God did a deep work in my life last fall when I was knocked flat by staph infection following hip-replacement surgery. The infectious disease specialist informed me that they were not only fighting for my hip, but also my life. At that moment it was as though Jesus suddenly sat down beside me and said, “You are going to be alright!”
Peace flooded my very being, even though in some ways I knew I was in the fight of my life, for God’s will to be accomplished through me. As I rested in that peace, Jesus spoke again and said, “I mean, alright! Alright in ways you don’t even understand – I mean ALL RIGHT!”
In the next days following a second surgery and with tubes flowing powerful, even potentially deadly, antibiotics directly into my femur and pelvis, I became too weak to pick up a cup of water. I was too weak to resist anything God might want to accomplish. Although I was too weak to pick up the Bible, God brought to my mind Isaiah chapter 58 revealing I was to truly become His fruitful garden and there were weeds in my life that could become deadly, painful briars and explode any moment just as that staph infection did in my hip. I found myself coming into total agreement with God – no resisting! He made it clear if it concerned Him, it must concern me as deeply as it did Him. In that agreement, He rooted out issues and dealt with problems I had previously dismissed as “that’s just the way it is” or “that’s just the way I am.”
He convicted me of not taking every thought captive, obedient to Christ. I had not allowed Him to supernaturally deal with all my natural appetites. Even though God had often convicted me about it, I craved sugar and unhealthy food which had led to borderline type 2 diabetes complicating my battle with infection. I found myself yielding to His will and saying, “Root it out.” I believe He did beyond my greatest hope. He dealt with issues all the way to the root. I was under control because He was in control. It was supernatural – a work only God can do – a miracle indescribable and full of His grace and glory.
He made it clear I was to also obey His command to lift my voice like a trumpet calling the nation and His people – the church – to repentance, freedom, fullness and fruitfulness. We are to live personally and as the family of faith according to the steps found in Isaiah 58. Together, we, as individuals and believers, become God’s garden, releasing the river of life and love freely while rebuilding the walls and restoring the age-old foundations. He made it clear I was to fear no man and brought specific verses in Acts chapter 20 to my mind. As the Apostle Paul said, “I must live, warning everyone day and night, with tears. I am to hold back nothing profitable for anyone and that I am to live my life bound in the spirit headed for the highest places of authority and influence with His truth, even if bonds and affliction await me. He is my deliverer, my rock, my fortress, my high tower, shield of faith, my helmet, the shelter from the storm and safety is found in His shadow and under His wings.”
We must, as believers, stand together against the forces of evil, deception, defeat and destruction and pierce the darkness, storming the gates of hell. We must seek together to become an answer to the prayer of Jesus in John chapter 17. We are to be one with the Father as Jesus is and one with each other, perfected in supernatural unity. Herein will the world know we are His disciples because of our love for Him and for each other, allowing Him to be exalted above all as the only hope for this world.
We are sent as sheep in the midst of wolves, but we are to fear no evil. We have the Shepherd who will protect us, provide for us, direct our steps and prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. He will anoint our minds, overflow us with His presence, with His goodness, mercy and love following us all the days of our lives, now and forever.
It is a sin for us to allow the systems and influences of mere men, however talented or powerful they may be, to negatively influence others to trust in man, look to man, make the flesh their arm, or trust false hope as they did in the Old Testament. God’s people trusted in Pharaoh and returned to the shadow of Egypt (Old Testament types and shadows of false hope, manmade systems and substitutes for trusting God and truly caring for others.) God forgive us, because God’s own people have not repented, humbled themselves, prayed, and forsaken evil ways, allowing Him to heal our land. God is so anxious to make us whole and He alone knows the way. It is as though many Christians have kept their relationship with God a secret. May He forgive us. He has forgiven me! I am more excited about Him, His will and His ways than I have ever been. I trust God I will not be distracted or deterred! I am asking you to prayerfully join Betty and me along with our LIFE Outreach family to help turn the tide, to rebuild the walls and restore the only solid foundation…the Rock of His word, His truth and His will returning us to the faith of our Fathers.
As Isaiah chapter 58 says, we are to feed the hungry and care for those in need, not only around the world, but also inspire effective care here at home. We will provide shelter for the storms of life and clothe the naked both physically and spiritually. We will see Him answer our prayers, as we relieve the oppressed, watching Him meet our needs and those of others. If we want our prayers answered, we should seek to be an answer to someone’s prayers. Our outreach to the poor, hungry, thirsty, abused and suffering has not changed. It is about to expand even more in the power of His might, as His people stand together in faith, freedom and fullness only He can give. Prayers will be answered as we seek to be an answer to the prayers of others.
Do not misinterpret what you read or hear me saying as some meaningless attempt to organize a power base. I am talking about the release of God’s power and influence that will have a positive effect on every base of power and every earthly influence. “It is not by might nor by power, but by His spirit.” Those who truly love God and their neighbor can help lead the church, the United States, and others out of this present darkness into the transforming light of His liberating truth.
I am convinced our country is headed in the wrong direction, but we will never solve our nation’s problems by mere political activism, however fervent. There are some who erroneously think that necessary changes can be made as a result of voting in the right people. Believers and people of principle can make a difference, but they will never alone make the necessary difference. The challenges we face are beyond anything that human energy, intellect or enterprise can change. Repentance is essential. Consider the fact that nearly 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since Roe vs. Wade. The prophet Isaiah said there are reasons our prayers are not answered. “Their feet run to evil and they hasten to shed innocent blood….” We know this fact breaks the heart of God the Father and should break the heart of every Christian. The church standing together in the power of God’s love can change hearts and minds leading to the protection of the innocent unborn.
Make no mistake, any supposition that some candidate, administration, political power or party can solve the problems of our nation and bring about a much-needed level of righteousness is to be gripped by the most horrible, self-righteous notion you could possibly imagine. Although Christians should be informed and actively involved, we will not change the nation by means of political strategies. God’s Word makes it clear: we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers in the spiritual realm. No political agenda can bring about the desperately needed changes; that’s the flesh and blood level. It is in the spiritual dimension of prayer and a return to unshakable principles that can only be inspired by the church rising in strength and power far beyond ourselves. This is the real possibility for positive change! When this happens, we will witness as a result of repentance – a return to solid principles, legitimate walls of protection, and the restoration of the only solid foundation. Changed people change the course of men and nations. If the church doesn’t stand up, assume their God-given responsibility as salt and light in this earth, true freedom will step down. Our nation’s founders understood we are to live with an understanding of “the law of nature and the law of nature’s God.”
Some may misunderstand, resist and even criticize my zeal and concern for the church and our nation. I must ask, as the Apostle Paul did, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” I hope not, I pray not because I love you, and in His strength I will love all enemies, critics and accusers. But I cannot hold back. “His word is shut up in my bones like a burning fire and I’m weary of holding it in.” If you bear witness with what God has done in my heart and life while I was flat on my back physically, please pray for us and be assured your support is what makes it possible for us reach so many people in need physically and spiritually. I feel certain the prayers of concerned friends have helped bring me to this place in my life. From the bottom of my heart I say, “Thank you and thank God.”