Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Higher ways,Higher thoughts...

I've been listening to Joni Eareckson Tada's book "A place of healing" again which I highly recommend. She speaks of many people who pray for her to be healed and believe she should be healed if she only has enough faith. She tears through these conceptions using God's Word and examples of Jesus healing. For example, Jesus healed many people, but there were many more that he didn't heal. Those he did heal weren't guaranteed lifelong health They died later. What I value most from this reading is her candid revelation of her own suffering and how she deals with it spiritually. There's something about hearing another believer who also physically suffers that has more weight. It reminds me of what Paul shares via the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. One thing she focuses on is God's promises and looking forward to her new body in heaven. She also reminds herself that without all she's been through, she couldn't have ministered to many people globally with practical needs and the Gospel. I know for myself, I felt my purpose was to share how God had revealed himself to me through this accident. I became much more fulfilled when I "delighted in the Lord" (Psalm 37:4) and replaced my will with his. It's hard to do this in the midst of the trial, particularly when you are physically suffering, but when you are given the opportunity to minister to others who are also suffering, you give God the Glory. Such is the case now with Joni and I. we experience much nerve pain from our broken spines and whatever other secondary condition occurs with it. Joni admitted having increased anxiety and fear with her increased pain and now, her new battle with cancer. I pray for her and her husband often and her ministry. It's another thing that becomes more urgent when you understand suffering. The term is compassion: to suffer with. Jesus has much compassion as he came to suffer with us. He also understood that God's will outweighs the need to be pain free (Matthew 26:39,42). Saving people from eternal damnation is more important than saving yourself from affliction. If you or others come to God after experiencing or witnessing suffering, than it is preferred. If I didn't have this accident, chances are, I still wouldn't be following Jesus. I thank God that he was merciful to save me from death and allow me to live for his Glory. I am his "living epistle" (2 Corinthians 3:3) and lead others to his living water.

VOM sent me the testimony of a Christian woman in North Korea and it was very humbling. She suffered much affliction physically and emotionally, more than I think I could endure even. But like myself, this woman is sure of how God has revealed himself to her and her purpose is to share the good news of Jesus who alone gives eternal life. Like Paul, she is firmly convinced of what God has for her through her faith (2 Timothy 1:12).

At first after reading Sister Yang's story, I was just heart broken and thought it was incredibly unfair for God to let this continue. But even Joseph understood that his tribulation through prison and slavery, allowed him to provide for his family in famine and multiply the children of Israel. It is seeking God and his word that gives me comfort through this fallen planet. Please pray for sister Yang and our brethren abroad who suffer greatly for their faith. We have it very good in this country that we can freely worship Jesus. Don't waste time not sharing his love and prayers with people, especially the body of Christ.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In light of eternity

Ever since my accident, I've realized that nothing matters in light of eternity. As a healthy, able bodied adult, I trusted in the prospects of a lifetime of a healthy, abled body. However, I learned that would not be the case for myself and many other people. On that roof, I also understood that no one could help me but God. Although life as a quadriplegic is very challenging, I must say suffering has brought me closer to God and more sympathetic to others who are suffering. It's hard to look forward to eternity when you are living comfortably here. But don't be mistaken--nothing here lasts--not our bodies, wealth, or possessions. We are all accountable to God, whether we like it or not. We will all stand before him alone, witnessing his absolute truth, Glory, Holiness, and Righteous judgement. How do I know this? Folks, we didn't just spontaneously evolve here. A single cell is too complicated to have assembled itself in a primordial goo. The universe was created along with time and space and and it was created by an all-powerful, non-material, intelligent being that transends time and space. That being, God, has revealed himself in the Bble, an incredibly harmonious set of books written over a period of 1500 years, by 40 differnt authors in 3 languages. There is no other book in history that is as well documented with accurate manuscripts.

My problem as of late, has been this constant struggle in this condition. I've been in and out of the hospital and anxiety ridden. Problems with my trach have resurfaced and it's exhausting to maintain. A brother in the Lord is suffering with terminal cancer. A fellow quad has been in the hospital again, on life support. I'm not afraid of dying. I know where I'm going. It's between life and death that is most troubling. I've been there a few times and it is the most mind bending and painfully slow process (sometimes). Jesus willingly went to the cross, but he sweat blood in anxiety over it! This gives me more comfort than people telling me "be anxious for nothing but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving make your requests known to God." (Philipians 4:6) It's eassy to tell someone not to be anxious. What I love about my savior is that he truly understands. He became human to suffer the way we suffer. Not to just sit in the heavens and wag his finger at us. He knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead but he still wept. He could have teleported to Jacob's well but instead he walked 25 miles to meet the samaritan woman.

I find myself thinking like Job sometimes: why couldn't I not have been born or born still? Then I would be asleep in peace." But he chose me, even before the foundation of the world, that I should live for his Glory and s share eternity with him (Ephesians 1:4). Compared with eternity, our lives are truly a vapor here. What has helped me endure is knowing that through my life, God is using me. I'll never know how much this side of eternity, but I want to be faithful with my talents (Matthew 25:14-30).

What are you doing with the talents God gave you for his Glory? How are you spending eternity? Eternity with God comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. Let him be your Lord and Savior, better things awaits!

This is a sermon from Calvary Chapel of Agape in John 12. Pastor Richard speaks of what's really important in life: