Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween or 'All hallows eve' began with the Celtic Druids (priests) centuries ago in the British isles. What we know about them come from written documents from the Romans who eventually conquered them around A.D. 40's.  They practiced divination, witchcraft and animal/human sacrifices during the festival of Samhain, pronounced 'Sowin." It marked the end of summer and was a celebration of the dead. At midnight, druids would go door to door and request food to sacrifice for Samhain. If the family did not have, they would have to give a child to sacrifice. In return, the druids would give them a carved turnip as a sign they had contributed and a guard against evil spirits. This is where we get the activity of 'trick or treat.' 

Years later, the Roman church incorporated the druid festival to celebrate those who died and renamed it 'All Saints day' or 'All Hallows' Eve' which became Halloween for short. There is nothing Biblical about this "holiday" nor it is innocent! Bible believing Christians like the pilgrims, understood the druid celebration was demonic and banned it in the United States. ==film trailer by jeremiah films

People say, "I don't believe in that, I just like it for the dressing up and candy." Why wouldn't you dress up as a Ku Klux Klan member? Because you understand the history behind it. The same repulsion should lead you away from celebrating Halloween once you understand the history! 

There are modern day Druids that still take these ancient rituals very seriously. They are neo-pagans or wiccans. This is not some innocent, 'Earth friendly' set of beliefs. It is demonic and lures people away from the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Free Masons and the illuminati (the enlightened ones) are also known to practice rituals of bonfires, spirit worship and human sacrifice. John Todd is the forerunner to it's exposure and underpinnings in the music industry and politics. 

The symbolism of the occult is blatant all over the media and arts. Aleister Crowley, a known satanist who conducted human sacrifices, is glorified by major artists like the Beatles, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, and Jay-Z. 

Regarding the glorification of ghosts, death, and encountering spirits, God says: 'Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.' Leviticus 19:31. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in  the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.' Deuteronomy 18:10-11

What will you choose? Moses lays it down nicely when he says by the Holy Spirit:
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

To Whom Shall I Go?

I recently had surgery for the first time at St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital in Midtown. I must say, I have not had a surgery go this smoothly since seeing Dr. Mathisen in 2009. I've changed thoracic surgeons a couple of times, starting with Dr. Todd Weiser at Mt. Sinai Hospital. I saw him because he's worked under Mathisen who is the most knowledgable doctor concerning tracheal stenosis in my opinion. I would love to have him as my regular thoracic surgeon but he works out of Mass General! I needed to work with someone in New York, so I figured I'd go with Dr. Weiser. He gave me no hope of being trach free and he said it was a miracle that Dr. Mathisen got the t-tube in. Makes me real confident in him, right? Well, last year when I had my Mitrofanoff procedure, Dr. Weiser had to remove my original t-tube and put in a Shiley for anesthesia purposes. I thought he would put back the original tube, but no! He puts in a much smaller montgomery t-tube and swears it's the same size! I made an office visit with him to ask him what the deal was and what would be the plan to deal with my stenosis. He was very evasive and even got hostile when I queried him further. My father and case manager was even there to witness it. I knew he would not be helpful and decided that would be the last time I see Dr. Weiser. I looked for other Doctors with experience dealing with trachel stenosis but either they only worked with cancer patients, or they didn't accept my insurance. At my wits end, I called up NYP-Weil Cornell and told them my problem. They said Dr. Jeffrey Port was available and I made an appt. My mother went with me and I explained my situation with Dr. Weiser. Dr. Port had a plastic face and an unnatural tan but I needed someone to help me and he seemed confident that he could deal with my stenosis.

That started in 2011. I must have had about six bronchoscopy procedures with Dr. Port and there was always some screw up. His approach in the OR was pretty aggressive. I have never felt such pain in all the tracheal procedures I had! He was obviously phony whenever he spoke with me, and I rarely saw him before or after surgery. He was not proactive in treating inflamation, granulation tissue, etc. I even saw Dr. Mathisen again because I was really concerned. Mathisen temporarily put in a silicone based trach in for my poor trachea to heal. When I got back to New York, I developed a mucous plug that I needed emergency surgery to remove. Back to Dr. Port. He then gave me an ultimatum--to work with just him or not at all. I felt like I had no choice since I had no other Doctor in New York so I continued to see him and pray that God work through him to heal me. After two times of mis-positioning my tube so  I couldn't speak again for months, I set out to find another Doctor. Again, I came across Head and Neck Surgical group out of St. Lukes Roosevelt. They did not take my insurance, but I wrote anyway, telling them my problem with tracheal stenosis. A woman wrote back, I assumed the head secretary, and said Dr. Lebovics would be the best person to see. I did a search with his name AND tracheal stenosis and found a Wegener's Support Forum where several people testified of Dr. Lebovics' proficiency in the area.

I figured an office visit wouldn't hurt. If I got the same impression I had from Dr. Port, forget it. My dad went with me for moral support. Sure enough, the office did not accept my insurance, so I paid out of pocket, praying for the Lord to open doors. I then met the head secretary, Marisol Vargas, who was very pleasant and willing to help me get worker's comp to authorize payments. Dr. Lebovics was scheduled for surgery but he didn't want to turn me away. I filled him in on my history and showed him the latest endoscopy pictures. He was very personable and genuinely kind. If there's one thing I'm good at it's telling if people are for real or not. Long story short, this surgeon was the real deal.

Even though I've been in this kind of surgery many times, it is not easy. I hate the time it takes to travel, check in, etc. Getting an I.V. in me is a real pain. My veins are small and tend to "run away." This time, an anesthesiologist had to place it in a vein on my pinky! I only complied because she used a local anesthetic. But the worst part is not really knowing what kind of condition you will wake up in. What if   the tube doesn't work out? What if I end up worse than before?

You can definitely say I'm an anxious person. I think I've always been that way. But since the accident, it's reached a whole new level for obvious reasons. The last time I was in the hospital for an extended period was during my Mitrofanoff procedure last year. I was in the hospital for nine days and it was not pretty. Besides having an NG tube (reinserted multiple times), and a trach that needed constant suctioning, it was really difficult not being able to move in bed. I could not settle. My body started going through medication withdrawal. I had crazy nerve pain. Well, after two days this round, I was going stir crazy! The hospital beds are very hard to move around in and the rails are not conducive to quads. My meds were given at random times and my body didn't feel right. I started to shake uncontrollably and feel panicked.

It's easy to say, "be anxious for nothing..." but it's not very ministerial. One of the verses my dad and I looked at together was Proverbs 25:20. Vinegar makes nitre (soap) useless. So it is with people who say things like "you shouldn't be anxious," or "you just gotta have faith!" When you are ill, disabled or going through psychological trauma, it's very hard to focus and no one can try to 'reason' you out of what your going through. What helped me is knowing that my feelings may change, but God doesn't. And what I love about scripture is that it's honest about human nature. Even John the Baptizer, a man who was born to usher in the Messiah, had doubts when in prison. "Are you the one to come, or do we wait for another?"What did he go through in that prison? Did he have the feeling he would soon be beheaded? Did he feel a sense of injustice toward God? I'll be sure to ask him in eternity!

There are many times that when discouraged, I could have said screw this God business! But like Peter, I find myself saying: "Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life!" (John 6:68). Many disciples stopped following Jesus because they were offended at what he said, or they didn't agree with the cost of discipleship. Like Peter, I have come to believe and know that Jesus is the unique son of God, the man God has appointed to save us because we can't save ourselves.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beyond the Borders: Getting young people out of Nursing Homes

Vitaglide Ceremony at Beth Abraham. George Gallego is far right
When I was in rehab learning how to live as a quadriplegic, my future didn't seem too bright. All I saw was a world of needing help with everything and losing a sense of my personhood. I could barely sit up, brush my teeth or feed myself. Would people just see my disability and not take me seriously? Enter in my mentor George Gallego among others who gave me hope that I could still live life and not just survive my paralysis. George is a paraplegic so he has quite a bit more physical capability than I do, but seeing how naturally he rolled into a room and carried himself made me see that my life wasn't over! Plus, brother had style and that made me want to get out of hospital attire and start dressing like myself again. I remember watching George, Jim Cesario and quad comrades like Alex Elegudin's every move and asking them tons of questions. "How do you pick up stuff from the floor?" "Do you use aids to type?" I still use their techniques and advise today. 

George began sharing more with me and told me his idea of developing an organization to get young people like me out of nursing homes and back into the community. I was very disappointed with the way social services at the hospital was advertising Beth Abraham, because it was very deceptive and less than honest. Social services in Beth Abraham are even more disappointing as they only focus on admitting/discharging but not on improving your life while here! There is nothing productive for young people here. They have great potential in this facility but fall short for a number of reasons. It's best to keep people here where medicaid/medicare will continue to foot the bill. Forget about empowering anyone to thrive beyond this place. 

I supported George and his idea and even took a grant writing class to further support his endeavors. I helped get a vitaglide for Beth Abraham and felt very motivated to learn what I could about how non-profits operate. I got a better sense of how Beth Abraham works as a non-profit organization and looked forward to seeing George's new organization develop. 

Unfortunately, I began to suffer from many UTIs and was in a tremendous amount of pain. I lost a lot of weight and was in the hospital frequently. The best solution for me was to have a mitrofanoff procedure which was a process in itself! It was a long, difficult surgery that took months to recover from. Everything that that I was pursuing came to a halt and a some points, I wasn't even sure if I would live. 

Since then, I'm doing better physically, but still struggling with trach issues. I've been pretty home bound and focused on eternal things. I take one day at a time. It's even been difficult seeing myself out of here because I keep having surgeries. But advocating for my fellow nursing home residents has stayed on my mind. Not only for the young, but for the old. They've had careers, raised families and served our country. They deserve compassionate care that recognizes them as people, not just lumps of meat on the bed. But there's something about being young and in nursing homes. It's very depressing because you see your life as not really going anywhere even though you have many more decades to live. George is dedicated to changing this and I believe it will change more than he knows. When people recognize how many people with disabilities are in the community, it will spur policy change and better urban design. Already, concepts like "aging in place" are catching fire in the real estate realm as baby boomers age and need accessible homes. People are starting to realize that they need to prepare for things like a knee replacement, difficulty reaching, caring for elderly parents. 

George Gallego and his wife Julia
Not everyone has the means to purchase and modify a place and accessible apartments/homes are hard to come by, especially in the city! Some young people with disabilities are incredibly motivated to play sports, finish school, or hone in on a skill for a career. Living in a nursing home limits these opportunities and can make one feel trapped. Many with disabilities have their whole lives ahead of them and have something to contribute to the community.  George is competing in the NYC Ironman Triathlon in August. This is a hardcore event and he will be the only paraplegic competing! He is raising funds for his organization, Wheels of Progress, Inc. Won't you join me in this cause and give a contribution? You can donate here

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Reality of living in a Nursing Home

I've been living in a nursing home for the past four years after leaving SCI rehab. The first difference I noticed was in the rehabilitation program. It was not as thorough as Mount Sinai in developing ADL (activities of daily living) skills, transferring and bed mobility. This would be particularly true for quadriplegics and our therapy time was short lived. I was told that I would get range of motion but that never happened. The second thing I noticed was the quality of nursing care. Although there were many people with spinal cord injury at this facility, the nursing staff was completely unaware of things like autonomic dysreflexia and how to properly carry out bowel care. From then on, I had to aggressively monitor and direct my care, making sure I had the right meds and kept a bowel routine. I also had to contend with the lack of consideration and dignity from people who seemed to have no cultural sensitivity training. Everything from their noise level in the morning to the way they handle resident's bodies.

I think it was in 2010 when the director, Margaret Rivers, stepped down and Beth Abraham had a number of changes in their administration. After a while I noticed the staff complaining of staff shortage, particularly CNAs in the 3-11pm shift. It went from 5 to 4 to sometimes 3 for 40 residents on the floor. There's only 1 nurse on the floor to do medications, finger sticks, tube feeds, cathing, suctioning, wound care, etc. It's a lot of work! Most recently, they've been having the evening nurse not only do the floor by herself, but go to other floors to do treatments! That means, if someone needs a nurse while she's out, they're out of luck! I've seen low morale on the rise amongst the staff, the nurses more curt, rushed, forgetting treatments.

I've addressed this issue of staff shortage for about a year now. I've addressed it to Medicare/NYSDOH. Residents have brought it up during town hall meetings. I know staff has complained to the administration about it. All has seemed to fall on deaf ears. Last night was at it's worst. I rang the bell to get cathed and waited half an hour before a CNA burst in with my dinner tray (not to answer the bell). I told her I needed to be cathed and waited another half hour before ringing again, feeling my bladder full and blood pressure high. Luckily, my mother came in and helped me cath. The bell remained ringing but no one answered for an hour and a half. Then a supervisor came in and I addressed the situation. She gave me my meds at 8pm. My mother helped me cath at 6pm so I was due to cath again at 10pm. No nurse. My mother helped cath me again before leaving. If she did not come in, who would help me cath? Surely the nurse was not there to help. My father is more proactive in these matters and spoke to the nurse. Apparently, she just came to relieve the original nurse but did not want to disclose who it was. We wrote a formal complaint with security and apparently, the nurse on the floor was the supervisor! No wonder nothing was getting done! Bells weren't getting answered, treatments fell by the wayside. Usually, this supervisor is around on the day shift to yell at people in a most unprofessional manner. I'm glad she got a taste of how hard it is to work as the only nurse on the floor.

 They're really trying hard to keep it together and resell this nursing home as Center Light Healthsystem,  but I don't know how long they can continue like this. There is a real problem with employee dissatisfaction that will erode the productivity and quality of this organization. I know part of the problem is Medicare reimbursement rates not increasing and I don't see that happening anytime soon considering our failing economy. It sucks because this can be a great facility. For $15,000/month, it is not worth it. The best component of Beth Abraham is their Therapeutic Recreation team. Although they lack engaging programs for the younger population, they are open to new ideas and are a super friendly bunch. The volunteer department is also very fruitful as young people learn how to serve their community and help minister to practical needs.

It is by far cheaper and healthier (in my opinion) to live in the community as long as you can. I know I'm looking forward to jumping this ship! I'm so thankful my father lives close and has been a strong advocate for my resident rights. Being paralyzed and voiceless, it's like you lose a part of your personhood! People can ignore your bell, but if you call the office phone, there's more urgency to answer because the person on the end is usually able bodied. If my father physically goes  to the nursing office, then they will respond to my complaint. If you don't have family to regularly visit and advocate for you, forget it, you will be left to the wayside. I know it will be a huge transition living outside of this system, but hopefully I will be able to participate in the community more and be stuck dealing with this condition less.

Folks, it is so important to plan for your parents or yourself if any serious condition occurs. If you can, live in an accessible place. Write a living will and choose a healthcare proxy. Most of all, think about where you will spend eternity after you're gone. There's to much fine detail in this universe to conclude we are here by accident. "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7

Monday, June 18, 2012

Count it all Joy...

God in his sovereignty has allowed me to endure another trial regarding my tracheal stenosis. The last couple of surgeries with a particular surgeon has proven counterproductive and now I have recurring granulation tissue growth around the tube. I don't know what this ultimately means, but I must continue to press toward the mark for the prize...I will not lie and pretend I'm brave at all through this. I know what heaven has in store for me but I'm not comfortable with death. Dying in most circumstances is a laborious process. I pray that the Lord gives me grace to go through whatever I have to and glorify his name in the process. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dialogue with an atheist

Abu Hamid Al Ghazali developed an argument in the 9th century against traditional Greek philosophy that the universe is necessary (eternal). The kalam cosmological  argument began with the efforts of ancient Christian philosophers like John Philoponus of Alexandria to refute Aristotle's doctrine of the necessity of the universe. His argument is: 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2. the universe began to exist 3. the universe has a cause.

VigorousAtheist: You're #1 on that list has no basis in reality. There is no scientific explanation to how something "has a cause". Also, just because something has a cause, doesn't give you the right to plug in a "god" into the equation.
It's called the god of the gaps. It's where people like you find little unexplained mysteries in the universe and say "oh that HAS to be god".

Also, can you explain to me how god was created?

you have objections to premise 1. (Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause.) So in your experience, anything can exist without a cause? Can you name them? Despite common knowledge and scientific evidence that everything has a cause, you choose to believe that premise 1 has "no basis in reality"? 

so you assume that atheism is true in that if atheism is true, then the universe has no explanation. The logical equivalent to that statement is if the universe has an explanation, then there is a God. 

There are abstract objects and concrete objects. Abstract objects have no effect on other objects such as mathematical entities like numbers and number sets. Concrete objects can cause effects in the world. 

The universe consists of all matter, energy, and time space reality. This is fact. It follows that if the universe has an explanation, then that cause must be an immaterial being outside of time/space reality.  There are 2 entities that fit that bill: an abstract object like a number. But numbers do not cause anything. The only explanation is an eternal transcendent mind which is what God is. 

Premise 1. says whatever begins to exist has a cause. God is eternal, outside of time and space, therefore has no cause.

Again, The big bang theory shows that the universe is expanding, therefore the universe had a beginning. And if the universe has a beginning, then the cause is God. 

It's not logical to state that the universe came from nothing. Why would nothingness be so discriminatory? Why doesn't anything else come from nothing? In the video, it is explaining that even if you had all the necessary environmental factors for a living cell, a living cell would not assemble. That's a compelling argument for an intelligent designer--God. 

When you come to this realization, we can go over how God has revealed himself in the Bible. God Bless!

‪Any supposed source of the universe would, by definition, be outside of space/time. This means that such a source, whatever it might be, is not a proper referent for the term "cause", since something must come *before* something else to be a cause of that something else. Put simply, causality is a time bound concept, so it cannot be applied outside of the universe. Thus, any question about the origin of the universe is not askable (the technical term is "nonsense'), much less answerable. Thus, you have not even asked a question, and in no way have you supported the idea of a deity.‬

Not having a cause does not require that something will remain random and acausal. It just describes that it starts that way, or rather that it's start is that way. You have no proof whatsoever that a GOD did this. You're only plugging a god into the equation.‬

You still have refused to answer the big question. If nothing can have a cause, or nothing can come from nothing, then WHERE DID GOD COME FROM.‬

‪"god is eternal, outside of time and space, therefor has no cause"‬

‪Wow. what a completely cowardly way out of the argument. If you can use this excuse for god, you can use the same excuse for the mysteries of the universe.‬

‪"if the universe has a beginning, then the cause is God"‬

‪Sorry but the OVERWHELMING majority of scientists believe this to be total nonsense. But i guess they're ALL wrong right?‬

‪"It's not logical to state that the universe came from nothing."‬

‪You really need to brush up on your scientific history. Not one modern scientist(who has any credibility) says that the universe came from nothing.‬
‪Bone up on your quantum physics, 'nothingness' does not exist in this universe, even space has a fabric. There's a good possibility that it cannot exist outside our universe. You are creating a god because of your anthropomorphic sense of incredulity. The universe and all the evidence it provides demonstrates that nature is perfectly capable of being self creating. snowflakes do not need a creator because they are the product of natural laws, so too is the universe.‬

‪And do you HONESTLY believe in the bible? You do know that the bible is FULL of fallacies right? Do i even have to list them right here?‬
‪You do know that the universe is BILLIONS of years old, which makes the story in the bible about creation impossible.‬
‪When are you going to open your eyes and realize that you were BRAINWASHED into believing a fairytale?‬

‪And what makes YOUR fairytale more likely or true than the THOUSANDS of others???‬

Cause: 1. Noun A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition. God fits this description.

What i stated made sense. Stick  to the premises. You cannot refute any of them. 

Premise 1: Whatever begins to exist, has a cause. We understand this to be true in every day life. Your lunch comes from some plant/animal, Cars are made from specific components, etc. 

there are objects that exist necessarily, or have an uncaused existence, most notably, numbers. They're uncaused existence is part of their nature. We understand this to be true of God as well. He is eternal, always existed. However, numbers, ideas and other abstract objects cannot cause anything because that's what makes them abstract. So the most plausible explanation for the beginning of the universe is God. 

Premise 2: The universe began to exist. We understand this to be true from the big bang theory and evidence that the universe is expanding. This  is a scientific, observed fact. 

If the universe began to exist (which is true), then,
Premise 3: The universe has a cause. Since the universe consists of all matter, energy, time and space, then the cause must be a necessary (eternal) immaterial being outside of time and space. We understand  this to be God, who is necessary and uncaused. 

Wow. you must have completely not read my message.
I clearly proved to you that "cause" does not refer to the universe. And even if it did, you can't plug your god into the equation with no proof whatsoever.

"Whatever begins to exist, has a cause"

Yes, in our UNIVERSE. So whatever happened before the universe does not equate to what you are talking about.

I advise you to read this very carefully-

"An objection against the theist implication of the proposition is that even if one accepts the argument as a proof of a First Cause, it does not identify that First Cause with God. The argument does not go on to ascribe to the First Cause some of the basic attributes commonly associated with, for instance, a theistic God, such as immanence or omnibenevolence. Rather, it simply argues that a First Cause (e.g. the Big Bang, God, or an unarticulated First Cause) must exist.[16] It might be argued, however, that the Big Bang is not an acceptable first cause as the event clearly began and is quite finite. Hence the first premise in both formulations above seems to exclude this conclusion as a possibility. Furthermore, even if one chooses to accept God as the First Cause, there is an argument that God's continued interaction with the Universe is not required. This is the foundation for beliefs such as deism that accept that a god created the Universe, but then ceased to have any further interaction with it."

"We understand this to be true of God as well. He is eternal, always existed."

Yeah cause you read it in a book. Sorry but biblical "science" doesn't even hold a candle to real world science, which coincidentally disproves it.

And again, you're misconstruing what "exist" means. At least you got off of the bandwagon of "the universe came from nothing".

Listen to what you're saying. Your trying to find mysteries in the universe(to only fail) and then stepping back and saying that god himself doesn't need an explanation. It's an extremely childish argument.
You have refused to address my other points like the fact that the bible is FULL of fallacies, lies, murder, rape, etc etc. Or the fact that 93% of scientists don't believe in god. Or the fact that atheists have a higher average IQ than religious fanatics. Doesn't that last one tell you something? Doesn't that show how brainwashed you truly are?

So you're saying that only things within the universe can be caused. This is a logical fallacy in which you use certain laws of metaphysics for the universe but then change views to object to any causality of the universe. Premise 1 is not only a law of nature like gravity that only applies to the universe, but it is a metaphysical law that applies to all being, all reality. 

You use this same logical fallacy in your objection to the Bible. You say that the Bible cannot be true because it speaks of violence, rape and murder, yet you object to any evidence I bring up from the Bible. You are not being logically consistent.

I brought up the fact that the universe cannot come from nothing because that is effectively what you're saying if the universe has no causality which is absurd. 

You cannot get away from these premises. The more you try, it shows that you are simply deluding yourself from the truth. Albert Camus, Bertrand Russell, Nietzsche,  and Sartre have also stated life is absurd if there is no God. Sartre has no basis making marxism his purpose in life because it's not consistent with the idea that there is no purpose without God. It's self delusional. 

There will always be atheists and I cannot convince anyone to come to any spiritual understanding. Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit puts it well when he says, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned." It doesn't matter how much evidence one can present, personal knowledge of God is God given. I still pray Anthony Flew, who now recognizes there is a God, to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I will pray for you too.

Take care. 

When I find that a person is running from a straight forward argument it's obvious they are not interested in genuine dialogue. They are arguing for the sake of arguing and it's at this point I can shake the dust off and move on. One day, we will all stand before our creator and take an account for our response to how God has revealed himself. Many will have no excuse for rejecting Jesus.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A call to Pray

A couple of weeks ago, I took a few days off the internet to seek the Lord. I felt led to read the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah is an old testament prophet that warns Israel and Judah of God's impending judgement  for their disobedience to Him. All throughout my reading, I kept  thinking, "he's speaking of us. God is going to seriously judge the U.S.!"

It is no secret that this country has seen a decline, from academic achievement to economic prosperity. The most drastic change has been decline of morals. Assault of the elderly has become common. Mass shootings are more prevalent in this decade. Sex outside of marriage is at an all time high. What's worse is that the music and film industry encourages much of this behavior. Abortion makes it easy to avoid the consequences of sex. States are changing the institution of marriage to include same-sex couples. This was once a huge issue for me as a lesbian. But I found the absolute truth in Jesus Christ and had to acknowledge that there were things in my life that didn't please God.

Our fleshly desires are often a reflection of our sin nature. Sex can be a wonderful expression of love and help strengthen commitment and encourage procreation. Since the fall of man, our sexuality has gone awry to pleasure ourselves. Our lust for food has us obese with cardiac trouble. Seeking after physical and psychological anesthetizing has left us plagued with drug and alcohol addiction. We constantly seek to indulge our flesh in some way and really, it's a sign that we are unfulfilled.

Jesus speaks much about this when he says, "if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" "Don't worry about what you will wear or what you will eat. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you." "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..." "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

I'm not saying that we shouldn't enjoy things like food or fashion, but we need to check ourselves in our motives and goals. The void in our soul that we seek to fill with various things is a missing relationship with God. God wanted to reconcile us to himself so much, He had his son Jesus enter into this world to suffer the penalty for our sins. He has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ and has given us historically reliable, consistent testimony of His character in the Bible.

Never before has the truth of the Bible been so evident than with our current events! Nations rising against Israel, unprecedented natural disasters, and unlikely alliances forming just as the Bible predicted. I recently listened to a messianic rabbi named Jonathan Cahn foretell fulfilled prophecy in Isaiah 9:10 regarding 9/11. He says God has allowed this attack to show he has removed his divine protection from America. Now I have my reservations that this country was indeed founded as a Christian nation, but I do agree that God was in the midst here as pilgrim Christians came, fleeing religious persecution from Europe. Many settlers here did put their trust in the Lord and center their lives around His Word. Unfortunately, many now are denying God and living carnally, even much of the Church! Just as Israel faced God's judgment for her idolatry, so America is facing the same same fate. I don't think it was any coincidence that I thought what I did reading Jeremiah, as I hear many Christians saying similar things. My pastor was led to give many of us "Invasion of Wales by the Spirit" by James Stewart. It's a short account of the revival in Wales in 1904-1905. Through many years of prayer, the Holy Spirit came down mightily to save the lost and move people towards confession and intercession. 

Brethren: we need to seek the Lord and pray for revival in this country. We can do nothing without the Holy Spirit. Read Psalm 80, Isaiah 63:15-64:12, Daniel 9:2-21, Nehemiah 1 for biblical accounts of these supplications. Be the woman clamoring for justice to the judge and continuously pray! Be thankful for God's mercy in all His provisions and intercede for lost souls! Pray for the leadership in this country, mourn and confess your sins to the Lord! Don't worry if you feel you don't pray eloquently enough. Don't worry if you spend time in silence. Just pour your heart out to Him who has redeemed you. Remember the time when your eyes opened, when you realized that you needed saving and you felt the love of God shed abroad in your heart. Pray earnestly for that love again, for it to be manifest in your life and for others to receive it. Pray for for our Brethren abroad and remember those in bonds. May our Lord Jesus snatch his bride soon!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Revisiting the issue of homosexuality in scripture

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2

Unfortunately, there are Christians today who walk in craftiness and handle the word of God deceitfully. They distort scripture to say things people want to hear. A big example is Joel Osteen. He only speaks of how God will bless you so that you can "live your best life now." While God certainly wants to bless us, he also said that we will be persecuted and hated for following him. This is certainly true up to today. At least Osteen holds to biblical truth that homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes. This is a hot topic these days and some Christian scholars are jumping on the bandwagon to say "scripture isn't clear on it, so who are we to judge?" One of these is Dr. Rick Lowery who recently wrote an article in the Huffington post. There are red flags in the first sentence, but I want to concentrate on what he says regarding scripture: 
"I assume that most of us -- whatever we think about same-sex sex -- wouldn't favor executing sexually active gay men. But on what basis would we make the decision that Leviticus is right about sex but wrong about execution? How do we decide what to keep and what to ignore when we use Scripture to make moral judgments? Why would we say that it's an "abomination" for a man to lie with a man, but it's OK to wear a wool-blend suit, have a tattoo, eat hybrid fruit or have marital relations when the wife is in the "unwell" part of her monthly cycle -- that is, the days of her menstrual flow plus seven days of purification after that? "
What gospel is this pastor following? We make these decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and his covenant of Grace. Jesus speaks on this concerning the laws in the old testament, that it's not about what you wear or eat that is important, but the matter of the heart (Matthew 15:11; Matthew 15:17-20). We know that humans are sinful by our fallen nature and nothing can cure it (Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10) This is why we need to be spiritually born again through faith in Jesus (John 3). Even David understood that God didn't care for sacrificing animals, but that it pointed to the importance of true repentance and obedience to the Lord (Psalm 32:1-5; Psalm 51). He recognized that we are born into our sinful nature and that God desires truth in our inward parts (our heart, Romans 2:29). The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the Lord would clean the hearts of His people through a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-33). Jesus told the Samaritan woman that God seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). As for marriage, Jesus confirms what God sanctioned in the Garden, which is that marriage is for one man and one woman (Matthew 19:3-8). Concerning the adulterous woman, Jesus tells her to "go and sin no more." He recognized that her action was sin. There is so much that Jesus clarifies in terms of the purpose of the law that I'm surprised that this "bible scholar" can't see that. Rather, he chooses not to see it and twists the word to mean what he wants. The apostle Paul warns of this in his letter to Timothy when he says, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, [because] they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn [their] ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." (2 Tim 4:3-4). This is why we have so called Christians like Rob Bell, and Episcopalians who have accepted homosexuality. Mr. Lowery calls his judgement biblical when in fact, it is not. 

"we should read every Scripture through the lens of a biblical story that reveals a God who creates human beings in the very image of God so they can share power in the world (Genesis 1:26-27), who says "it's not good that the human be alone" (Genesis 2:18)
Mr. Lowery judges humans pre-fall (Genesis 1:26-27) and assumes that God ordained that humans can be with whomever they want as to "not be alone." God clearly laid out what He intended for us humans. He made man and woman in his image,  woman was made to be a helpmate/companion to Adam. God sanctioned marriage when He said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) He did not say, "man shall cleave unto his wives or man shall cleave to man." The purpose for the creation of man, was to have communion with God. There was an order in relationship and that was God is the head of man and man of his wife. When the Messiah Jesus came, he fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17). It is impossible for us to fulfill God's standard of holiness. The law was a tutor that pointed to Christ (Galatians 3:24; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 10:1).

My fellow Christians, be not deceived. When the disciples asked Jesus the signs of the coming kingdom that was the first thing he said. He told them that false prophets would arise and we have a lot of those. From the Gnostics and Judaizers in the early church to the seventh day adventists, Catholics, Unitarians, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Islam, the list is quite long. Be a Berean and study the scriptures (Acts 17:11), rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You will know them by their fruits: Islam and terrorism

I was in college during the WTC bombings but never thought to link Terrorism and Islam. For one thing, I knew nothing about Islam and second, I firmly believed that a religious group shouldn't be ostracized for the bad actions of a few. I also remember getting upset when someone showed me a book by Bridget Gabriel, speaking on the ills of Islam from her conquered country of Lebanon. I refused to listen to anyone criticize any group of persons. To me, this was discriminatory and led to widespread ills such as anti-semitism.

In 2009, I read the book "Son of Hamas" by Mossab Hassan Yusef and it was eye opening on the history of Hamas and the Palestinian intifadas of the 80's and 90's. It was my first time reading from someone Arab and Muslim and I realized there was more I and many Americans needed to understand about how Muslims feel about this country. Furthermore, I realized that their feelings were not only political, but stemmed from their religious beliefs.

Over the past 10 years, this country has seen a sharp increase of Islamic terror plots. Not just from Muslims of other countries, but from American Muslims. I've seen movements against the American government, but never such a consistent, vehement opposition to this country that it mandated violence. I felt it was necessary to look at Islamic texts for their claims to God and why the prevalence of terrorism.

Muslim persecution of Christians have also led me to question why there is no international response. Haven't we learned anything from history? The holocaust in Rwanda? Europe? How long will we turn our head for the sake of political correctness? Muslims say that there is a "Palestinian holocaust" but their sole existence in that region is to expell the Jews. The rebirth of Israel as a nation did not spark animosity amongst Muslims--it is rooted in their Qur'an and the example of their self proclaimed prophet. Here is a detailed article addressing Islamic doctrine regarding Jews.

What the Quran says about non-muslims
Qur'an 9:29: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Qur’an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them.
Qur’an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain.
Qur’an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.
Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.

The Hadith
The Hadith is a collection of sayings of the prophet Muhammad heard by his closest companions and his wives. It gives clarity to many Quranic verses as well as a historical account to what the prophet did. Here's what the hadith says about Muslims and their relationship to non-Muslims:

Sahih Bukhari, Volume1, Book 2, Number 25 Narrated Ibn 'Umar:Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform all that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."
Sahih Muslim. Book 031, Number 5917 ...Ali went a bit and then halted and did not look about and then said in a loud voice: Allah's Messenger, on what issue should I fight with the people? Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and when they do that then their blood and their riches are inviolable from your hands but what is justified by law and their reckoning is with Allah.
Sahih al-Bukhari 2785—Narrated Abu Hurairah: A man came to Allah’s Messenger and said, “Guide me to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” He replied, “I do not find such a deed.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 2796—Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it.”

The proof is in the Pudding
Now I understand that all sorts of people do heinous acts. In fact, we all have thought evil towards others. But when there is a disproportionate number of particular acts by a particular group of people, we need to figure out what is that correlation (a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things). Here are some examples of Islamic terrorism we've seen:

And this is just a small sample...

Is Islam a religion of peace? To arrive at a most objective, definitive answer, simply look at Islamic countries. Is there peace? No. Is there freedom of religion? No. Even countries claiming to be "secular," like Turkey, persecute Christians because it's a Muslim majority nation. Saudi Arabia doesn't permit the building of churches but they fund the building of mosques in this country! People in Islamic countries want to come here to the west where there is more freedom and economic opportunity. Then, they demand Shariah (Islamic) law to incorporate their religion into public policy, even though it runs contrary to much of our laws. Then they demand that non-Muslims comply with their Islamic laws wether we like it or not. As the muslim population increases, the Muslim community becomes more bold in it's demands and even violent. We are already terrorized into complacency and numbed by the desire to be "diverse". Amazingly, we have been kept in the dark about what Islam is and how it effects it's adherents. This is not an irrational fear, we can see how this has played out in places like Britain and Beligum, Denmark and other parts of Europe. Slowly, there are those in the live-and-let-live camp that are seeing this, and I hope you see it too.

what about the peaceful verses Muslims give me? Like 2:256 (no compulsion in religion or surah 109:6)?

It was important for me to understand the historical context of these writings so I looked at the biography of Islam's prophet and how he was given these revelations.

Muhammed was born 570 AD in Medina. At a young age, his mother died and was then raised by his uncle Abu Talib. He lived as a merchant and shepherd and married his first wife Khadijah in 595. At the age of 40, he retreated to a cave to meditate where he claims the angel Gabriel forced him to recite the words of Allah. These revelations, occuring over a period of 23 years, became known as the Qu'ran, meaning "recitation."

Since Muhammad was just starting his brand of monotheism, he needed the approval of surrounding people. The initial "revelations" were tolerant to the Jewish and Christian sects in the area. Once Muhammad gained enough followers to wield power, he received revelations that gave a very different message. For his followers to accept the conflicting revelations, the doctrine of abrogation was introduced:

Qur’an 2:106—Whatever verse we shall abrogate, or cause [thee] to forget, we will bring a better than it, or one like unto it. Dost thou not know that God is almighty?

Qur’an 16:101—When We substitute one revelation for another—and God knows best what He reveals (in stages)—they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.

According to Muhammad's Qur'an, the latest revelations, cancel out the previous ones. Muslims in the West will point out previous peaceful verses of the Quran to gain our sympathies. But clearly, Muslims act according to the later verses.

Another tactic that is important to understand in Islam, is Taqiya. Muhammad's followers were allowed to deny their faith or lie about their intentions when in a disadvantaged position:
Qur'an 3:28 Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.

Muhammad's companions also expound on this doctrine:

Tafsir Jalalalyn: Let not the believers take the disbelievers as patrons, rather than, that is, instead of, the believers — for whoever does that, that is, [whoever] takes them as patrons, does not belong to, the religion of, God in anyway — unless you protect yourselves against them, as a safeguard (tuqātan, ‘as a safeguard’, is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts: this was before the hegemony of Islam and [the dispensation] applies to any individual residing in a land with no say in it. God warns you, He instills fear in you, of His Self, [warning] that He may be wrathful with you if you take them as patrons; and to God is the journey’s end, the return, and He will requite you.

What about the Crusades and the Inquisition? Isn't Christianity just as violent?
Does the Crusades give Muslims the right to commit injustices against Christians, Jews, apostates and women? Many Muslims throw this rationale out to divert from the real issue of today. The Crusades and the Inquisition were waged not by the Church of Jesus Christ, but by the Church of Rome. The emperor, Constantine created the Church of Rome (the Catholic Church) with traditions of Roman deities. They added doctrines not given in the Bible, and even persecuted Bible believing Christians like the Waldenses and the Lollards.

There are violent passages in the Bible. But just as it is important to understand the chronology of revelations in the Qu'ran, it is important to understand the different covenants (agreements) in the Bible. God used Israel to judge nations and nations to judge Israel. God also made sure to preserve Israel who would usher in the Messiah (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 53:5-6, Daniel 9:27). This Messiah (Jesus) would provide salvation not only for Israel but the whole world (Luke 4:25-27, John 10:16, John 4:22-23). Jesus is the fulffillment of the Mosaic Law, commanding his disciples to love one another as he loved them, even their enemies (Matthew 5:17; 5:38-39; 5:44, John 13:34, Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 John 3:11...). Jesus makes it clear that his disciples should not be violent. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and commits violence in the name of Jesus is not following the teachings of Jesus. A picture of the true Christian Church is found in the book of Acts. A history of those following the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the centuries is The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent.

Do I hate Muslims? No. My objective is to critically look at Islam in light of it's own doctrines, what has historically occured and what is occuring now. These are pressing issues that I think need to be addressed.

What can we do?
I think the most important step is to inform yourself. Read the Qu'ran for yourself. Resources from middle eastern authors are great. I recommend "Who is this Allah?" by G.J.O Moshay and "Islam and Terrorism" by Mark Gabriel. Write your elected officials and UN Ambassadors to address injustices against religious minorities and women. Support American Laws for American Courts (ALAC). This is to keep any international law contrary to the American Constitution from being intergrated into public policy here. Understand Sharia (Islamic) law and how it affects it's adherents. The more closely Muslims follow Islamic law, the more likely they are to support/commit Islamic terrorism. Read Islamic texts on Sharia and learn more here.

As Christians, we need to pray for the leaders of this country to open their eyes regarding Islamic terrorism. Most of all, pray for the Muslims here to find true salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ. Now is the time for the Body of Christ to pray fervently for lost souls and reach out with the love of Christ. Support our bretheren overseas through prayer, much needed Bibles and medical aid for the physically injured. You can learn more by checking out Voice of the Martyrs.

Be salt and light! (mark 9:50, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). Prayerfully seek opportunities to witness to others what Jesus has done in your life! Hand out tracts or small New Testaments.

The Good News
The Good news is that God is in control and his word is being fulfilled. Many Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus through visions and dreams. This is why persecution is getting worse. Satan knows his time is short and he tries to use physical terrorism to shake people's faith. Jesus has has warned us of this persecution (Matthew 5:10-12, Luke 21:12, John 15:20) but we need to pray and support our bretheren (Hebrews 13:3). Jerusalem is a burdensome stone in which all nations that come against her will be destroyed (Zechariah 12:3;9, Psalm 83). If this is on the horizon, the rapture of the church of Jesus Christ is much closer!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lung and Vocal Cord Exercises

I've been taking speech therapy and working on my lung capacity and strength of my voice. These exercises have been very helpful so I want to share. I've been using a simple device called "The breather" to exercise breath support. There are settings to increase the resistance during inhalation and exhalation. Start at the first setting (1) and slowly inhale and exhale as much air as you can. Do this for a couple of minutes a few times a day until you can do it for as long as 15 minutes without feeling fatigued/winded. When you can do that, increase the resistance until you have it at the highest resistance for as long as 10-15 minutes. This is called Resistive Breathing Training (RBT). It describes strengthening the diaphragm and intercostal muscles (accessory breathing muscles surrounding the ribs). Exhalation resistance develops and strengthens the abdominal muscles.

Another exercise I've been doing is specifically for the vocal cords. I take in a deep breath, pull the armrests of my wheelchair upwards and vocalize "ah" for as long as I can. Then I open my mouth wide and inhale in as if I'm yawning and then let out a sigh. This relaxes the vocal cords after forcing them together during the "ah" phase. This exercise strengthens the ability to cough and vocalize louder.

These exercises are great for people with weak lungs/diaphragm from neurogenic disorders like Multiple Sclerosis or Spinal Cord Injury. Great for general inprovement of lung capacity, breath support and vocalization.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Resurrection Sunday

It is the day to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! There is no other figure in history that compares to the God-Man who laid down his life and conquered the grave. I am so blessed to have this assurance, to be sealed by the Holy Spirit, part of a royal priesthood.

Yesterday, I saw the Dead Sea scrolls exhibit at the Discovery Center downtown. What a wonderful testament to the validity of the scriptures, the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled! Artifacts of daily living were also displayed, giving a picture of life at that time. I only had an hour before my ride came to pick me up, but it was worth it. Read more about the Dead Sea Scrolls here.

No one is "good enough" to get to heaven by their own merits. We have a Holy God, who cannot be in the presence of sin. Thankfully, God sent Jesus as a perfect atonement for our sin, past, present and future. Through faith, we are regenerated spiritually, having the righteousness of Jesus justify us before the Father. (Romans 5:1). Through the washing of the word, we are sanctified to live Holy and have the mind of Christ (John 17:17; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:26; Philipians 2:5). Through death, we are glorified and have eternal life with Jesus (Colossians 3:2-4; Romans 6:4).

This was God's plan even before the world began! (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:19-20). We didn't surprise God when we sinned in the garden. God wants us to freely choose him and love him. He has revealed himself in the historically accurate texts of the Old and New Testaments. God wants more than anything, to have fellowship with you in perfect peace (שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם--Isaiah 26:3). Will you accept this gift? It starts with recognizing you are bankrupt without God. In thought, motive, word and deed you have erred from his standards. Surrender this all to him and turst that his death and resurrection satisfies the penalty of your sin. Ask him to come into your life and renew you, to live for his glory. Read the scriptures to understand the nature of God and how he wants us to live (Romans 15:4).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Answered prayer

A minor mechanical flaw of my t-tube is what's keeping my voice from being sufficiently audible. Being too long, the tube is holding my vocal cords open, letting too much air escape. I'll head to the OR (again!) to have it shortened next week. I'm thankful for answered prayer that my vocal cords are fine and my voice will be restored.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Finding my voice

It's been 2 weeks since I've had my t-tube reinserted and my voice is still just a whisper. My throat doesn't hurt anymore, but my voice is just barely existent. It is very frustrating but I'm thankful for breathing well and sleeping well. Yesterday, I was able to go to church for the first time in weeks which was a blessing. I'm looking forward to being more active, voice or not, and seeing what the Lord has for me.

As hard as it is to not think on a day-to-day basis due to my condition, I'm venturing to find an abode of my own outside of Beth Abe. I imagine it will be quite a process so I figured I'd start to hopefully move in favorable weather. Quads and cold don't mix!

I've spent many months in physical and spiritual trials, sick with UTIs, going through major bladder surgery, and then contending with trach problems. I can't tell which was worse. Before that, I was gearing up to go back to school and had a new interest in grant writing and non-profit management. What do I do now? Where do I belong? How will I be a productive member of society? I want to be useful. I don't want spend the rest of my days not making a mark as I've always imagined. I grew up in the middle of rallies against drugs, corrupt landlords and school inequality. My family was active in the church feeding the homeless and donating clothes. I imagined myself as a public servant in some capacity which I think everyone should be. I have to reassess goals and take things slow.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I stand at the door and knock

I enjoyed the testimony of Corrie Ten Boom so much, that I got her book, "I stand at the door and knock" in audio format from It's a compilation of her radio broadcasts in the 60's with Trans World Radio. She repeats the importance of being born again and attaining holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her focus is solely on the Lord and the work he does in the believer. She says, "we don't need great faith, just faith in a great God." It was very encouraging to hear her nuggets of wisdom regarding surrender and that, even the Lord does!

I was surprised to learn that Corrie also struggled with worry and anxiety like myself. Who knew that would be case for a woman who risked her life to save Jews? It wasn't until after her imprisonment that she understood her experience was to be used to further the Gospel. Not only did she lead many to Christ inside the concentration camps, but she traveled to 61 countries to share the love and salvation of Christ! Paul makes a similar realization in his epistle to the Philipians: "But I want you to know, brethren, that the things [which happened] to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."--Philipians 1:12-14

The body of Christ is exploding in places of heavy persecution like China, North Korea, Iran and Egypt. In places where imprisonment is inevitable, people are coming to Jesus through visions, dreams and divine appointments. Missionaries are risking their lives to bring the Word of God to areas where it is forbidden. Aid goes to families of prisoners and martyrs. Medical needs are provided for. If the Lord is moving you to support persecuted Christians, a great organization is Voice of the Martyrs. Pray for our brethren as we are one body. Intercession is important and often our best defense.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

I just devoured another book, an ebook on my new nook color. It's quad friendly, making page turrning a breeze! I read "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. I highly recommend it for everyone. Going through quadriplegia makes me thirsty for tales of survival, particularly from other believers. Corrie Ten Boom and her family were led to protect Jews during German occupation in Holland. For 2 years, they hid Jews in their homes until they were caught and sent to Nazi concentration camps in Holland and Germany. Corrie describes their experience and how they were able to endure by the Grace of God. It was primarily through her sister Betsie that she learned that God had them there for a reason and that they could find joy in their circumstance. Focusing on opportunities to minister to even their persecuters, Betsie saw the work that God would lay out for Corrie as a result of their suffering. Joni Eareckson Tada shares a similar realization from her own suffering and it's no surprise that she writes the forward. I, too, share this testimony; that through my ordeal becoming paralyzed, I could minister to others and learn to depend on Jesus for his Grace. I am not strong in any of this. Often I'm scared, anxious, and feeble. Quite honestly, I didn't think I'd live this long. Between my raging UTI's and trach problems, I've felt at the edge of another great height, bracing for a long fall before being lifted up on eagle's wings. Still, I'm here, and am convinced He has more to show me before taking me home.