to a friend?  You could send a Bible verse—one that has blessed you.  You could say, ‘I’m thinking about you today and wondering how you’re doing. I was encouraged by this Bible verse and I hope it blesses you.’ You might add, ‘I have time on my hands these days. Please let me know how I can pray for you.’

“Or, if you’re able to get out of the house you could volunteer in some capacity to help others in need. Perhaps you could simply read to them from God’s Word or listen to them and pray for them.”

He emailed a week later.  “Thanks for your ideas. You’re right! I need to get my mind off myself and reach out to others.  I have decided to take a hospice course to become a volunteer hospice worker.

A few weeks later he wrote again:  “I finished the hospice training and I have started working with hospice patients. Thanks for encouraging me.  I LOVE what I’m doing!  I know God is using me.”

  • Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.   1 Peter 4:10  
  • For more information on Global Media Outreach: http://gmo.globalmediaoutreach.com/stories/  
  • and especially:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHjNBWxjLG0
  • SONG: THE PARALYTIC  – Click to listen:
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Worry Is Sin?

Many incarcerated teens are worried.  Jake loves the Lord, but Jake was worried. I told him that worry is sin. Why? Because it shows we are not trusting God. Trusting God is what the Christian life is all about.

I directed him to Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“What that means, Jake, is that God wants us to be THANKFUL, even for our difficulties. When we are thankful it shows we are trusting Him.

“When we are obedient and thank God, then we receive God’s peace that passes understanding. That peace is like a very special gift to us. It is that very peace that will guard (protect) our minds so we don’t become depressed, nervous, worried or fearful. That peace also guards (protects) our hearts so we don’t begin to love that which is not good for us.

“It isn’t easy to give thanks for being locked up. You can be honest with God. Tell Him, ‘I don’t like being here! But I also want to obey You. I want to show You that I WILL trust You. So, I will say Thank You, even for this.’”

Jake did just that. He prayed aloud, “God, thank you for letting me get busted. I don’t like it here, but I want to thank You anyway because I believe You had a good reason, and I’m going to trust You.”

You might say Jake was transformed before my eyes! The peace was real and it was followed by joy—he was actually happy when we said goodnight.

  • Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.     Ephesians 5:19b-20
  • Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.     1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

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Heaven Bound ‘Cuz I’m Baptized

A young mother wrote that she and her newborn daughter had recently been baptized to secure their admission into heaven:

“I was baptized last week with little Suzanne, but now I’m scared. Does this mean I won’t see my grandparents in heaven? I didn’t realize how much getting baptized would affect me till after I did it.  I can’t stop thinking about never seeing my family in heaven because they were another religion and they have a different heaven. Or do they?”

I responded:  “Let me put your mind at rest.  Baptism does not guarantee us a place in heaven. Many people are baptized and do not choose to follow Jesus with their lives. If they are true followers of Jesus, there will be change.

“Just because a person receives Jesus as their Savior and Lord, does not mean He is.  If Jesus is truly your Lord then He is the Lord of your life. The Bible tells us we must repent. That means we must turn away from our sins and the things of this world and follow Jesus.  Again, there must be change.

“Jesus once said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’  Jesus came to earth to provide a way for people to be saved and go to heaven. I believe God will judge people according to the knowledge they had, and what they did with that knowledge.

“What is baptism?  Baptism is an outward expression of a person’s inward faith. Once a person becomes a true believer then he/she is to be baptized to show that she is now a follower of Jesus.  I hope that helps.”

  • Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”     Acts 2:38
  • By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?    Matthew 7:16
  • SONG: Dear Lord of Lords – Click to listen: 

 

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Man on the Street in Greece

I chatted with a man while waiting for my husband to get our rental car in Greece. Nikos told me about his wife and kids, his vineyard, and his olive trees.

I told him I was curious about the beautiful Greek Orthodox Churches we’ve seen. I asked what he could tell me about them.

He said, “I don’t know what truth is, but I don’t believe truth is in the gold, the glitter or the rituals of the Orthodox Church.”

I said, “May I ask you an important question?” He nodded.

“If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”  He didn’t.

I said, “The Bible tells us we are all sinners. Do you believe that?”  He did.

I said, “The one thing not allowed in heaven is sin. If we are sinners we can’t go. We need a Savior—and there’s only One.  Jesus came to live a sinless life so He could then die for our sins and become our Savior. His resurrection three days later proved His deity.”

He said, “I CAN believe that, but I cannot believe in the Greek Orthodox Church.”

I told him that no church can save him.  “Only Jesus Christ can save. If you are willing to turn from your sin, the Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

He looked at me pensively and said, “I have a Bible at home but I’ve never read it.”

I said, “Read it!  A good place to start is the book of John.”

I gave him a Jesus booklet in the Greek language. He thanked me and said he’d share it with his family.

“Thank you, Jesus, for the privilege of meeting this precious and humble man.”

  • But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”   Acts 1:8
  • Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.   Romans 10:13
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Teen With Death Wish Finds Jesus

Jimmy,  a 17 y.o. incarcerated youth, said he was never before interested in God or the Bible.  “Tonight something happened. I was playing basketball and I heard the call for Bible study.  It was strange, but I felt as if something inside was pulling at me. I dropped the basketball and came.”

I said, “It could be that the pulling you felt was God calling you to Himself. I’m sure He’s glad you came.  I am too.”

Tears welled up as he shared that his grandma had recently died.  “She was the only person who ever talked to me about God. She used to watch Christian TV and pray for me. She had something that I need.”

He asked me, “What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?”

“My first thought is often of Jesus and how thankful I am to have Him in my life.”

He said, “My first thought is that I wish I would never wake up.”

That changed a few minutes later when I was privileged to lead Jimmy and his friend to Jesus.  He said he felt a weight had been lifted from him. They were both eager to begin the Bible homework I assigned. We did the first question together.

When I left he asked, “When can you come again?”

  • No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.      John 6:44
  • I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.      Ezekiel 36:26  
  • SONG: ONE BUSINESS IN LIFE – Click to listen:
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Man With Terminal Cancer

We attended a function and were seated with a younger couple.  We visited awhile and learned that Jim had terminal cancer. Neither he nor his girlfriend had any religious affiliation, but Jim was clearly disturbed about his condition. Whenever he spoke of his illness he’d become teary-eyed.

I was scheduled to speak that evening on the love of Christ and the comfort only He can give when we surrender to His control. I invited them to attend.  Jim wanted to come.  His girlfriend was not interested. Unfortunately, they did not show.

The next morning before departing, I prayed asking God to give me one more chance to speak with Jim. We walked outside and there they were with their luggage—waiting for a taxi!

I hurried over, “Jim! I was hoping to see you again. I have something for you!”  I handed him my CD. “There may be times when you feel a little bit depressed.”

He said, “Yes, yes!”

“The words to the songs on this CD will bring you comfort.  I also want you to have this little booklet that will provide you with peace.”  I handed him, Would You Like to Know God Personally? by Bill Bright. I gave him my email address and encouraged him to write if he had questions. I also gave him the website: www.godlife.com and told him this is a place where he could receive a free online mentor to pray for him and answer his questions. He seemed immensely grateful.

I walked away praising God for answering my prayer and putting Jim in my path. “Lord God, speak to Jim’s heart as he listens to the CD.  Give him a desire to email me or contact godlife.com for spiritual guidance. Save him and give him Your peace. I pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.”

  • Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.    Acts 4:12
  • To read the booklet online: http://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/classics/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html 
  • SONG:  I Know Him by Kathleen – Click here to listen:
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Love Advice in a Restaurant

While eating in a restaurant Lauria and Del noticed a young woman sitting alone.  Soon a young man arrived and she hurried to his embrace. They returned to the table holding hands and smiling.

It was hard not to notice their mutual affection as they bubbled with excitement holding hands across the table.

Del and Lauria watched from a distance and before leaving the restaurant stopped at their table.  Del said, “It delights us see your happiness. When love is abundant it shows. My wife and I can testify that married life is very special.”

The young man said, “Thank you for your nice gesture.  It’s sort of a serendipity for you to say that because we’ve been discussing marriage.”

Del smiled, “If you spell serendipity G-O-D it would be accurate.”  They smiled but didn’t acknowledge a faith.

Del and Lauria left the restaurant, drove about six blocks and turned around. Del said,  “I want to let them know that counseling is a good idea at this stage of a relationship.”  He returned to the couple and handed them his contact information, inviting them to contact him if they have further questions or just want to share.

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Charlie’s Ants

Thomas was 15-years-old and incarcerated for the fourth time.  This was his first time in my Bible study and he asked deep and thoughtful questions. When I finished the lesson he said he wanted to turn his life around and follow Jesus. That night he and several others prayed to surrender their lives to Christ.

A week later Thomas came running into class.  He said, “You know last week I prayed with you to receive Jesus, right?  Later you gave me a little booklet called Charlie’s Ants. Remember?  Now I know I prayed with you, but it wasn’t until I was back in my room and read Charlie’s Ants that something happened.

“When I finished it, I fell on my knees next to my bed, with my face to the floor and called out to Jesus. He came into my life right then and changed me. He’s REAL!  This whole week I have felt His presence. I’m not angry anymore. In fact, I’m happy!  I have peace.”

I said, “Thomas, that is the joy of the Lord.  Yes He is real. He is powerful. He is working IN you now, so that He can work THROUGH you to help others.

Another boy spoke up, “What he said is true. Thomas has not been in a fight all week—and he used to get into fights every day!”

  •  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here.
  • You can read Charlie’s Ants too!  http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0039/0039_01.asp
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Choose NOW to Be a Leader

I told our kids when they were youngsters that they could decide now whether they would be leaders or followers as adults. 

If they choose to become followers of Jesus, they would be leaders, because people often watch Christians. But if they choose to go down the wide road of life with the majority of people and live their lives as the world does, they would be bad leaders. People may follow and be led astray.

Some might say “She’s a Christian and watches R-rated movies—it must be okay.  Or, he’s a Christian and moved in with his girlfriend, so it must be okay.”  On the other hand, they may look at your life and say, “He calls himself a Christian? What a hypocrite!”

Then again, if you choose to walk closely to Jesus and obey Him, then you will be good leaders. But you need to know that if you choose to be good and godly leaders, then there will be times when you will be lonely.

Someday you might have to take a stand for what is right, and find yourself standing alone. Your friends might think you are weird. It won’t be easy.

Remember this: Whenever you are standing alone, Jesus is standing with you. He is going through the hard times with you. He is suffering with you and you are never really alone. In the end, you will be very glad you were obedient and trusted God.  God always blesses our obedience.

  •  See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.                  Deuteronomy 11:26-28
  • SONG:  Seven Times a Day – Click Here to Listen: 

     

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OMG? Thou Shalt Not!

A third grader in the kids’ Bible club spilled a cup of her water and exclaimed, “Oh God!”

While helping her clean it up, I said quietly, “Cindy, it’s better if you say ‘Oh No!’ or ‘Oh My!’ or even ‘Oh my goodness!’ instead of ‘Oh God.'”

She looked at me questioningly. “Why?”

“When we say  ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ in the way you just did, it is swearing. It’s being disrespectful to God. He  does not want us to misuse His name, especially when we’re feeling frustrated or angry.”

During our lesson, I decided to work in a discussion on the Third Commandment.  This was new to some! I explained that many people swear in this way out of habit, without thinking.  “But it offends God when we misuse His name. We are also breaking the Third Commandment which says, ‘Thou shalt not misuse the name of the Lord your God.’ It must be very important to God if He put it number three on His list! He even put it before murder, lying and stealing!” I encouraged any of the students who had ever done this to confess it as sin and then thank God for forgiving them.

The next day I received a call from Cindy’s mother. “My Cindy confronted me last night about my language,” she began. “I want to thank you for opening my eyes. I didn’t realize what I’d been saying. I never thought of it as swearing, or as sin until Cindy told me what she’d learned yesterday at club.”  Then laughing she added, “She told me to say ‘Oh No!’ instead of ‘Oh God!'”

A joyful relief welled up in me. I expected there might be negative repercussions. That’s always a risk when we take a stand for God.  Never did I expect such a positive response, and so soon!  I praised God for His faithfulness and for allowing me to be encouraged in this way.

  • You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.   Exodus 20:7
  • [Have you ever been bold enough to speak to someone about their profanity?  What kind of response did you get? To leave a comment click on this story’s title. Then scroll to the bottom of page.]  
  • SONG: INVITE A FRIEND – Click on TITLE of story to listen: 
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