Faith Builders

Heaven Encountered in the Midst of Tragedy

Spinal Cord Injury denotes varying degrees of damage to the nerves in the spinal cord. The body's amazing design incorporates a number of protective safeguards, and often this extremely serious injury isn't immediately medically life threatening. Even when paralysis prevents most voluntary movements, life-sustaining automatic functions continue. Injuries high in the neck sometimes create breathing issues and cause dependence on a ventilator, and comprehensive treatment addresses a long list of other potentially critical concerns. But SCI is primarily chronic and forces adjustments to just about every aspect of life.

Biblical Guidance

Scriptures to help you with specific issues and situations.

Plant me by a river, Lord

Plant me by a river, Lord,
Pull me down, by the roots
To Truth,
Draw me up to the heavens, Lord,
Lift my arms, in Your Son
Suffuse.

Grant me gift of bark, Lord,
When rain, and wind
Beat strong,
As well as tender leaf, Lord,
Where wind, and bird
Play song.

Wash me in the spring, Lord,
Laughter, joy,
Renew,
When limbs grow heavy in fall, Lord,
I pray, may it be
With fruit.

In winter be my strength, Lord,
In trials, my Hope,
My shield,
And gather over time, Lord,
By Grace of Your gifts,
Thy yield.

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season...

Psalm 1:3

Goals of a Spiritual Champion

A businessman was plagued with distractions. At the end of the day, he faced a pile of unfinished work and felt like a failure.

The businessman hired a consultant who charged him a cool million then gave him a piece of organizational advice solving all his problems. "Set goals," said the consultant, "and put them on your calendar. Each day, list mini-goals you need to accomplish to meet your main goals. Everything else comes second."

Ever felt like this businessman? I have. We all fight an uphill battle and it is easy to burn out.

Is Your Fruit Lasting?

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit?.
Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Matthew 7:18, 20

I know I've mentioned this saying before, but I was thinking of it this morning and decided it bears repeating. It is actually a question, and it goes something like this: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Whose Are We?

We are who owns us. We derive our nature and uniqueness, our very selfhood, from our owner. Furthermore, we willingly join ourselves to God in Christ. Being forced to go to church, or feeling under coercion, ordered to be who we are, is like telling a bee it must gather pollen and fly to the hive. If it were unnatural to be who we are, the Christian life would be alien, foreign and against our will. But we belong to God.

All Mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. John 17:10

Through His gracious generosity, in Christ Jesus, God has adopted us. We are not natural born, but supernaturally born children, through the cross and resurrection of Jesus; He owns us. That's the reality. Embracing any other owners, or powers is like swimming upstream or committing spiritual suicide. As long as we remember that we belong only to God, and continue to assemble to worship Him and do the work He has given us to do, we will be who we really are and do what we truly should do.

Letting God

"Letting God" testifies to the release of tension, the surrender to trust, and being at ease instead of in "dis-ease." What is offered in each day's meditation is relaxation and peace in Christ. You will be called to turn over control of your steering wheel. You will be urged to relax your power and control and open your door to the priceless gift of serenity in our Lord and Savior. You will be presented with scripture, stories, short essays, and even humor as ways to let God take over.

I have learned in forty years of experience with alcoholics and other addicts, that living the Gospel truth AND Twelve-step recovery creates a hallowed and holy life. This holiness is not sainthood but a serene state of being, achieved as cease our striving, halt our stressful efforts, and fall into the arms of our Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

"Letting God" is the key to most all experiences of sacredness and spirituality. The surrender to the divine within and without, the acknowledgment of the humanity of the Holy and the holiness of the human ls to "Let go and let God." As we allow God to be God, without trying to fix or manipulate his reality in heaven or earth, we welcome his healing love. We let love flow. We use no force, no struggle, no strain, no competition, no trying harder, no willpower. We admit and accept our weakness and God's strength. If we do not make this unconditional surrender to God, our own spirituality will lie dormant and lifeless. Our selfish will becomes our god, and we run rampant toward our own self-destruction, screaming to the end, "I can do it myself!"

Where’s The Peace On Earth?

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:8,14

Christmas Eve more than 2000 years later, it’s fair to ask, “What happened to ‘peace on earth’?”

War. School shootings. Terrorism. Racism. Death. Families torn apart. An observer might wonder if Silent Night is anything more than a song.

A few years later the baby born that night would teach His friends about a different sort of peace.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

It’s the peace that doesn’t depend on circumstances. It’s peace that sustains like the eye of a storm while life’s chaos swirls around it.

Thoughts on Gratitude and Thanks

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow--are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips--so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

~ ~ ~ ~

A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, "That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat."

The farmer answered that with him it was customary--but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

"Ah, then," said the gentleman, "they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?"

"My pigs!" the farmer answered.

~ ~ ~ ~

Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. "Use that one day just for complaining and griping," he said. "Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you!"

Conquering Worry

When you are inclined to worry -- don't do it! That is the first thing. No matter how much reason there seems to be for worrying -- still, there is your rule. Do not break it -- don't worry! Matters may be greatly tangled, so tangled that you cannot see how they ever can be straightened out; still, don't worry! Troubles may be very real and very sore, and there may not seem a rift in the clouds; nevertheless, don't worry! You say the rule is too high for human observance -- that mortals cannot reach it; or you say there must be some exceptions to it -- that there are peculiar circumstances in which one cannot but worry. But wait a moment. What did the Master teach? "I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear." He left no exceptions.

What did Paul teach? "Don't worry about anything!" He did not say a word about exceptions to the rule -- but left it unqualified and absolute. A good bit of homely, practical, common-sense wisdom, says that there are two classes of things we should not worry about -- things we can help, and things we cannot help.

Evils we can (correct) -- we ought to (correct). If the roof leaks -- we ought to mend it; if the fire is burning low and the room growing cold -- we ought to put on more fuel; if the fence is tumbling down, so as to let our neighbor's cattle into our wheat field -- we had better repair the fence than sit down and worry over the troublesomeness of people's cows; if we have dyspepsia and it makes us feel badly -- we had better look to our diet and our exercise. That is, we are very silly if we worry about things we can help. Help them! That is the heavenly wisdom for that sort of ills or cares -- that is the way to cast that kind of burden on the Lord.

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