A help to many, including me

It took a truck to deliver the 10 pizzas, since the motorcycle deliverer couldn’t manage them all. So here came the owner in his vehicle. And right on time, too.

The pizzas were part of our going-away party, after church, for our son Joel, his wife Tansy, and our two grandchildren. (The fact that they’re the children of our son and daughter-in-law is incidental, understand.) They spent 11 months living down the street from us and will be returning this week to the U.S., as planned.

This was the first time we’ve had grandchildren living near us. It was a grand experience. They were able to see us in our home setting, rather than a few days visiting in their home once a year or so, and then gone again. Continue reading “A help to many, including me”

Upward

The graceful way that a climbing vine wraps itself around the ribs of a trellis is a cause for admiration.

However, this visual delight does not happen automatically. After a week away from home, I went outside to see how my flowers fared in my absence. A beautiful “Blue Picotee” morning glory was blooming low to the ground on the white arbor.

I wondered at first why the vine had not grown much, as it had been just as tall a week earlier. Upon further inspection, I saw the long stem bunched up near the base of the arbor, rather than climbing up the side.

The casual observer of a beautiful trellis with a climbing plant often does not realize that the plant may have had a little bit of help. Continue reading “Upward”

Rapid Rescue

by Tim Hall
In times of need, God’s response time is impressive.
Fifty-two miles per hour doesn’t impress many people these days, unless that’s the speed of a large naval vessel.
And that’s what the Associated Press now reports: A new class of warships are posting speeds of about 44-45 knots (52 mph). The best speeds previously have been about 35 knots. Yes, that’s quite an improvement.
Is speed really so important for ships of this size? Faster ships might overtake the pirates we’ve been reading about off the coast of northern Africa.
A swifter Navy would also be able to respond to critical hot spots around the world more promptly. There are many reasons why the Navy is interested in greater speed.
The Army has also been investing in faster vehicles. One example is the Stryker armored combat vehicle. This eight-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle can move a few troops to inaccessible areas at speeds of just over 60 mph.
Speed can make a huge difference in critical situations.
When discussing rapid rescue, however, you can’t top the Lord. Consider the case of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The prophet Isaiah had been dispatched to tell Hezekiah that his illness would be terminal. Make preparations for your death. Upon hearing the news, the king fell into fervent prayer.
Before Isaiah had left the palace courtyard, God sent him back to deliver a more encouraging message. In response to his prayer, God would extend Hezekiah’s life another fifteen years. Anyone would admit that was a rapid rescue. (You can read this incident in 2 Kings 20.)
Daniel also experienced the rapid response of the Lord. As he prayed for his people who were still in exile in Babylon, an angel was sent to him with God’s response.
“O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved …” (Daniel 9:22,23, NKJV).
How can God respond so rapidly? Jesus explained in Matthew 6:8 “… For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him.”
One disclaimer must be made: Though God has the power to respond at blindingly fast speeds, he sometimes chooses to take longer than we expect.
Jesus’ parable about the persistent widow pointed to this fact. He taught that God hears His people, though sometimes “… he bears long with them” (Luke 18:7).
As we pour out our petitions to the Lord, let us be sure that God knows our needs and has the ability to provide rapid rescue.
Sometimes, though, that rescue may be prolonged. But in his time God “will avenge his own elect who cry out day and night to him, though he bears long with them” (Luke 18:7).

Christians and Mental Illness

by Richard Mansel

Her public demeanor exudes happiness and smiles. However, her private world, shrouded in darkness and dread, lays behind locked doors. She is terrified that her Christian family will discover her mental problems.

Her church had been there for her during her and her families’ surgeries and yet, she is afraid of what they might say about her secret problems.

She has heard some of them scoff at mental illness as evidence of a weak faith and a lack of toughness. She worries that maybe they are correct.

She tries to pray and read the Bible enough and yet nothing seems to help. Her worldly friends beg her to get help, but they do not understand. She struggles on.

Where did Christians get the idea that mental and emotional illnesses were a result of a lack of faith, weakness, laziness, or a sign of sin? How many Christians have we driven away from the Lord because of our heartless words and actions?

It is a travesty that we have created this environment of pain and fear!

Brethren are suffering in silence because they are frightened others will accuse them of weaknesses or worse. Either they clandestinely get help or they avoid it altogether.

When they need a support system the most, they find only silence and smirks. We will pray for people’s physical illnesses and surgeries, but we dare not mention mental illnesses.

Sometimes Christians go to visit people out of town while they are actually in a psychiatric facility. They fear reprisals if they admit the truth.

Why will we allow brethren to suffer from physical illnesses but not mental illnesses? This is like saying that a Christian can suffer from a painful right knee but if they admit that their left knee pains them, they have a weak faith.

Why are they told to, “Get over it?” Why is this not the answer to cancer or a brain tumor? Would we not fire a doctor who told a patient that they had cancer, but denied them treatment, telling them to “get over it?”

Mental and emotional illnesses are real, and we must begin acknowledging this very soon. We inherit problems and we have chemical imbalances that we just cannot get over or ignore. They are not our fault. We were born with them, yet, we must pretend they do not exist.

A friend’s doctor told him concerning his bipolar disorder, “You can no more will away a brain chemical imbalance than you can will away high blood pressure.”

“Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44.”/1

God does not have these prejudices. He knows and understands everything about us (Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 10:30, et al). His arms are always open and ready to comfort, whether anyone else’s are or not. He never shuns us nor ridicules us for a medical condition.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1,2).

We must create an environment where brethren feel safe to ask for prayers and to be who they are. However, when we bully them into denial and fear, we deny them the blessings of being in a church family.
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1/ http://tinyurl.com/37udom