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Point of Power

Working Toward Something Good and Beautiful

Image Credit: Health Care Diary
Image Credit:
Health Care Diary

It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve written or posted anything. During that time, my pain medication has been elevated, due to a continued increase in the pain I suffer. The increased pain medication has made it nearly impossible for me to write, as I have been unable to stay awake long enough to read, write or think with any clarity. Then, when the pain meds wear off, the intense pain also renders me unable to write, as I struggle unsuccessfully, to get my mind off the pain and focus on something else.

Then, in the midst of this, my FaceBook account was hacked by someone pretending to be me. This imposter created a clone of my account, and began contacting some of my friends, trying to obtain personal financial information from them. Needless to say, I reported this to FaceBook, and I’ve closed my account for the time being…

Image Credit: Landon Gilfillan
Image Credit:
Landon Gilfillan

Meanwhile, for the last nine days, my husband and I have been visiting our daughter and son-in-law, and three of our nine grandchildren. This precious time with my family has given me great joy, despite the pain I’m in, and last night, before bed, my granddaughters asked me to share a bible story with them. This completely blessed me, for there is nothing I’d rather do than share God’s word with people, and especially with my beloved grandchildren…

Therefore, I shared Daniel 1 with them last night, and I will continue sharing the story of Daniel and his friends each night for the rest of our visit… So, after beginning to tell Daniel’s story to my grandchildren and preparing to share the next chapter with them tonight, I felt a stirring within me to write. This urge to write has been missing for the last few weeks, but now, I found myself wanting to share Daniel’s story with you…

Image Credit: Point of Power
Image Credit:
Point of Power

As you may already know, when King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army invaded Judea, the Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to make Judea’s King Jehoiakim his prisoner and take him back to Babylon. The Lord also allowed his army to rob His holy Temple, carrying some of its sacred vessels back to fill the treasury of Babylon’s false gods. Among those captured in the invasion, were members of Judah’s royal family, and several members of nobility. It was from these members of royalty and nobility, that Nebuchadnezzar chose the brightest young men who were also the most handsome, to be trained to serve in his royal court.

Among those chosen to be trained to serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s court were four young men named, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Then, possibly in an attempt to make them forget their roots, one of the first things Nebuchadnezzar did, was to change the names of his captives. Thus, Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah’s name was changed to Shadrach, Mishael’s name became Meshach and Azariah became Abed-nego.

Image Credit: Minister to the Heart
Image Credit:
Minister to the Heart

To further enhance the change in the lives of Nebuchadnezzar’s captives, they were sent to live in his palace, where they would be trained in the Babylonian ways for three years. Daniel and his friends meekly went along with all of these changes, until they were presented with food from the king’s table. While these rations were very generous and were gratefully received by other prisoners, to be forced to partake of this food, would defile Daniel and his friends before the Lord, and they would rather die than be seen as unclean by their God. 

Therefore, carefully choosing his words, Daniel spoke for himself and his friends to the king’s chief eunuch, asking that he and his friends be served nothing but vegetables, grains and water. Ashpenaz, the chief eunuch, refused, but Daniel was persistent, and quietly spoke to the guard that the chief eunuch assigned to him and his compatriots…

12 “Please, do us a favor. Put us, your servants, to the test for the next 10 days. Give us a vegetarian diet and water. 13 When the time is up, you can see for yourself our condition and compare it to the condition of the other young men who are eating from the king’s table. Then, after you have seen what has happened, do whatever you think is best with us, your servants.”

14 So the guard agreed to do as Daniel requested. He tested them on a diet of only vegetables, grains, and water for 10 days. 15 When the 10 days were up, he looked them over and noticed that Daniel and his friends were better off than all the young men eating from the king’s best foods. They looked healthy and well nourished, 16 so the guard continued to hold back their royal rations and replaced them with a strictly vegetarian diet. 17 Through all of this, God conferred upon these 4 young men superior abilities in literature, language, and wisdom. God had given Daniel an additional gift, too: the ability to interpret visions and dreams. 18 When the 3-year period of training and conditioning, as set by the king, was over, the king sent for the candidates; the chief of the royal eunuchs himself escorted them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king interviewed all of them and found that none of the candidates were any better than Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; so they were each assigned an important place in the king’s court.  ~ Daniel 1:12-19  VOICE ~

As I think about this story, and I ponder my own situation, which seems so hopeless and untenable, I’m struck by the presence of God in Daniel’s life. Think about it. Daniel was a God-fearing Jewish boy, whose desire was to serve God faithfully in Judea, in the midst of God’s chosen people. Yet, instead of having his dream fulfilled, Daniel and his friends were cruelly snatched from the arms of their loved ones and deposited into the midst of heathens. Also, rather than serving the country they loved, in Jerusalem, home of God’s holy Temple, they were now forced to serve a pagan king, who served pagan gods. Nothing had gone the way it should have, and Daniel’s dreams of ministering had been snatched away from him… Or had they?

As I think about my own situation, it all seems so hopeless. I’m in so much constant pain, that I’m unable to stand and minister like I once did. My dreams of ministering for the Lord seem to be beyond my grasp right now. I’m no longer able to preach and minister in the prisons like I once did, and my dance ministry has also fallen to the wayside, for how can you dance, when merely standing, sitting, walking or laying cause excruciating pain?

Still, as I read about Daniel, I’m struck by the knowledge that God not only knew about Daniel’s situation, it seems that He orchestrated it, for His glory…

The Lord gave Nebuchadnezzar the victory and allowed him to take King Jehoiakim of Judah as his prisoner. At the same time, He permitted the Babylonian king to rob God’s temple of some of its sacred vessels and carry them away to Babylonia (called Shinar), which was the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to fill the treasury of his own gods, Marduk and Nebo.

After the king returned home, he commanded Ashpenaz, chief of the royal eunuchs, to bring some of the Israelites who had been taken captive to the palace. These included members of Judah’s royal family and the nobility.  ~ Daniel 1:2-3 VOICE ~

Now, if God orchestrated the events in Daniel’s life, and in the lives of His chosen people, doesn’t it seem plausible that He would also orchestrate the events in my life and yours? To be kidnapped and taken to a country far away, seems like a horrific experience, and yet, when you realize that God was behind it, this dreadful event is miraculously changed into a reason for hope and even joy. 

Likewise, a life of constant chronic pain was not a part of the life I dreamed of having. I dreamed of preaching throughout the country, in prisons and churches and wherever else God sent me, but I now see that what I had once thought was God’s will for my life, was really only my own hopes and dreams for my life. They were my plans, not His. Furthermore, knowing that this chronic pain is not some tragic misfortune caused by the devil, unbeknownst to God, but rather, it is all a part of His plan for my life, makes my current circumstances worth rejoicing over…

28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.  ~ Romans 8:28 VOICE ~

Now, as I look at Daniel, who was snatched from his home, never to return again, I can see that God orchestrated everything in his life, changing it into something beautiful and good. So, if God orchestrated Daniel’s painful events into something good and beautiful, don’t you think it’s possible (even likely) that since I love Him, He has been orchestrating everything in my life to work toward something good and beautiful?

What about you, beloved reader? Have your circumstances been difficult? Be of good cheer. For as long as you love Him and are called according to His purpose, God will orchestrate everything in your life to work toward something good and beautiful.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Image Credit:
Bob Enyart Live

Justin Ross Harris & Israel’s Cities of Refuge

Image Credit: people.com
Image Credit:
people.com

Everyone is talking about Justin Ross Harris, who left his twenty-two month old son, Cooper, in his hot SUV for seven hours, while working his job at Home Depot. This horrible incident has been all over the news media, and a couple of days ago, I watched his probable cause hearing online. By the end of that day, Mr. Harris’ motion to be released on bond was denied, so he must remain in jail until his trial.

In the aftermath of this terrible occurrence, one thing is certain; everyone has an opinion about it. Did Ross Harris deliberately murder his only son, or was it really a dreadful accident, like he says? As I watched the court proceedings the other day, I was struck by a sad thought…

Suppose this really was an accident? Haven’t you ever gotten in your car, planning to go to one destination, and then, while you’re on your way, you suddenly realize that you’ve driven somewhere else, almost as though you were on auto-pilot? Haven’t you ever gone into a room with a specific task in mind, only to get there and realize that you’ve forgotten what you had gone in there for? 

I realize that a child was involved in this incident that turned very deadly, but the fact is that each one of us are human beings, with finite minds, and we do sometimes forget very important people and things. Several years ago, I remember promising to pick up an elderly woman for bible study at the church we attended together. On the evening of the bible study, I arrived around fifteen minutes early, because I am a very punctual person. After arriving so early, I spent the next several minutes chatting with other friends before class started. At one point, I remember looking at one of my friends, asking, “Where’s Miss Betty? She’s usually here by now.” 

My friend gave me an incredulous look, then stated, “I was going to ask you where she is. Weren’t you supposed to pick her up tonight?” I was totally embarrassed, because as soon as she said that, I remembered telling Miss Betty that I would pick her up. How embarrassing it was, as I quickly exited and went to get Miss Betty and bring her to the bible study. 

That’s why I don’t think it is totally implausible that a father or mother could go to work and forget his/her child is in the back seat, especially if the child falls asleep. Before we pass judgment on this father, let’s remember that he is every bit as human as we are, and it is truly possible that he did indeed, forget his son was in the backseat of his SUV. 

And if he truly did forget his child, can you imagine how traumatic it would be to come to the realization that your forgetfulness killed your only son? Imagine how horrific that must be for him. If he truly did forget his son, this young man (who looks like a boy to me), must find a way to live with the knowledge that his stupid error killed his beloved son. If it was indeed an accident, he will have to live with all of the ramifications caused by his memory lapse… Think of it, while his wife and family are grieving the loss of this adorable little boy, Ross Harris must be carrying a crushing load of guilt, knowing that his son would be alive if only

If only…

  • he had taken Cooper to daycare…
  • he had remembered Cooper was there, in his car seat, in the SUV, before he got out…
  • he had thought about his little boy, instead of allowing his mind to wander to sexual fantasies with six different women (none of whom were his wife), and wasting precious minutes, (which could have saved his son’s life) by sending sexual messages to these women (one of whom was an underage, sixteen year old girl)…
  • he had remembered his son before he went to lunch with his friends…
  • he had looked in the backseat of the SUV, when he dropped the light bulbs off in the front seat of his car, after lunch…

The list of “if only’s” goes on and on, but sadly, they mean nothing, for Cooper Harris is gone now.

Meanwhile, Ross Harris now finds himself in a battle for his freedom, and possibly even for his life, since Georgia is one of the states, which still enforces the death penalty. While watching Mr. Harris’ defense attorney questioning Detective Phil Stoddard (who seemed to have convicted Justin Ross Harris already, before the investigation and a trial have been completed) that I began to think about how a situation like this would have been handled in biblical times…

Image Credit: Bob Enyart Live
Image Credit:
Bob Enyart Live

During biblical times, the people of Israel had six cities that were designated to be Cities of Refuge

These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety. ~ Numbers 35:15  NLT ~

Were these cities of refuge available to everyone? As you can see from Numbers 35:15these cities of refuge were available to foreigners and traveling merchants, as well as the Israelites, who found themselves in a situation much like the one Ross Harris is now involved in. Also, because the Lord is a merciful and just God, He made sure that the cities of refuge were available to all, no matter where they lived in Israel…

“If the distance to the nearest city of refuge is too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. Then the slayer would die unfairly, since he had never shown hostility toward the person who died. That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge. ~ Deuteronomy 19:6-7  NLT ~

Now, this place of refuge was not a place for someone to stay to escape justice. Nor was it a prison. The cities of refuge were there so that the person who accidentally killed someone could live without fear of reprisal before being tried by the community.

These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community. ~ Numbers 35:12  NLT ~

God did not command these cities of refuge be created to help the slayer escape justice. He called for these cities of refuge to be built in order to ensure that justice was served. Indeed, the Lord didn’t appoint only three cities of refuge, but six, so there would be enough to make them equally accessible for people to escape to.

13 Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves, 14 three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west in the land of Canaan. 15 These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety. ~ Numbers 35:13-15  NLT ~

To be clear about this, murderers would not be allowed to find haven in any of the cities of refuge. These cities were only to protect those who accidentally killed someone, and they, like anyone else accused of a crime would face a trial by their community.

Those who were found guilty of murder were sentenced to die by the hand of their victim’s nearest relative. However, if the person accidentally kills someone, the community must protect the slayer (the one who accidentally kills someone) from the victim’s avenger (the closest relative of the victim), and escort him/her to the city of refuge, where the person must remain until the death of the high priest. (Numbers 35:24-25  NLT)

As long as the slayer remains within the city of refuge, until the high priest dies, thus ending his sentence, he will live in safety, protected from the victim’s avenger. However, if the slayer is discovered by the victim’s avenger outside of the city of refuge before the high priest dies, and the avenger kills him/her, this will not be counted as a crime by the avenger…

26 “But if the slayer ever leaves the limits of the city of refuge, 27 and the avenger finds him outside the city and kills him, it will not be considered murder. 28 The slayer should have stayed inside the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to his own property. 29 These are legal requirements for you to observe from generation to generation, wherever you may live.  ~ Numbers 35:26-29  NLT ~

Now, let’s go back and examine the scriptures in Numbers 35 again, and see how they explain the difference in an accidental killing and murder. As we study this, let’s keep in mind what we know about the death of Justin Ross Harris’ son, Cooper Harris… The following scriptures describe exactly what a murder is…

16-21 If someone picks up an instrument—iron, stone, wood,whatever—and batters somebody else so badly that the victim dies, or if he otherwise kills with intent (fatally pushes with hatred or throws an object from some hidden place that kills its target), the perpetrator is guilty of murder. His punishment is death in return, and someone shall be assigned to kill him. The one to carry out this death penalty is called the “blood avenger.” Whenever the avenger has a chance to kill the murderer, he should do so. ~ Numbers 35:16-21  VOICE ~

As you can see from the description, it is murder if someone picks up an instrument and batters someone with it so badly, that the person dies. Further, it is also murder if someone intentionally kills someone either by using a weapon, or by some other means. As we follow the case against Justin Ross Harris in the coming months, let’s keep this biblical description in mind when determining whether the man murdered his son, or whether the child’s tragic death was an accident.

22-24 Sometimes it happens, though, that a person pushes his friend or acquaintance, throws an object, or happens to drop a heavy stone on someone else without any intention of hurting (much less killing) the person, but the other person happens to die from it. The guilty person should be able to take refuge in one of the six designated cities, safe from the one who would avenge the death he caused. Then people from among the greater community shall judge whether it was indeed an accident or not. ~ Numbers 35:22-24  VOICE ~

Image Credit: couriermail.com
Image Credit:
couriermail.com

In the coming weeks and months, I imagine we’re going to hear many different things about Justin Ross Harris, as he is tried for murder in both the courtroom, and in the news. Many people have already formed an opinion regarding his guilt or innocence, without even knowing all of the facts. However, I would encourage all believers to pray especially for Justin Ross Harris, and his wife, Leanne Harris, for if this was an accident as Mr. Harris claims that it is, I can’t even begin to fathom the pain he and his wife must be experiencing. On the other hand, if it was murder, let’s pray that justice is served, and that the Lord would comfort Leanne Harris, who loved and trusted her husband with their child. Let’s also pray for their marriage, which has very likely suffered from this tragedy.

After reading the scriptures that tell how to know the difference between murder and accidental death, we understand how to determine the difference between the two. However, if we are members of God’s jury, in the case of Justin Ross Harris, how can we judge whether he is guilty of murdering his son, or if the death was accidental? Let’s turn to Numbers 35 once again to help us…

“All murderers must be put to death, but only if evidence is presented by more than one witness. No one may be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. ~ Numbers 35:30  NLT ~

As you can see, to convict a person of murder, there must be evidence presented by more than one witness. If only one witness testifies against the accused, then there is not enough evidence to convict him/her.

There is one more noteworthy thing about this chapter on the Cities of Refuge that I would like to mention. If the person accused of murder was found guilty, he/she would be sentenced to death by the victim’s avenger. However, if the death is found to be accidental, the person does not get off scot-free. He/She must remain within the city of refuge until the high priest dies.

You see, God values the life of mankind, most certainly, more than humans do. Therefore, if someone is killed by the hand of another, his/her death must be paid for by the one who killed him/her. Of course, if the person was murdered, his/her killer must be killed to pay for his/her death.

However, if a person was accidentally killed by the hand of another, that person’s death must also be atoned for by his/her killer. Therefore, though the killer does not deserve to die for the accidental death caused by him/her, he/she must still pay for the death with his/her own life. Hence, the killer must spend his life living within the confines of the city of refuge until the death of the high priest, whereupon he/she will then be free to return to his/her own land to live in freedom once again.

I think this consequence for causing the accidental death of someone is fair. By sentencing the accidental killer to live in one of the cities of refuge, several clear messages are sent to everyone involved…

    • First and foremost, the sentence acknowledges the value of the life that was lost, and though his/her death was accidental, it must still be atoned for.
    • This sentence makes it clear that the death was unintentional and accidental, therefore, the killer does not deserve to die for it.
    • Only God, (who knew when and how the victim would die), knows when the high priest will die, thus ending the killer’s sentence.

It seems that God’s plan for determining whether a death is  the result of murder or accidental is the best plan. Although most of us will never sit on the jury in Justin Ross Harris’ trial, there is still a great probability that we will all form our own opinions about whether little Cooper Harris died an accidental death, or whether he was the victim of his father’s heinous murder plot. Therefore, I encourage all of us to use God’s way of determining whether Cooper’s death was an accident or murder. What a shame we don’t have cities of refuge here in the United States!

Meanwhile, please join me in praying for Cooper Harris’ family…

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Image Credit:
Q4 Consulting

It’s Time for a Change

Image Credit: neo (un) orthodoxy
Image Credit:
neo (un) orthodoxy

I’m getting older now, and while at fifty-three, I’m not ancient, I’ve still lived long enough to witness and be a part of many changes. Also, while I’m not yet ready to die, (Lord willing), I have reached the place in life, when we begin to comprehend our own mortality. My body is not as strong as it once was, and for the last three years, I’ve been living with chronic pain, which often renders me immobile. Though I’m still able to walk, the pain of doing so is often so excruciating that I’m confined to my recliner. This same recliner once belonged to my mother, who suffered from the same disabling back and leg pain.

Frankly, this isn’t the way I thought I would be spending this part of my life. I had envisioned a life filled with ministry, as I continue d ministering in prison for many years to come, as well as ministering wherever the Lord would send me, preaching the gospel and worshiping Him in dance. But all of that changed, when the back pain that I had dealt with off and on since childhood, (I have scoliosis, and have dealt with back pain off and on ever since I can remember.) came to stay in 2011. As early as 2008 and 2009, I began to notice that my pain was occurring more and more frequently, though I was able to tolerate it, because I still had more good days than bad.

However, by 2011, the pain had become my constant tormentor, and I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings for work. The job I had once loved, was now a chore, which steadily grew more and more difficult to continue, while still, the pain continued to increase like a cumbersome, misshapen burden, continually tormenting me. By 2012, the pain had become so torturous that I began praying as soon as I got out of my car, “God, please help me make it across this parking lot to my office. Please help me, Lord. O God, please help me get to the building. Help me walk to the time clock, Lord…” On and on my prayer continued, and after I clocked in, I prayed for God to help me walk from the time clock to my office…

I’ve worked since I was fifteen years old, and I have always been a very dependable employee. I could always be counted on to get to my job on time, every day that I was scheduled to work, however, I began calling out frequently due to the pain, and on the days I was able to come to work, I had to fight the pain in order to get up and get ready on time. Because I missed so much time from work, my boss told me that I had to apply for FMLA, in order to keep from losing my job. Therefore, on September 1, 2012, I was placed on FMLA for twelve weeks. At the end of the twelve weeks, my pain had only grown in its intensity, and I was unable to return to work. The pain affected not only my job, but also my hopes and dreams for ministry, and I was forced to resign from prison ministry as well as my job. 

A few months later, my mother passed away. I was devastated. A month after losing my mom, I was admitted to the hospital with C-diff, a serious and contagious intestinal virus. Most often contracted by the elderly, this viral infection can sometimes be deadly. Then, to top that off, a few weeks after I was released from the hospital, my daughter, her husband and their children, who had been living with my husband and me, packed up and moved more than eight hundred miles away from us.

All of this happened within a five month span, and after losing so much, so quickly, I fell into a deep depression that I’m still trying to climb out of. As the reality of my own mortality became evident to me, I found myself battling many demons I had thought were long gone, but now, in my weakened state,  they rose up against me, much stronger and more ferocious than ever. I faced demons of rejection, fear, and anxiety, as well many others. On top of this, I came to the realization that many of the things I had long dreamed of doing, would never come to pass, because of the constant pain I now lived with. 

I won’t lie. Though I am a born-again, spirit-filled believer in Christ, I lost hope, when the Lord didn’t answer my impassioned plea for healing. Instead, my pain grew worse and worse. In the process of losing my mother, I felt that I had failed both her and God, which caused me to question my salvation. I fearfully worried that when the time comes to meet my Maker, would He look at me and say,   “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”? I was afraid that He would, and as crazy as this might sound, coming from a woman, who was once certain of her Father’s love for her, I began to fear that I had somehow lost His love, because I was so unworthy.

Without His love, my hope was gone as well. For how can anyone ever hope for anything without His love? How is it even possible to live, apart from His love? I was miserable. I was afraid of dying, and yet my reason for living was gone. My ministry was over. My mother was gone, as were my daughter, son and my grandchildren. I shudder to think of what might have happened to me if not for my beloved husband.

For more than a year, I grieved, as my emotional and spiritual pain matched my physical pain. When I first realized the seriousness of my back pain and came to comprehend that this pain wasn’t merely temporary, but chronic, I prayed that God would heal me.  As I stood in the shower, crying aloud because the pain of simply standing to take a shower was now so intolerable, I would beg Him to heal me… 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.

~ Jeremiah 17:14  NKJV ~

I don’t know about you, but I hate pain, and I desperately wanted to believe that I would be healed from the many medical problems in my spine. Yet, no matter how much I wanted to believe this, something within me (I believe it was the Lord.) said that I would not be cured, and that I must go through this. That isn’t what I wanted to hear. 

So, how do you pray, when the pain is sometimes more than you can bear, yet you know this is God’s will for you?

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  NKJV ~

O, how this verse speaks to me on so  many different levels! For those who are in the midst of constant pain as I am, whether it is physical, emotional, spiritual, or all of the above, just look at another translation of this verse, and let it wash over you. The Voice ™, a fairly new translation of the bible, released in 2012, is a beautiful translation of God’s word. In fact, today is the first time I’ve read from this translation. Let’s look at Philippians 4:6-7 in The Voice ™… 

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  VOICE ~

This verse just speaks to me. I have been so anxious about so many things during the last year and a half, and the first thing thing I read in this scripture is, “Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.” In all honesty, while in the midst of all my struggles, I haven’t spent a lot of time praying. Yet this scripture commands me to pray, instead of being anxious. Is it possible, I wonder, that if I had spent more time praying in the last year and a half, I might not have suffered from anxiety? Even though the pain of my spinal condition is something that I must live with, if I continually pray about it, I’m certain He’ll help me endure it. 

The next portion of this scripture has tripped me up, in this time of pain and suffering… He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Wow. God commands us to be thankful for what has come, and I have been anything BUT thankful. While I haven’t been like Job’s wife, saying, “Curse God and die,” I haven’t been thankful for the pain that has come to my life, either. In fact, to tell you the truth, I’ve spent way too much time crying, whining and complaining, and it hasn’t made me feel any better. In fact, the truth of the matter is that I’ve been perfectly miserable. 

Therefore, I believe a change is in order…

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:6-7  VOICE ~

Image Credit: Q4 Consulting
Image Credit:
Q4 Consulting

I’ve decided to do exactly as this scripture commands. Whenever I feel anxious about things, I will  pray. Not only that, but this scripture commands that I pray about everything, because God longs to hear my requests. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know? I’ve never even considered that before. Have you? Think about the magnitude of this…

… He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. ~ Philippians 4:6   VOICE ~

I don’t know why Almighty God would long to hear my request, but I feel blessed and encouraged that He does. Praise God! I wonder… is it possible that God has allowed all of the physical, emotional and spiritual pain to enter my life because He longed to hear my requests? When I think of my pain in this light, it becomes easier to thank God for what has come. 

Finally, in Philippians 4:7I discover yet another reason to give thanks to God for what has come…

And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. ~ Philippians 4:7  VOICE ~

When I pray about everything, I overcome those feelings of anxiety, and I am able to give the Lord what He longs for. How awesome is it to know that we are able to fulfill one of the Lord’s longings, simply by praying to Him about everything? When I give the Lord what He longs for, not only do I overcome my anxiety, I also receive the gift of having God’s peace watching over my heart and my mind in Jesus…

Yes, it is indeed time for a change in my life. How about you, beloved? Have you been dealing with pain and suffering in your  life? If so, how did you respond to the pain? Did you pray about everything, giving thanks for what has come into your life? Or were you anxious as I was, neglecting to pray and give thanks? If so, maybe it’s time for a change in your life too. Why don’t you join me in obeying this scripture, and let’s see if the peace of God that is promised descends on our lives, in Jesus’ name?

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Image Credit:
Dr. Dana Marie

Something Beautiful

Image Credit: Dr. Dana Marie
Image Credit:
Dr. Dana Marie

There’s an old gospel song that never fails to move me.  The words were written by Gloria Gaither, and her husband, Bill Gaither composed the music in 1971.  If my life was a television show, I would make this my theme song.  For though the tune is old and outdated, and despite the fact that I’m not a fan of Southern Gospel music, this song strikes a chord, deep within me.  Listen to the words of this song, and as you listen, know that my prayer is that these words will minister to you, and that God will make something beautiful of your life…

Beloved reader, I don’t know about you, but there’s been a whole lot of ugliness in my life. I’ve had many ugly things said and done to me, that left me feeling ugly and broken in their wake…   And sadly, I’ve also said and done ugly things, and those things left me feeling even dirtier and uglier.

Cheryl - Grade 3_v1The fact is that my earliest childhood memories are filled with ugliness. My mother and my birth father were divorced when I was just a toddler, and my father quickly married the woman he had committed adultery, with while still married to my mother. Before long, he  went on to father another daughter, and played a very active part in her childhood, while I could count the number of times I saw him, as a child, on one hand. This left me feeling unwanted, unloved and abandoned. Have you ever been there?

Meanwhile, my mother fell in love with the man who became my stepfather as soon as she got her divorce papers.  I often felt ugly and unlovable, while growing up with my mother and my stepfather.  I was always in trouble for one thing or another. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of my stepfather angrily lifting me from the table by my left arm, while he beat me with his free hand, as I dangled midair, like a pinata. My crime? Failure to eat my peas. (To this day, I HATE peas!)

I share these stories because I want you to form an image in your mind of a little girl, who felt ugly, unwanted and rejected. Children like this are not pleasant to be around, and I certainly wasn’t. Indeed, I had a huge chip on my shoulder, and because I felt so ugly and rejected, I also felt very sorry for myself. I was whiny and clingy, and the harder I worked to hold on to people, and tried to make them love me, the more I pushed them away from me. I didn’t understand that at the time.  

Looking back through the eyes of time, I now see that my desperate longing for love only turned all of my relationships into high maintenance jobs.  For I required constant reassurance that I was loved.  I constantly needed someone to demonstrate their love for me and make a declaration of their undying love, thereby proving my worth.  It was a vicious cycle.

Cheryl - Grade 6
Cheryl – Grade 6

Because I was so desperate to win the approval of my parents, teachers and peers, I lied. I lied alot. I lied because I was afraid of what would happen if the truth about me was known. I lied because I felt justified in doing so. I lied so much that sometimes, I even convinced myself. I lied because I was ugly, inside and out, and because I hated myself, I was convinced that no one could ever love the “real” me.  Therefore, I lied as I tried to be someone, anyone other than me.  Beloved reader, do you know what it’s like to hate yourself and to feel ugly and unworthy?  My prayer for those who do, is that God will heal your broken heart.

When Jesus saved me, He delivered me from many things… lying… bitterness… smoking…  But some areas in my life took longer for me to overcome, and there was one area in particular, that took much longer for me to overcome. You see, years of rejection, combined with physical, sexual and emotional abuse left me feeling different, unworthy and alone. I felt uglier than anyone else and unworthy of God’s love…


3 To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. ~ Isaiah 61:3  NLT ~


Cheryl - Grade 7
Cheryl – Grade 7

And so, in His great love and mercy, God began to minister to the ugly little girl who still lived inside of me. You see, I grew up being told how stupid and worthless I was, and how ugly too, and I believed it was so. Therefore, God had to change the way I thought…


2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2  NLT ~


As  I began to read and study the word of God, my way of thinking began to change, as promised, in the scripture above. I discovered that much of what I had been told and taught wasn’t really true. In fact, I realized that many things I believed about myself were nothing more than lies…


“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32  NLT ~


The more I studied God’s word, the more I learned about myself. My whole life, I was told I would never amount to anything. I was told how stupid I was, and how ugly too, and I believed every word spoken against me… But when I studied the bible, I started to learn the truth about me… I learned that I was created in God’s image!


So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. ~ Genesis 1:27  NLT ~


Not only did God create me (and everyone else!) in His own image, but just look at the care He took when forming us…


13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me! ~ Psalm 139:13-18  NLT ~


Now, please allow me to ask you a question, beloved reader. As you look all around you and see all that God has created, the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the sun, the moon and the stars, as well as the oceans, the continents, the mountains, the valleys, the forests and the deserts, not to mention every other living creature, as well as mankind, would you say it was all the workmanship of a Master? Or would you say this was the feeble attempt of a mere child? Of course, it’s obvious to see that only the Master Creator, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords could have created all of this, and His workmanship is marvelous!

Therefore, having come to that conclusion, we must acknowledge that this God, who changes not, did not make a mistake when He created me (you too!). He did not create everything, except me (or you), and call it good.  Further, God did not love the whole world, excluding me (or you)…


“I am the Lord, and I do not change…” ~ Malachi 3:6a  NLT ~

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8  NLT ~

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16  NLT ~


Do you see, beloved reader? Despite what anyone says to the contrary, God created you in His image, therefore, you cannot be and you are not UGLY. Indeed, the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb with excellent workmanship, made us (you and me)  BEAUTIFUL… 

And although you may feel that you are UNWORTHY of His love, understand that the love He lavishes on you, makes you worthy


“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” ~ Matthew 6:26  NLT ~

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. ~ Romans 5:1  NLT ~


Do you feel ugly and unworthy of love? Beloved reader, read and study the word of God. As you study His word, you will learn the truth about who He says you are, as He begins to make “Something Beautiful” of your life. 

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Throne Room
by Pat Marvenko Smith

Angels Among Us – Part 1 ~ Hebrews 1:5-14

Throne Room by Pat Marvenko Smith

Throne Room
by Pat Marvenko Smith


5 For God never said to any angel what He said to Jesus: “You are My Son.  Today I have become Your Father.”

God also said, “I will be His Father, and He will be My Son.”

6 And when He brought His supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship Him.”

7 Regarding the angels, He says, “He sends His angels like the winds, His servants like flames of fire.”

8 But to the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.  9 You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, Your God has anointed You, pouring out the oil of joy on You more than on anyone else.”

10 He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, You laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with Your hands.  11 They will perish, but You remain forever.  They will wear out like old clothing.  12 You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But You are always the same; You will live forever.”

13 And God never said to any of the angels, “Sit in the place of honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.”

14 Therefore, angels are only servants — spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.  ~ Hebrews 1:5-14  NLT ~


Many people today really seem to be infatuated with angels.  A Harris Poll given on November 2 & 11, 2009, online to 2,303 adults, found that 72% of all adults, regardless of their religious faith or lack of it, believed in angels.  People are always posting stories about angels, or pretty pictures of angels.  Before we go into this study, let’s discover what exactly, an angel is…

The word angel comes from the Greek word, anggeloswhich means, a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God.  I find it very interesting that many people believe in angels, even though they don’t believe in God, especially in light of what the word angel means.  Seriously, how can you have a messenger without the Sender of the message, who is superior to the messenger… and how do you have a created being without the Creator?



15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.  Everything was created through Him and for Him.  ~ Colossians 1:15-16  NLT ~


“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.
~ Nehemiah 9:6  NASB ~


Lots of people have a lot of different ideas about angels, some are crazy mixed up ideas, and others are biblical and true.  There are many who believe that angels are eternal beings who have always existed, but that’s not what the Scriptures tell us.  The bible tells us that the Angels were created by God. The were created by God through Christ and for Him.  Therefore, angels have not always existed…


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  ~ Genesis 1:1  NLT ~


4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you know so much.  5 Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?  6 What supports its foundations, and Who laid its cornerstone 7 as the morning sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?  ~ Job 38:4-7  NLT ~


Although we don’t know the exact time when the angels were created, we do know that they were created before God created the earth…  The closest we can come to actually knowing when the angels were created, is when we look at Genesis 1, where it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens…”, because when God created the earth, “the morning stars (another term for angels) sang together, and the angels shouted for joy.”  Let’s look at some of the things people believe, and see if it lines up with what God’s word says about them…

A common belief that many people, both Christians and non-Christians, have is that everyone has a guardian angel.  Is this true? 



Nowhere in the bible, does it specifically mention guardian angels. However, although the bible does not say that everyone has a guardian angel, many people believe that everyone has one because of what Jesus said to His disciples when they asked Him who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Watchers in the Night Thomas Blackshear
Watchers in the Night
Thomas Blackshear



“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of My heavenly Father.” ~ Matthew 18:10  NLT ~


While Jesus said nothing about guardian angels, His statement implies that there are angels assigned to each child. Jesus did not go into detail about this, therefore it would be nothing but conjecture to claim what duties these angels are assigned to do. Also, it would only be pure speculation to try to guess how many angels are assigned to each child. 

So, from Matthew 18:10, we know that children have angels assigned to them, but what about adults? Do the angels that are assigned to us as children remain with us until we die? Are they just assigned to us until we grow up? 


For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. ~ Psalm 91:11  NASB ~


The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. ~ Psalm 34:7  NASB ~


“You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” ~ Acts 12:15  NLT ~


A mighty angel was sent from heaven to rescue Peter. Illustration © Pacific Press Publ. Assoc.
A mighty angel was sent from heaven to rescue Peter.
Illustration © Pacific Press Publ. Assoc.

The scriptures above imply that there are angels who watch over the people of God.  Psalm 91:11 states that the Lord gives the angels the responsibility of guarding His people in all their ways, while Psalm 34:7 says that God’s angel encamps (settles) around those who fear Him. 

Since non-Christians don’t fear the Lord, and this scripture establishes the fact that God’s angel settles around those who fear Himit is safe to conclude that non-Christians (with the possible exception of the Jews who fear the Lord)  do not have an angel who watches over them.  

Still, there are many who believe in angels, but not in God, their Creator, and they believe that they have guardian angels assigned to protect them and watch over them.  However, when you think about it, it simply isn’t logical to even think that God would assign His angels to guard or protect His enemies… 

Matthew 12:20
Matthew 12:20

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. ~ Matthew 12:30  NASB ~


Acts 12:15 tells the story of when Peter had been arrested right after James had been martyred, and an angel of the Lord came and freed him from the prison. After being freed, Peter went to where the other apostles were staying, and knocked on the door. A servant answered Peter’s knock, and in her excitement, slammed the door in his face and ran to tell the others that Peter was at the door. The others shook their heads and told her she was crazy, and that it must be Peter’s angel. This seems to imply that there was an angel assigned to Peter, which begs the question, do all Christians have an angel(s) assigned to us? 

Judging from the scriptures above, it seems very likely, however, there is no specific scripture that plainly tells us this is so. Therefore, I won’t presume to make that claim. Let’s see what else people believe about angels and whether it is biblically true or not…

Many people, both Christians and non-Christians alike, believe that when they die, they will become angels. What do you believe?



Firstly, although both man and the angels were created by God, it was man alone, who was said to have been created in the image of God.  To man alone, God gave dominion over the earth, not to the angels. Furthermore, it was mankind only, who God commanded to procreate…

Image Credit: Day One: Creation of Man by: Edwin Lester
Image Credit:
Day One: Creation of Man
by: Edwin Lester

26 Then God said, “Let Us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us.  They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along on the ground.  27 So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.  28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.  

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!  And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.  ~ Genesis 1:26-31  NLT ~


Image Credit: Day One: Creation of Woman by Edwin Lester

Image Credit:
Day One: Creation of Woman
by Edwin Lester

Scripture records that not only did God create man in His own image, but He did something else for mankind alone, that He didn’t do for any of the animals that He created.  It is this unique quality that sets us apart from every other animal.  For though animals have a soul, they do not possess a spirit…


Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.  ~ Genesis 2:7  NLT ~


It was into man alone that God breathed the breath (spirit) of life. Just as we give mouth to mouth resuscitation to a person who has stopped breathing and is in danger of death, so our Creator breathed life into us.  The Hebrew word used for breath in this verse is nĕshamah, which means:


    1. breath, spirit
      1. breath (of God)
      2. breath (of man)
      3. every breathing thing 
      4. spirit (of man)

So, does this mean that the angels are not created in God’s image? We’ll examine this, and other angelic facts, further in our next post, and we will also answer the question, “Do people become angels when they die?…”

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

All bible references are taken from Bible Gateway. Do you want to look up a scripture, but can’t remember where to find it? Try finding it on Bible Gateway, a wonderful website that includes many different bible versions, study aids and helps. Bible Gateway is a great resource for all believers to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

noose

FREE MERIAM YEHYA IBRAHIM

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. (1 Peter 5:8-9 ~ NLT)

Meriam Ibrahim WesternJournalism.com
Meriam Ibrahim
WesternJournalism.com

This past weekend, those of us who live in the United States of America, celebrated Memorial Day, a time for us to honor those who fought and died, as well as those who continue to fight, so that we can live in freedom. Because of the sacrifice of our forefathers, we are granted certain inalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is because of the first amendment to the constitution, that I am free to worship my God in spirit and in truth. Because I live in a country that recognizes this fundamental freedom, I can openly declare to everyone who reads this post that I believe that I am a child of God Almighty, and I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, who was crucified for the sins of mankind, was dead for three days, and arose from the dead on the third day. I can also tell you without fear of reprisal, that Jesus Christ will come again on the clouds.

Martin Wani, Meriam's Son GistOnThis.com
Martin Wani, Meriam’s Son
GistOnThis.com

Freedoms we take for granted, are what makes Meriam Ibrahim’s situation so untenable. If you haven’t heard, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, a Sudanese Christian woman, married to U.S. citizen, Daniel Wani, was sentenced to death by hanging, for apostasy two weeks ago, and imprisoned in a Sudanese prison with her twenty month old son, a U.S. citizen. When she and her child were imprisoned, she was eight months pregnant.

Since then, Merriam gave birth to a daughter, who was born a month prematurely. Neither her husband, or her attorney have been permitted to see Merriam or her newborn. Hence, no-one is sure of their health. However, when Daniel saw her last week, before she gave birth, she was shackled in her cell. Since giving birth, Meriam’s sentence will now be delayed for two years, to allow her to nurse her baby, in accordance with Sudanese law.

So, what’s the point of this post? This is not just a sad story for everyone to sigh and say, “What a shame!” As citizens of the WORLD, each and every one of us have been given certain unalienable rights. Though some nations guarantee these rights, that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about the rights given to ALL MANKIND by our CREATOR, who gives everyone a free will to choose who and what to believe…

Because we are all men and women, I’m asking you to take a stand and cry out on Meriam Yehya Ibrahim’s behalf. This is not a cry for any one race, religious group or culture, but a cry for humanity. Whatever your faith, surely you can see the wickedness that is being perpetrated against this woman, her husband and her children, simply because of her faith. I am a strong Spirit-filled Christian, however, if I heard about someone from another faith being imprisoned and executed for his/her faith, I would cry out on that person’s behalf as well.

Meriam Ibrahim to be hung inilah.com
Meriam Ibrahim to be hung
inilah.com

Therefore, I urge everyone who reads this post, to go to http://beheardproject.com/Meriam and sign the petition demanding the government of Sudan to free Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and her children from prison. Christians, please, also pray for this sister in Christ…

Finally, remember, Christianity is not a crime!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Image Credit:
bongodogblog

Do You Believe? ~ Matthew 9:27-31 (Part 1)

Image Credit: St-Talka.org
Image Credit:
St-Talka.org

27 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind Him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

28 They went right into the house where He was staying, and Jesus asked them, Do you believe I can make you see?”

“Yes, Lord,” they told Him, “we do.”

29 Then He touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread His fame all over the region. ~ Matthew 9:29-31 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can…? Fill in the blank and ask yourself, “Do I believe that Jesus can heal my disease? Free me from painGive me a childGive me a home? FoodClothingDeliver me from fearDepressionAddictions? Do I believe that Jesus can forgive meLove meChange me?

When I began to truly follow Jesus, dedicating my whole life to Him, I could feel my faith growing stronger and stronger, as I read and studied God’s word…

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:17 — NASB ~

Image Credit: Apostolic Titbits
Image Credit:
Apostolic Titbits

One of the ways our faith can grow is from hearing God’s word. We can hear His word when we go to church on Sundays, but hearing His word only once a week, will not help your faith to grow. If we want to have the faith that moves mountains, then we must know His word for ourselves. Indeed, we must know Christ  for ourselves, and there is no better way to know Him than to read His word and spend time talking and listening to Him.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can change your life? Can He heal your broken body? Can He mend your broken heart? Can He restore broken relationships?

But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. ~ James 1:6-8 — NLT ~

How strong is your faith? When Jesus asks you, “Do you believe I can make you (fill in the blank)how will you respond? Do you believe He can do anything, or do you doubt it?

I’ll be honest with you… I have such a strong faith that Jesus will help others, but when it comes to me personally, though I desperately long to believe, I struggle. I don’t think the struggle is so much can He, as will He? For the last three years, I’ve suffered with constant, chronic debilitating back pain, and I’ve prayed for relief, which hasn’t come.

When I first started dealing with this pain, I sensed the Lord telling me that this is something I must go through. So what does that mean, exactly? Is this a temporary thing? Or is it something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life? I desperately want to believe that  this won’t be forever, but I’m not sure. I want to pray according to God’s will for this, but I’m not sure what His will for me is… Is my faith weak? How about yours? What do we do when our faith is weak???

There was another person in the bible who loved the Lord and wanted to believe in Jesus’ power to help him, yet, like mine, his faith was much too weak. Yet this man didn’t allow that to stop him. Do you remember the man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit that caused him to have violent seizures, and wouldn’t allow the boy to speak? He brought his son to Jesus, hoping that He would heal and deliver his son, but when he arrived, Jesus wasn’t there, so he asked the disciples to cast the demon out. However, they were unable to do so, and the man was left feeling as dispirited as I’ve felt about my chronic back pain…

Then, of course, there were also naysayers in the crowd, who further depressed the poor crestfallen man, by stirring the pot. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. Instead of encouraging and empathizing your plight, they instead try to stamp out any faith you might still hold onto, by adding their opinions… “I told you, there’s nothing anyone can do”… “You don’t really believe God can do anything about your problem, do you???” This is the scene Jesus came upon when he returned to His disciples…

Image Credit: bongodogblog
Image Credit:
bongodogblog

16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.”

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:16-24 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Darrell Creswell
Image Credit:
Darrell Creswell

Have you been there? You want to believe, and you know you should believe, but there’s still a part of you that just can’t believe. Not only that, but others have seen your situation, and added their opinions, and though you’ve tried not to listen to the negativity, it’s still registered in your brain, and you have that doubt on top of your own. 

The father of this boy had heard that Jesus was a miracle worker, and though he desperately wanted to believe, his boy had been like this for a long time.  Still, he had worked up his courage, and brought his boy, and the disciples had tried to cast the demons out to no avail. How discouraged he must have felt! 

Have you been there? I have. I’ve had several people, from several different churches, pray over me and prophesy that I am healed, though I really haven’t been. I’ve had some tell me to walk in my healing, even though I’m still in pain, denying the pain, though it remains. They’ve commanded me to walk around the church, when I can barely hold myself up, let alone make a trek around the church. I’ve been told to ignore my pain, and though I’m in excruciating pain, I should repeat over and over, “I am healed.”  Jesus never told anyone to deny their condition. He always deals in truth.  

Therefore, I am left with this realization… I am a lot like the father in this story. I desperately want to believe that Jesus will heal me, but I’m not sure that He will… Though I believe that He can, what if it’s not His will to heal me?

22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:22-24 — NLT ~

In the beginning of this study, Jesus asked the blind men, “Do you believe I can make you see?” (Matthew 9:28 — NLT) Later, He told the father of the demonized boy, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?.. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  (Mark 9:23 — NLT ) Therefore, in light of this study, I will join with  the boy’s father, tell ing the Lord, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 — NLT)

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers


All bible references are taken from Bible Gateway. Do you want to look up a scripture, but can’t remember where to find it? Try finding it on Bible Gateway, a wonderful website that includes many different bible versions, study aids and helps. Bible Gateway is a great resource for all believers to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

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