Be Careful What You Pray For!!!
This is a testimony about prayer. God answers prayer. Praise Jesus' holy name! The story I tell here is a call to pray according to God's will, because what happened to me is an example of what can happen when praying contrary to the will of God. Therefore "Be Careful What You Pray For!"
It was July 2007 when I was near the end of writing a testimony about how God has watched over me and helped through my trials of life. One of those trials for me began on July 25, 2007 after I discovered the air cushion that I use on my wheelchair had a leak, caused by a broken valve stem (I was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident at age 20 and my testimony can be read at http://www.fmh-child.org/PilgrimsProgress.html). Each time the air would leak out of the cushion, I was determined to transfer off of my wheelchair so I could release the valve on the cushion and allow air to fill it back up and sit comfortably again. The air leak had become progressively worse, until the air was only lasting for a few minutes after a refill. After a couple of days of this, my "pastor" observed what was taking place and declared, "The Lord wants you to sit on that cushion without air" - meaning a deflated cushion (Brother Bruce Hallman is the "janitor and president" and pastor of the FMH Children's Club International School of Prophets).
When Brother Bruce added that this was God's way of getting to the fear I had of having skin breakdown on my backside I listened and acknowledged that I did have this fear, rooted in me through "original sin" - or my "fallen nature" (Romans 8:6-7) - or "sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3). After a few weeks of sitting on the flat cushion (which was painful some days) I fell faint of continuing the course, and took on an "attitude" (a rebellious, wrong thought) saying in my mind, "Just let me get a pressure sore so I can be admitted to the hospital and be done with it [this test of faith]!" (Note: A pressure ulcer forms when the skin and tissues are starved of blood flow - and therefore oxygen - from continued weight bearing on an area of the body, especially over "bony prominences").
It's necessary to provide some background information about how I had the fear of suffering skin breakdown and a pressure sore. In the early part of 1988 I went with a group of high school friends to a Chili's restaurant in Houston so we could celebrate our friend Eric's return home from three years of Army service. We got a booth, had drinks, and visited with each other there, and when we were about ready to leave I began moving toward the edge of the booth to transfer back onto my wheelchair. That's when I landed on the wooden frame of the booth with a thud: "Ouch! I didn't feel pain, because I don't have full sensation since having a motorcycle accident and a spinal injury - the "ouch" was knowing it was a heavy "hit" and the body takes such hits as insults and the signs of injury normally begin to manifest (pain, swelling, etc). Not good! I drank a bottle of beer before dropping myself on the booth's frame at the restaurant and therefore I had not been paying good attention to my transfer as I would have if I were sober (I surrendered my life to the Lord in 1994 and gave up all recreational drug use). (See "Marijuana: The Weed God" @ http://www.fmh-child.org/WeedGod.html for Holy Spirit insight on how recreational drugs - which includes alcohol - numbs us to the voice and works of the Spirit of God and opens us up to the voice and works of the devil.) The moral of this night's event is that alcohol consumption sometimes comes with a great price, even costing one his life, and one's eternal life. The beer drinking caused me to pay a big price, by the careless and subsequent injury that night. I made another mistake by choosing to go with my friends over to my closest friend's apartment to party for a couple more hours.
The 1988 injury to my backside left me with chronic (long term) pain. This made sitting for more than 30 minutes very difficult for me, and being a person with paraplegia (total or complete paralysis of two limbs) I was presented with a big obstacle to my everyday living. But pain wasn't the only thing I was dealing with, because the pain caused me to FEAR! And the thing that was the "fuel" for my fear was that when I felt pain, I feared that my skin would break down or it was breaking down, that would result in a pressure sore (dicubitus ulcer). After I bought an air cushion and began sitting on it, I felt more peace of mind about sitting more than half an hour because of better weight distribution (reduced pressure on bony sitting areas) than with foam or "jel" cushions I had used.
The cushion I was sitting on was less than a year and a half old, and it contained a foam base in the front that helps support the legs when sitting (I would turn the cushion around when airless so that the foam would provide some cushion for my backside). It was my sitting-transferring injury at the restaurant booth in back in 1988 that brought back fear of sitting on an airless cushion, especially since the Lord wanted me to do it in order to face my "fear" – and crucify some of my "sinful flesh". In December 2008 the Lord sent me to Houston to celebrate Christmas with my mother and witness to the Spanish pastor who was used of the Lord to help me move to El Paso near the end of 2004. By then I had finished twenty (20) months of sitting on my airless cushion (from July 2007 through December 2008) which I regard as something that is physically impossible for me to do in my present condition – but God ("With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible" - Mark 10:27). During the week I was at my mother's house I struggled with incontinence (seemingly brought on by the 2 Dr. Peppers I drank to get me energized to make the El Paso bus and airport connections on route to Houston) and therefore resorted to adult diapers to deal with the wetness. This led to the onset on my skin breakdown, as weight-bearing on wet clothes dramatically increases the stress on the skin. After spending a week with my mother I returned to El Paso and within the next several days began to notice profuse sweating from my right leg when I sat in my chair, so much so that my pant's leg quickly became soaked with sweat. This was a strange occurrence and especially to see just one (1) leg sweat. I knew this was a way the body sends a message that something is wrong, but there was nothing else that I could see or feel which would cause me to suspect what it might be. It wasn't until February 14, 2009 – seven (7) weeks from the time I returned from my visit to Houston – that I was using my right hand to wash off in the shower when I discovered a relatively large wound on my back side. I was astonished. "How could this be???" I asked myself. I couldn't understand how I could have missed finding the wound for so many days, and so many showers. But I knew the sore had to have been there for a while – due to its size – and due to my right leg sweating so much in the weeks since my return from Houston. I didn't know how this could happen, but THERE IT WAS!!! The Lord gave Brother Bruce a word for me, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." - Job 3:25 (KJV)
What was more shocking than this to me was the thought of trusting God for the method and time in which to deal with the wound I now had. Since my Brother Bruce does my clothes washing for me, he had earlier pointed out a ring-shaped spot on my underwear. I thought the spots were only fluid spotting following my trips to the bathroom. It hadn't occurred to me or Brother Bruce that the spot we saw was a sign of skin breakdown. After I found the wound Brother Bruce gave me a Bible verse that Jesus gave him for me:
"Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead." - John 12:1 (KJV)
Now I did receive a measure of comfort from this verse, because I received (accepted) it as a word from God for my life. However, thinking about the fact it talked about Lazarus being dead and then raised from the dead was a bit scary! Though I knew the Lord could very well be saying something else through this verse than God talking about me being "dead" and "raised" from the dead (resurrection) TOO, I couldn't see anything else in it at the time. But even with the thought of dying, I thought to myself that if this was God's chosen method of using me to bring glory to his name, then I must let it be. I would not have the understanding of this verse in John 12 for my life until the end of my faith trial, when I would learn it was meant as a word of confirmation of the course (more on that at the end of this writing).
The Lord ministered to me in dramatic fashion after I found myself in fear thinking the worst of my wound with the thought that people sometimes die from runaway pressure sores that become badly infected. It was approximately 3 a.m. on the morning of Friday, March 13, 2009 when my desperate prayer went out to the Lord. Circumstances that led up to this heart-cry included, a poor appetite and at times feeling death would be better than the sickness I had to endure. It was the "midnight hour", both literally and figuratively. The Lord answered quickly. It came in a phrase from Chariots Of Fire (1981). This movie tells the real-life story of Scottish missionary Eric Liddell, who ran to victory while refusing to compromise his convictions in the 1924 Paris Olympics. In the chosen scene of the movie the Lord used to speak to me in the dark, Liddell's character is in preparation for his Olympic experience by running in a European track meet in order to qualify for the international competition. After a winning performance in the "quarter mile" (400 meter) event he draws a group of spectators who he encourages to "run a straight race" in life through exercising "the love of Christ"). The testimony that the Lord brought to my mind from Eric Liddell's character in the movie focuses on the following quote: "...It [faith] requires concentration of will; energy of soul..."
Two (2) weeks later (Saturday, March 28) I was laying in my bed early on when a strange thought passed through my weary, foggy mind, saying, "The fear of death is passed." This was an uncomfortable and creepy thought for me. I tried to ignore this thought, as I regarded it to mean that I had given up on living this life; that I had lost the desire to live! Then it was after sunset that these words returned to haunt me. At this point in time, the wound was smelly and Brother Bruce was burning a scented candle in the living room to help bear the odor. He was also weak and weary from wound-related anxiety, since he felt responsible for my health and welfare. His appetite had fallen off due to the conditions, too.
The following day was a Sunday, and I shared the strange thought of my mind with Brother Bruce that "The fear of death is passed." Bruce had been waiting to hear from God about what to do in the matter. After he prayed, he knew what was spoken to me was God's word of completion for my life (that my test with the deflated cushion was now over). I, however, did not at first receive these words as being a message from the Lord. It had been a long road, and the thought of the ordeal being over seemed just TOO good to be true! It took a little while for this truth to "sink in" and for me to recognize that God was saying that the waiting was finished. The "word of patience" (word that tries you, Psalm 105:19) had been fulfilled.
After Brother Bruce received understanding of "The fear of death is passed", the Lord took him back to the text of John 12: "Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was..." Jesus told Bruce to COUNT THE DAYS. February 14 - March 29 is 42 days (6 weeks). "Then Jesus six days..." was the confirming word; a faith trial of 6 weeks. Brother Bruce then received instructions from the Lord to contact Brother David, a friend of ours who has a good deal of experience in the medical field. Brother David determined from the appearance of my wound that I needed antibiotics. His recommendation to me was, "Yes, you need to go to the hospital." Brother Bruce helped me get my things together and we were off to check in at the Emergency Room at Sierra Hosptial of El Paso. We hadn't eaten all day, and we stopped at Burger King and ordered a Whopper dinner combo for each of us and were able eat as our appetites had returned.
It was nearly dusk when we arrived at the hospital, and it wasn't long before I was called into the E.R. (Emergency Room). Among the staff there was a senior nurse named Terry, who recorded my medical information and symptoms and asked me how long I'd had the wound. When I told her I'd known about it since February 14, she told me that when I suspect I'm having a problem that I need to come in right away and be checked out. While I appreciated Terry's concern for my bodily health, and also her professional position at the Emergency Room, I was confident that through WAITING on God for His timing that I had honored Him in the matter. "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." - Psalms 118:8 (KJV). (Note: God uses the medical profession. The question that I have is what kind of treatment does the Lord want to happen, and when). After Brother Bruce and I had been in the E.R. for more than an hour it seemed, Bruce spoke a word from the Lord, saying, "Great shall be your reward." Awesome! A moment later I began hearing one of the great choruses from Handel's Messiah in my mind: "And the glory, the glory of the Lord..." - Isaiah 40:5 (KJV). Hearing that sublime chorus was a reward in itself for me. Then I pondered within myself with awe, "I wonder what it [this music] will sound like in Heaven?" That was March 29, and that date carries weight in my life because it points to a Scripture the Lord focused my attention on just a day after I purchased my first Franklin pocket electronic Bible (March 29 = 3:29)...
"He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's VOICE: this my joy therefore is fulfilled." - John 3:29 (KJV)
There are many verses in the Bible that can be used to elaborate on hearing the life-giving, darkness-dispelling "voice of the Bridegroom" (John 3:29). In the Gospel According to John, we read, "In him was life; and the life was the LIGHT of men." - John 1:4 (KJV)
It is through the "light" (voice) of Jesus that the darkness of man dissipates, and he - or she - is SANCTIFIED (which is a life-long process for the Believer). In the Bible the LORD God (Jesus) tells us that His word is light, and is to be our daily "Bread of Life": "But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." - Matthew 4:4 (KJV).
In the Bible God likens sin to things seen in nature, such as "darkness" and "the night" - versus "the day" and "the light" of God's righteousness:
"Ye are all children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness... Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life... Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walketh in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him... Walk in the light..." - 1 Thessalonians 5:5; John 8:12; John 11:9-10; 1 John 1:7 (KJV)
Let's look at a stunning prophecy about the Messiah's sanctifying "light" given to man in Isaiah 40:
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE STRAIGHT IN THE DESERT A HIGHWAY FOR OUR GOD. EVERY VALLEY SHALL BE EXALTED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL SHALL BE MADE LOW: AND THE CROOKED SHALL BE MADE STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH PLACES PLAIN: and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." - Isaiah 40:3-5 (KJV)
The following portion of commentary on the Bible by Albert Barnes relates the historical significance of the opening verses in Isaiah 40 to the time it as given to God's people Israel:
"...The time of the exile at Babylon was about to be completed. Yahweh was about to conduct his people again to their own country through the pathless wilderness, as he had formerly conducted them from Egypt to the land of promise. The prophet, therefore, represents himself as hearing the voice of a herald, or a forerunner in the pathless waste, giving direction that a way should be made for the return of the people. The whole scene is represented as a march, or return of Yahweh at the head of his people to the land of Judea. The idea is taken from the practice of Eastern monarchs, who whenever they entered on a journey or an expedition, especially through a barren and unfrequented or inhospitable country, sent harbingers or heralds before them to prepare the way.
To do this, it was necessary for them to provide supplies, and make bridges, or find fording places over the streams; to level hills, and construct causeways over valleys, or fill them up; and to make a way through the forest which might lie in their intended line of march. This was necessary, because these contemplated expeditions often involved the necessity of marching through countries where there were no public highways that would afford facilities for the passage of an army. Thus Arrian (Hist. liv. 30) says of Alexander, 'He now proceeded to the River Indus, the army' that is, hé stratia, a part of the army, or an army sufficient for the purpose, 'going before, which made a way for him, for otherwise there would have been no mode of passing through that region.' 'When a great prince in the East,' says Paxton, 'sets out on a journey, it is usual to send a party of men before him to clear the way.' - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible [Isaiah 40:3-4]
The next passage of commentary from Matthew Henry speaks of spiritual aspects of Isaiah 40:3-5 that calls for repentance (turning from man's way to God's way) and the deliverance from the bondage of sin ("the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain"):
"...1. The alarm is given; let all take notice of it at their peril; God is coming in a way of mercy, and we must prepare for him, Isa_40:3-5. If we apply it to their captivity, it may be taken as a promise that, whatever difficulties lie in their way, when they return they shall be removed. This voice in the wilderness (divine power going along with it) sets pioneers on work to level the roads. But it may be taken as a call to duty, and it is the same duty that we are called to, in preparation for Christ's entrance into our souls. (1.) We must get into such a frame of spirit as will dispose us to receive Christ and his gospel: "Prepare you the way of the Lord; prepare yourselves for him, and let all that be suppressed which would be an obstruction to his entrance. Make room for Christ: Make straight a highway for him." If he prepare the end for us, we ought surely to prepare the way for him. Prepare for the Saviour; lift up your heads, O you gates! Psa_24:7, Psa_24:9..." - Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible [Isaiah 40:3-8]
And from the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on Isaiah 40:
"...May the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom. What are all that belongs to fallen man, or all that he does, but as the grass and the flower thereof! And what will all the titles and possessions of a dying sinner avail, when they leave him under condemnation! The word of the Lord can do that for us, which all flesh cannot. The glad tidings of the coming of Christ were to be sent forth to the ends of the earth. Satan is the strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger; and he shall proceed, and do all that he purposes. Christ is the good Shepherd; he shows tender care for young converts, weak believers, and those of a sorrowful spirit. By his word he requires no more service, and by his providence he inflicts no more trouble, than he will strengthen them for. May we know our Shepherd's voice, and follow him, proving ourselves his sheep." - Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible [Isaiah 40:1-11]
The Almighty God actually "manifests" himself inside of us. We become one with the Word - written in Greek is homologos ("homo" meaning ONE, "logos" meaning WORD) as we walk in His life-giving word for our lives:
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth in you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you... At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him... Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loveth me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." - John 14:16-18, 20-21, 23-24 (KJV)
One way to demonstrate the Spirit of God manifesting Himself IN the Believer is to look at the construction of buildings in the natural realm around us. Let's say we find a building that is constructed for the purpose of glorifying the prince of darkness (Satan), like a Church of Satan. Well, if we compare the Church of Satan to a human body, the body of a person takes on a design that tends to serve and glorify Satan by the person's actions, just as the dark Church of Satan is designed to do. On the other hand, if the SAME materials that were used to build the Church of Satan were taken and built according to God's design (way - word of instruction) by "walking in the Spirit" then the same materials will serve to glorify God. Therefore the title of the gospel song "Working On A Building" is fitting to describe the righteous walk that brings the suffering that gets rid of "the flesh" and brings in "the Spirit":
"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. BUT if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [give life to] you mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you... For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye though the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God... And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." - Romans 8:10-11,13-14, 17-18 (KJV)
So for those of us who say we believe, a good question to ask ourselves that will give us an indication of our level of belief is "How much of what I do is directed by God?" (Is He my ALL..?)
It's our fallen, human nature that tempts us to take the "path of least resistance", an "easy believism" approach to spirituality. The Believer must "take up his cross" by embracing the suffering of obeying God's voice. As the Scripture says, "If so be that we suffer with him [Christ]" that we will also glory with Him. We must "suffer" in obedience to God's "designer" commands for our lives. Be WILLING to do anything he wants us to do - forsake everything that He wants us to forsake - so we can be changed into the likeness of Christ and re-created in the image of God: Having the mind renewed and full of the Holy Spirit; the "temple" renewed and made a vessel fit for the Master's use. (See “You’ve Asked A Hard Thing Lord!” @ http://www.fmh-child.org/S12.12.04.html for truth on how persecution of the righteous Believer works to crucify the flesh.)
Going back to my hospital experience, I was blessed with the opportunity of meeting and talking to many health care professionals, technicians, and those who deliverer home health care equipment to my house. I was able to talk to a number of them about the Lord’s saving/delivering power that is available through a relationship characterized by obedience to Him. I'm grateful to have met and been served by the qualified staff at Sierra and Triumph hospitals of El Paso, Cloudview Home Health, and the Providence Wound Institute. Glory to His name! It's been a long journey, and as of this writing I'm having challenges with my healing, but the Lord said He would heal me without surgery. He confirmed this by reminding me of a prophetic word given to our ministry we call "Miracles" (http://www.fmh-child.org/Prophecy.html#devil). The last week of October 2009 He gave me absolute confidence that I will be healed again through these words: "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I committed unto him against that day." - 1 Timothy 1:12 (KJV)
I'm confident that my willingness to "suffer" through the test that God ordained for me with the deflated cushion leads toward my complete physical restoration (redemption from the disease of traumatic injury and paraplegia). Within a few years of me giving my life to the Lord, He said to me, "If you will worship God with every area of your life, you will even walk again." He gave me Scripture to confirm this promise:
"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" - Mark 9:23 (KJV)
In closing, I am thankful to the Lord who called me to serve Him, and to grow in patience through my wound experience. Jesus is faithful. He's WORTHY. I'm grateful to be serving Him through a ministry that has helped to bring me to a greater appreciation of the importance of the voice of the Lord. Because by hearkening to His voice (obedience) I - and ALL men and women - can have the light of life (John 1:4).
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." - Galatians 5:16 (KJV)
"For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." - 1 Samuel 2:30 (KJV)
Honor the King...
Alan W. Richardson
January 13, 2010
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For Holy Ghost revelation and information on the vitalness of walking in the Spirit see:
"3 Old Testament Sacrifices (Stages of Salvation)" [Justification, Sanctification, & Glorification] @ http://www.fmh-child.org/FallingStars/salvation.html
"The Anti-Christ Spirit In Pastor Warmath" [for more on "homologos"] @ http://www.fmh-child.org/S6.3.07.html
"The Law Of Liberty Can Set You Free" @ http://www.fmh-child.org/S5.3.09.html
“ALL FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS”
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