God Uses Paralysis

It was one year ago that a young man whom I’ve known since his childhood was diagnosed with a debilitating disease, causing full-body paralysis.  One day he had trouble walking. The next day he could not move his legs at all!  Next there was paralysis in his arms. His speech and breathing were affected.

He still has a tracheotomy and a ventilator to assist his breathing, also a feeding tube. He’s hospitalized in another city, but yesterday I drove the distance to visit him. Despite the ventilator and the trach, he is now beginning to talk and the paralysis in his extremities is lessening! He is markedly improved!

He was happy to see me.  I remember the talks we had about the Lord when he was a teenager. He was open then, but not enough to make a commitment. Yesterday was different. He had questions and wanted prayer. I told him that a crisis does not leave us where it finds us.  Some people may distance themselves from God and become bitter and full of self-pity. Others choose to draw closer to God and gain strength and peace. Charles was choosing the latter.

He asked me how best to handle his fear and anxiety. I read to him from Philippians 4 and explained the importance of giving thanks even in our difficulties. This shows God that we trust Him. Trusting God is what the Christian life is all about. When we pray with thanksgiving, then God provides us with a supernatural kind of peace that protects our minds and our hearts. It’s important to protect our minds so we don’t become fearful, fretful, nervous and have sleepless nights.  Likewise, God’s special peace also protects our hearts so we don’t begin to love that which is not good for us.

Charles hung on every word. He wanted to have the assurance of salvation and I helped him pray. He said he’s had no local visitors and no clergy has ever visited him. Before I left, I called a friend who lives in the same city.  He offered to visit him and would also arrange with his church to have their visitation pastor see Charles regularly.

One of the last things Charles asked of me before I left, “Kathleen, when I return home may I come to your Bible study?”

  •  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.     Philippians 4:6-7
  •  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.     Luke 15:10
  • [Have you had the privilege of sharing Christ with one so needy? So receptive? I came away with great joy. Did you?  To reply, click on the TITLE of this story, scroll to bottom of page to “Leave a Reply.”]
  • SONG:  Jesus Heals the Paralytic – Click here to listen:

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, ILLNESS or HOSPITAL, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Evangelism is NOT My Gift!

I have many friends who love God. Yet when I speak of evangelism, they will slowly back away saying, “I’m glad you have that gift—it’s certainly not mine!” They seem afraid that I might try to rope them into something frightening.

Most Christians do not believe evangelism is their gift. Certainly there are not many as gifted as Billy Graham. But Jesus commissioned all believers in John 20:21 when He said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:5 to “do the work of an evangelist.” Paul didn’t limit it to those with the gift of evangelism. He just said to do the work of an evangelist.

You might be thinking, “Paul was talking to Timothy, not to me.”
Or, “Timothy was a preacher.  I’m NOT a preacher.”

In 2 Timothy 1:7-8, Paul encouraged Timothy not to be timid, not to be ashamed of Gospel, and in chapter 2:1 to be strong. Would anyone have to urge Billy Graham not to be timid, not to be ashamed of the Gospel, or to be strong?  Not at all!

I believe Timothy was just an ordinary person, like each of us. I believe what is really necessary to do the work of an evangelist, is to simply have a passion for the lost. The love of Christ compels us.   2 Corinthians 5:14.

You might say, “I don’t know enough Scripture to lead someone to Christ.” You don’t?
Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15!   Often when I have been at the jail or on the college campus, I have been challenged with a difficult question.  I realize I need to go home and study!  We’re always improving.

Jesus believed we were all lost, that’s why He came. The Bible tells us we are all lost without Him. If those without Jesus are lost, what does that mean? It means spending eternity apart from God—it means hell. Do you believe the Bible? Are you then not compelled to do all you can to save your loved ones?

“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!” — Charles H. Spurgeon

  • For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.            2 Timothy 1:7-8
  • You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus      2 Timothy 2:1
  • I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.              John 4:35b
Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

College Student with an Attitude

While on the college campus with our Bible table,  a student stopped to look over our books. I asked her if she’d like a free Bible and she gruffly replied, “NO!”

Uh Oh!  The girl has an attitude!  I stepped back.  She continued to hang around, quietly checking out the books.  I have discovered that if I ask permission to ask a question people are more apt to cooperate.  So I said, “May I ask you a personal question?”

“Yes.”

I said, “If you were to die today, do you know where you’d go?”

“It would not be heaven. God wouldn’t want me, not with the life I’ve lived.”

I said, “Oh my!  Did you know there is nothing you have ever done that God does not want to forgive.  He loves you.  That is why Jesus came, to live a sinless life so that He could die on the cross to pay for your sins and mine, so that someday we can both freely enter heaven.”

Her countenance changed as if she suddenly realized there was hope.

I said,  “I have a little booklet I’d like to share with you.  It’s called, Would You Like To Know God Personally?”

She came closer.  I walked through each page with her.  When we came to the little prayer at the end,   I asked her if she’d like to turn away from her sins and give her life to Jesus.

She quietly answered,  “Yes.”

She prayed with us right there in the middle of the quad, then signed up to join our Campus Christian Fellowship and left with a new Bible.   An hour later she returned with two friends!  She said,  “My friends want Bibles—and they also want to join the club!”

  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!   2 Corinthians 5:17

What do you think?  Was she was ready to receive Christ after such a short discussion?  Do you think she went away a changed person?

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com

 

 

Posted in COLLEGE CAMPUS, DOCTRINE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Chicken Evangelist

We recently returned from a trip to Texas.  Loved the church we visited!  The pastor had written a book I couldn’t wait to read:  The Adventures of a Chicken Evangelist, by Steve Nelson. It told of his experiences during 40 days of evangelism.  He asked the question we all have, “Can a chicken overcome his fears?”

The book did not disappoint!  Every chapter brought laughter along with encouragement and hope.   Yes there IS hope for those who are fearful of sharing their faith—as he was. Uh, did I mention he is a pastor?

I’m beginning to believe that pastors are most comfortable sharing their faith with people who come to their church and listen to them teach.  Going out and doing “cold-turkey evangelism” as he calls it,  is difficult for most, even pastors.  Yet Jesus told us to GO into all the world and preach the gospel.  He did not tell us to wait until they come to us.

Steve Nelson was compelled to obey God’s Word and go.  He would bring along one of his eight kids or his wife. They went to parks, malls, the ice cream shop, wherever there were people he could engage.

He went out fearfully, but he went.  Just as with anything, the more he did it, the easier it became.  There were some disappointments, but there were wonderful, unexpected successes as well.  What joy they experienced as a family!

The book was a delightful read.  In my opinion it’s  a must-read for pastors.  It’s also an excellent resource to help equip the church to be obedient,  e.g., an exciting focus for a small group!

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Adventures-Chicken-Evangelist-Evangelism/dp/1482393948
  • He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”       Mark 16:15
  • So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.   Ephesians 4:11-12    
  • What about you?  Are you fearless in sharing your faith cold-turkey?  Or are you like most of us—you’d rather leave it to the pastors and missionaries?     
  • SONG:  ONE BUSINESS IN LIFE – Click here to listen: 

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    [This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com
Posted in DOCTRINE, HERE & THERE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Distraught Young Friend

I received a text from a distraught young friend:   “Kathleen, when you were young, what did you do to help calm yourself when your siblings were being mean to you?”

“Hmm.  That was a long time ago.  Actually, I don’t ever remember trying to calm myself.  I think we would just fight it out!  Why do you ask?”

“I am overwhelmed with homework and my brother keeps arguing with me which makes it all worse!”

I wrote, “I suggest for now, you keep your distance from your brother.  Concentrate on one subject at a time.  Most importantly, try to thank God for your situation with your brother. You may even have to grit your teeth to say ‘Thank You, Lord’ but once you do it, peace will follow.”

“Okay. Thanks!”

Two hours later:   “Kathleen, it worked!  I am happy and peaceful!  Thanks again. I love you!”

Whew!  There is great value in knowing God’s Word!  Her question had brought to my mind 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.”

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com

[To leave a comment, simply click on this story’s TITLE, then scroll to bottom of page.]

 

 

Posted in DOCTRINE, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Covet Casey’s Toys

Our six-year-old grandson told me he was learning the Ten Commandments in Sunday school.

“That’s pretty impressive, Mark!   Tell me what you’ve learned.”

He began reciting them, in order!  Then he stopped.

“Grandma, I have trouble with one of them—Thou shalt not covet.   I covet Casey’s toys.”

“You do? Well Mark, let me tell you that I think that is a common problem.  Tell me something. Do you ever get to play with Casey’s toys?”

“Oh yes! He just lives across the street. I get to play with his toys a lot!”

I said, “You know, the Bible gives us some instructions for this problem. Do you want to know what those instructions are?”

He nodded.

“The Bible tells us we should thank God for everything. I think we should thank God for blessing Casey with great toys. When we thank God, even when we don’t feel like it, He gives us a special kind of peace that guards our minds so we don’t want to covet anymore.”

It made sense to Mark.  So we thanked God.

  • 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
  • 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.     Philippians 4:6-7
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.   Exodus 20:17
  • SONG: STORY OF A DREAM – Click here to listen:
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    [This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com
Posted in PRAYER WORKS, RAISING KIDS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Suicide Watch

I still remember as a volunteer, the first time I was assigned to Suicide Watch at the county jail.  SW is where inmates are held the first 72 hours after their arrest. Many are hung-over from drugs/alcohol and are often angry, frightened or depressed over their situation.

That evening I spent 1.5 hours with two desperate, despondent men. Both wept. Both wanted to tell me their sad stories.  I listened.  When they finished, they became quiet and looked at me expectantly.

I explained that often God allows difficult situations in our lives to cause us to recognize our need for Him.  “It may have taken incarceration to get your attention.  But He loves both of you and He wants to be your Savior.  He wants to help you turn your lives around. You cannot do it alone. You need to turn to Jesus and let Him change you.”

Both men chose to surrender their lives to Jesus that night. Their desperation and their tears ceased. They began smiling. They realized there was hope and their peace was real.

We prayed for their wives and children.  I enrolled them in the chaplain’s Bible study. I encouraged the two of them to become prayer partners while incarcerated, praying daily together for each other. I even showed them how to pray through the Psalms. That is, reading two verses and then praying them back to God in their own words. Then going on to the next two verses. We tried it together and they seemed willing to give it a go.  I suggested churches in their area for when they are released, plus other useful information. They were both convinced that the Lord brought them to jail for this very purpose.

When I stood to leave, one of them said, “Thank you. I will remember you as long as I live.”

I said, “You probably will! After all, this is the most important day of your life—for all eternity.  I still remember the woman who led me to Jesus. I will never forget her.  But you know what?  Other people are going to remember you in the same way—when you tell them about Jesus.”

Posted in DOCTRINE, JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Has Following Jesus Changed You?

“Has following Jesus Christ been life-changing for you?  If so, how?”  This question was directed to a contact from GMO (Global Media Outreach).  Her response:

“I used to stress about my life, money and relationships. I used to feel lonely, blaming myself, easily tempted, angry and judgmental. I was even thinner—very thin with stress. There were things happening to my body that I didn’t understand. My family saw that something was wrong as I lost so much weight but I didn’t tell them anything. Also, I was a person who didn’t share my problems with anyone. At that time I was going to church. I was there physically but not spiritually. My focus was on fleshy things and those evil desires.

“My Lord Jesus Christ has absolutely changed me into a new person. Since I began to follow Jesus, I consult Him on everything and everyday.  I love Him and I trust Him. He delivered me, He saved me, He removed all those burdens from me. I feel relieved. He made me humble, patient and caring. I have love for everyone and I thank our Lord Jesus Christ and our God Jehovah, for delivering and saving me. I don’t deserve it. I disobeyed Him. I am nothing without Him, I welcome God ‘s punishment. Thank you my LORD, Thank you my God with Your Holy Spirit who guides me every day.”

What a wonderful, supernatural change in this young woman’s life! I remember many years ago when Jesus Christ changed my own life in a most dramatic way. Her story is similar to mine.

How about you? Has following Jesus Christ been life-changing for you? If so, how?

  • For more information on Global Media Outreach:   http://www.godlife.com/look-to-jesus  and http://www.greatcommission2020.com/map  
  • The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.   1 John 3:14

SONG:  GOD IS READY – Click here to listen:

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[This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com
Posted in DOCTRINE, GLOBAL MEDIA OUTREACH | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Praying Together, Staying Together

Can praying together hold a marriage together? Perhaps.

It seem that most incarcerated teens are from single-parent homes—but not all.  One night a 17-year-old was grieving over disappointing his parents by getting into trouble.

“They are good parents. They have been married 19 years and this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to them.  Sometimes they argue, but they love God. They pray together every night—I think that’s why they’re still married.”

He’s probably right about that.

  •  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.    Philippians 1:9-11

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This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com
Posted in JAIL & COUNTY JUVENILE FACILITY | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Death in Our Neighborhood

We recently had a sudden death in our neighborhood. The entire block was shocked and saddened by the loss.  I felt compelled to use the situation for the Lord. I purchased a box of Thanksgiving cards and then wrote a letter to enclose:

“Dear _____,  This Thanksgiving season we are recognizing how thankful we are for our neighbors.  We are still reeling from the shock and sadness of  ______’s untimely passing.  He was a good neighbor and a friend to all.  We loved him. Everyone did!  We are grieving along with his dear wife, whom we also love.  It seems to us an appropriate time to think more deeply about a few things:

“There is Someone who loves you…each of you. He cares about all you are going through. He sees your tears.  He wants to comfort you. Nothing is hidden from Him. His Name is Jesus, and all you have to do is call out His Name. You are not alone. He is waiting for you. Trust Him. He won’t let you down.

“We know this life is temporary.  We know this life is short—in fact, it’s getting shorter every day!  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live on.  Where will the real you and the real me live?  Will we live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will we spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Perhaps you’ve already made a decision. If not, you might check out these websites to learn more:

https://www.gotquestions.org/does-Jesus-love-me.html

www.Godlife.com 

“Life is not always easy, but we all have much to be thankful for this year.”

  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world.   John 16:33

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Please pray with me that God would speak to hearts this Thanksgiving and draw many to Himself.

 

 

Posted in PEOPLE | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments