The Full Ripe Fruit a poem by J. Kirkpatrick
A Testimony of Healing by N. Bixler
I Call Him Lord by K. Keating
"Taking the Back Seat"
Praise the Lord for His bountiful goodness to all of us. The fall season is truly upon us. The nip in the air reminds us that the bountiful harvest is soon coming.
We rejoice in the summer heat He has brought us through. Everywhere we travel we hear how the Lord has been putting His people through the summer heat. Praise the Lord that He loves us so much! *** Hebrews 12:5-6.
We spent a very fruitful time at home with our Spiritual family this past month. We were super-busy getting planning for the coming school year established. Now we are back on the road and spending some much needed time of rest and quiet.
Please be with us in prayer for the Body at this time. Many are being stripped of earthly ties and material things, Praise the Lord! We need to hold up the hands that hang down. The Lord is truly strengthening us for the coming days ahead. He is training and preparing us to totally trust in Him. Praise the Lord for the wondrous works He is doing!
As we observe each beautiful flower come into its beauty and glory, each detail so uniquely perfect in color, observe how God has equipped each with its own distinctive traits, hardiness and protection.
To get to this point of beauty was no easy task. Many storms hammered away at them. With the heat of the day, some withered and stopped growing. Circumstances trampled some beyond their capability to survive. The winds of adversity bowed some low.
As the time of maturity approaches, our form is changing. We are shedding the petals of growth and beauty. The inner core, where the seed has been nourished and protected is becoming more and more apparent.
Thank you Lord for plucking away all the immaturity, all the weaknesses, even the shortcomings in our lives that hinder our growing into reproducible fruit.
The Lord has told me that my body is His temple. He can not work through His temple if it is weak. Fat weakens the mind as well as the body.
I have prayed many times for the Lord to help me lose weight. He has done His best, but I just did not listen at 190 pounds. He knew my desire was to lose weight so that I could do His work in the best possible way.
He did a great work in me. He allowed stones to form in my Gall-Bladder. At first, I was able to keep it under control just by staying away from greasy and spicy foods, which allowed me to lose 20 pounds. But the Lord was not done with me yet.
A sharp pain went across the top of my stomach and caused me to be real weak. We assumed it was the flu. I was so weak, I was in bed for three or four days. The ninth day, Rick, my husband, noticed my skin was yellow. He called the doctor as soon as he could, because that was the Lord's sign that there was more to my illness than we thought.
The doctor's office was closed the next day which was Thursday. So, he called Friday and we got to see the doctor that day. He told us, in a joking sort of way, that it was not Yellow Jaundice. He took blood samples, set up an appointment for 10 days later, and set me up to get X-rays at the hospital on the following Tuesday. He talked as though it was possible to pass the stones without an operation.
We went to have X-rays taken. They did not turn out because of the Jaundice in my system. Between the doctor and the hospital, the decision was made to have an Ultra Sound done. They found the Gall-stones.
Because of the lack of communication between the doctor and the hospital, I was sent home instead of the doctor's office. (This is where the Lord showed me how important communication is in any job He gives me. I pray that He helps me in this area, because it could cause someone their LIFE - physically or Spiritually. I almost lost my physical life, only to gain a precious Spiritual walk with God!
The next day, after the Ultra Sound, I had the most pain. That was the day I allowed fear to come in; fear of having to have an operation. I got emotional because of the fear. It only lasted for a few hours, because I took it all to the LORD as soon as I realized what I had allowed. God is not a God of fear. The second I took it to the Lord, He took the fear away, along with the hard pain. I could relax with the Lord again. PRAISE THE LORD! HE CARES FOR ME.
Nine days later, at our set appointment (10:00 A.M.), the doctor was very upset about the lack of communication. He said it was very important to have the operation soon. Every day that passed would make my chances for living less.
He immediately made some phone calls and set us up to see a surgeon that could get me into the hospital immediately. I was at the surgeon's office by 2:00 P.M. the same day. God chose this surgeon. He was the only surgeon that could operate soon enough to save my life. I know God picked him. He was very nice to Rick and I. He told us what had to be done and why. He was soft spoken and encouraging.
Late that afternoon, I was in the hospital, weighing 163 pounds. As I was waiting to be rolled into the operating room, one of the doctors told me I had high cholesterol. He said it was over 400 and that I was close to having a heart attack.
While I was recovering from the operation, the Lord put upon my sister-in-law's heart to give enough money to us to fulfill our needs at the time. God provides all our needs. Not what we think we need, but what He knows we need.
Three days later, when I was released from the hospital, I was given a low cholesterol diet to follow.
Again, the LORD was telling me to watch what I ate. As you can see, I have reaped what I have sown. I have defiled God's Temple with all the wrong foods. Now He is making me see what I have done.
The LORD has shown me to eat good, healthy foods; plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals, very lean meats; sparingly, not every meal. He has me, also, reading about what foods are healthy and what foods are not.
Seven weeks from the time it all began, at 160 pounds, I am still a little sore and still PRAISING THE LORD. He was and is in total control. It all happened in His time and in His way, all to His Glory for all the marvelous things that He has done!
Before my husband and myself were married, we consulted with the pastors of our church, attended a few marriage seminars and listened to tapes concerning godly marriages. By the time of our marriage, we were sure that the Lord had blessed our union. We were also fairly sure that we understood what "submission to authority" was and what both of our positions would be in the marriage. It is funny how, when you get just a little bit too sure of yourself, the Lord has His way of showing you just exactly where you are.
I married Craig with full knowledge that he was believing God for major healing in the areas of uncontrolled epilepsy and severe dyslexia. I think I should explain the gravity of these problems. Craig was disabled from the age of three years. It was because of these disabilities that he was placed in a mental hospital when he was only 4 years old. Craig remained in institutions for the next 10 years. I met him when he was 18 years old and my first impression of him was that he was a person pretending to be normal. As to what normal was, I was not sure he knew. After all those years with only workers and inmates as companions, he was not real sure which behavior was the norm, the inmates (his peers) or the workers. We became friends and remained so for ten years before we even let ourselves think about a relationship of marriage.
When we were married, I was working. Craig was unable to hold a regular job because he was having seizures. Sometimes, he would have as many as three and four per day. We worked together at our church in the out reach ministry delivering food and clothing to the needy in our community. Our days were filled with work for the Lord and He truly blessed the work of our hands. Working together was a blessing for me. When I had to go to my regular 9 to 5 job, I had to work really hard at releasing the care of Craig's health to the Lord. I never knew how I would find him when I returned home at night.
I began to take over some of the control in the home. It was just something I fell into. It all happened to subtly that I did not realize what was happening. I was taking over the headship of the home, causing it to be out of Godly order. I was never a person to take control. However, someone had to do it. When we made trips to the doctor, Craig was not able to communicate his needs very clearly, so I would go in with him to "help". When we would go shopping, I would have to keep my eyes on him and stay at his die, in case there were any problems. Where did my trust in God go?
Craig was so helpful through it all. He took over the house keeping and the gardening. He did every thing he could do to make things easier for me. Although we both realized what was happening, we were powerless to come out of it. We spent much time in prayer and the Lord would show us how to lift one another up. Our love was so strong, we never doubted for one moment, that the Lord would bring us through. However, there were times that I allowed myself to become frenzied.
One night we were alone in our home, the power and the telephone went out due to a storm. Craig was not feeling well. He had had three to four seizures that day. Sometime after dark, he fell into a really bad grand mal seizure. He was going from one seizure into another, his lips were blue. I began to scream at God, "Lord, You promised us long life if we honored our parents we have done that. You said that by Your stripes we are healed. You promised that if we considered the poor, that You would keep us alive." I went on and on as I struggled with Craig to prevent him from hurting himself. I pulled him through the house with all my strength, screaming at God at the same time. "Are You there Abba" are You with me?" And suddenly, in His still small voice, He told me He had never left me. He had just been waiting for me to stop screaming and listen. I was still pulling Craig, trying to get to the door in the dark. He said, "My hands are stronger than yours, let go." I stopped in my tracks, I let go. Craig's body relaxed. I helped him to his feet and took him to the hospital singing Psalms of joy and rejoicing all the way. I knew that my god really was greater than anything that I would ever face now. The hospital checked him over and released him.
On the way home, Craig slept and I meditated on the evenings happenings. I asked the Lord how to let go and He said, "Take the back seat". I thought about that. It is real hard to drive from the back seat. I said, "Lord, with Your help, I can do it because I know that Your hands are stronger than mine. I remember when I gave You my life, it was because I was making a mess of it and You took over and my life became a beautiful gift. I gave You my children and they gave You their hearts. Yes, Lord, I can give You Craig all the way, not just part."
It took time, but in my daily prayer, I would release him, his life, his health, all of him, even our relationship and the cares of it. God began to make His changes in us. It was a miracle. Craig began to walk in a God-given strength and authority with a new boldness that only Jesus could have placed in him. Letting go really had its merits. Now I would really begin to understand the depth of my prayers.
Craig began to take his place and as he did, I began to realize what "letting go" meant. The smallest things were large releases for me. I released control of doing business for him. We would have a meeting with our pastors and they would automatically address me, as they had become used to. We had to retrain them to address Craig. I would look to Craig and he would answer the questions that had been addressed to me. After several patient months of doing this, they began to get the idea and addressed him automatically. They never realized what had happened. The process has been very gradual as the Lord knew that was the only way we could do it. His timing is so perfect. We are consistently going through this letting go process.
When it came to praying, that was the hardest letting go. I was used to leading in prayer because words had come hard to him. The Lord showed me that my prayer of agreement, and his leading through Craig, was a much better order for our prayer time. I began to take the back seat and Craig began to lead. At first, it was really hard to keep my mouth shut and just be in agreement. I knew what I wanted to pray, but I was determined to submit, not just through obedience to God, but through true heart-felt submission in His loving nature. I decided to pray alone for our prayer time together, confessing over my husband that "out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, God has perfected praise". Our prayer time became a joy.
Often we have to take long drives. It is 72 miles to the nearest city from our desert home. Craig takes off in prayer, with me in agreement, and he now has the words to keep us continually in prayer until we get to the city. In fact, he never seems at a loss for words any more. I weep with joy because I know our prayer in agreement is mighty for the pulling down of strongholds. God is so good. He causes us to be more than conquerors. We are so blessed.
Just last week, after counseling some folks in our home, we looked at each other in astonishment at the discussion we had had and the questions that Craig had asked. He had really conducted the session. We marvel at how the Lord has brought us to this place. I feel such a rest and peace in allowing my husband to be the Spiritual leader. Godly order has been restored to our home. It is amazing what God can do with a submissive heart.
You will notice I said submissive and not obedient. We can be obedient and stubbornly angry, balking all the way. But when submission comes, love enters the picture and it is the heart's desire that accomplishes the task with joy. Today my husband is healed of dyslexia and the seizures are controlled by medication.
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