FIT@50Week 94: Approaching the New Year Happily

FIT@50Week 94: Approaching the New Year Happily

Saturday Stretch: When the greatest threat is yourself

Smiling Old LadySaturday Stretch: When the greatest threat is yourself

The love God shows me is undeserved, yet unconditional. Each year I reflect on my son’s birthday and the circumstances surrounding it. The lesson of grace was shown to me that night, so I share it with you today.

My son’s birth delivery came fast and complicated. Down syndrome was the blessing yet unknown at the time. Having zero experience with it—the depth of despair was deep. I hadn’t known sadness that intense since my mother passed away 7 years earlier.

I was so angry with God, and refused to acknowledge Him.
Later that same evening I called to check on test results for someone very dear to me. I sobbed as I shared the Down syndrome diagnosis.

Then I was asked the question still seared into my soul, “Can you cry some more?” How do you answer that? How does a person possess the capacity once drained of hope, to only know more sorrow?

The test results confirmed earlier fears. This dear sweet teenager would lose their sight. A cruel eye disease, RP, had already taken away most of it.

Have you ever ached so deeply in your core that speech escaped you? Have you ever wanted to surrender this life, but were too afraid to even consider it? Have you ever wanted to shake your clenched fist at God, but were unable to move your hands from your silently screaming face?

I wanted to yell at God, and tell Him how much I hated Him for what He did. I didn’t even have the will to move forward much less start a fight. I was choked with sorrow, hate, and defeat.

I uttered something incoherent about leaving. Trapped in a hospital special care unit with no idea where to go, I needed out. I was about to implode and needed solitude.

Stepping onto the elevator, there was a much older lady alone in the deepest corner. I feared the rage in my face would alarm her, so I bowed my head in the other direction.

“How are you son?”

I began to cry. She wasn’t much taller than five feet, yet she reached up and laid my head onto her shoulder. She was silent as I wept.

“Your mother was strong. You don’t have to be,” She sweetly replied.

“You knew my mom?” She didn’t know her.

She told the story of being in the hospital because her husband had fallen during the trip down from Ohio for their anniversary. Said they met here during the war.

We walked together through the empty lobby and toward the hall leading to the guest hotel rooms. Her spirit was gentle and I’d not realized laughter had replaced my tears.

“I’m Waverly,” she said. Her flat Ohio-accent sounded familiarly like the southern drawl of my mother’s voice. Have you ever smelled the sweet aroma of sound?

She lingered at the hallway’s entrance, and hugged me once it became obvious she had no husband there.

“I love you,” she said. Walking away, Waverly disappeared into the empty hallway. Peace, I had peace.

As strong, highly trained, and full of fury I was for wanting a battle with God—He sent a fragile, sweet old angel to open my clenched fists.

God can take your questions, your anger, your shame and your sin. He showed mercy to me in that darkest moment, and healed my shattered spirit with the darling embrace and voice of an angel named Waverly.

Thank you for allowing me to share, and May God bless and protect you—even when your greatest threat is to yourself.

Benefits of Genuine Worship | Part 4

NOTE: This is the last in the 4-part series of Walter Bright’s “Benefits of Genuine Worship.” I trust it has blessed you, as it does me. Our Police Chaplain Ronnie Melancon will be back in action next week, but please continue to share and support Walter Bright’s ministry.
 

Worship increases spiritual strength and endurance in the life of the worshiper

Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the

Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I find myself in that place of exhaustion. Sometimes I lack the courage and strength to make progress.  But through worship life begins to make sense again.

Speaking to a group of weary and fainting believers, the Hebrews writer encouraged them to “lift your drooping hands and strengthen weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint.”

Lifting drooping hands speak of a place of exhaustion, yet it is indicative of the fact that strength and power comes through hands being lifted up in worship (Moses / Ex. 17:12).

Weak knees also speak of a place of exhaustion, but it remains true that if we would but bow our knees in worship, waiting on the Lord, he will show up to increase our strength so that we can walk and not faint, run and not grow weary, mount up on wings like eagles.

 

Worship creates an atmosphere for miracles, signs and wonders to happen

If you don’t believe it, try throwing a pity party. The fact here is that Paul and Silas had all the right reasons to complain and throw a pity party: They loved the Lord, they were serving him, but here they were in shackles in a Roman prison.

Acts 16:24-26 says, “Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken.

And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”

We must always in good times or bad – happy or sad, make a choice to worship. Doors may not always fly open for us like it did for Paul and Silas, but when we choose to worship and not complain, it will create an atmosphere for him to move, commune, dwell or encourage.

Worship embeds deep within our hearts a Peace that surpasses understanding

If you’ve ever met anyone with a praise still on their lips even though they may be going through a trying time – than you have met the fulfillment of Philippians 4:7.

That person may be down to their last dime, with unpaid bills, yet they have a peace that surpasses understanding. Philippians 4:7 says, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This person understands that there is a problem. He is not in denial of the lack he has or the pain he is feeling. It is not a blind faith that they told us we needed to have – ignore the problem or act as if it is not there.

No, we “understand” that the problem is there, and the only think that is keeping us from losing our minds is the peace of God.

This is a supernatural peace that comes from God and it’s activated by being anxious for nothing, but in everything making our needs known to God through worship, prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.

When we come into God’s presence leaning on the giver and not the gift and the lack thereof, he drops this supernatural peace deep down in our hearts.

The most beautiful thing about it is – it guards our hearts and minds. It keeps us from losing our minds.

I hope this was a blessing to you!

Benefits of Genuine Worship/ Part 4