Giving: Throwback Thursday

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

All good gifts come from God. Nothing we have worth anything is of our own making. It comes from God. God has the capacity and desire to bring good out of anything, even out of wickedness.

All goods gifts are from God. It’s up to us to make good use of the gifts, and to give thanks to God for generous expressions of love and concern. It’s up to us to respond in our lives with the same generosity God has shown us. The Bible says, “To whom much has been given, much will be expected.” This refers to our time, our talents, and our money. Good stewardship means investing the life God has given you to spread the good news that God loves everyone in Christ Jesus.

One of the most precious gifts we have to give is our time. As the Stewardship insert this month says, “Time is a gift from God, to be used wisely.” Our time is more precious, more valuable, I believe, than our money, though both are important resources.

David Gallagher was the center fielder for the New York Mets. He was a rookie, making the Major League minimum salary, which was a fair amount, but not a fortune. Tragically, his 1-year old son, Cory, was stricken with a deadly disease which required extensive treatment and long hospitalization. The medical bills would be astronomical. What would he do? What would you do?

What Dave Gallagher did was request and receive a 1-month leave of absence, without pay, to be with his son during this difficult time. Our time is more than gold.

As a community of faith, we owe our existence to gifts. It was God’s gift to the world to send Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church, that we might receive life-abundant and eternal. It is the on-going gifts of the Spirit, through faithful people which keeps our ministry alive. As you and others before you have faithfully worshipped God, served this community and has been a part of mission around the world. Each gift adds to what we can do as the body of Christ, to spread the good news of God’s love. Each gift you give is a way of saying thanks for what God has given you.

We have so much to give because God has given us so much. Throughout our lives, we can depend on God who is like a loving Father. God is utterly dependable. When we have a need, we can turn to God and rely on God’s loving response. We may not get what we want, but we will get what we need — and more to share.

 

Bunyan quote - generosity / philanthropy... End of year giving.  Brighten someone's Christmas.

 

 

 

Pray: Throwback Thursday

The following reflection comes from a sermon entitled, “Pray” based on Ephesians 6:10-20 that was delivered August 21, 1994 at Cochranton (PA) Presbyterian Church.

There was an episode of the old television series “30 Something” in which Elliot tries to pray. Elliot was a comic character, always good for a laugh, never too serious about his commitments. He separates from his wife and then discovers she has cancer. Suddenly, he finds himself drawn into a strange, serious world. He desperately wants her to be healed. As she goes to surgery, he searches out a place to pray. This doesn’t come easily. He kneels down beside her bed, but stands back up when he hears voices. He enters the hospital chapel, but leaves when someone looks at him. Finally, he ducks into the Men’s room, goes to an open stall, locks the door behind him, awkwardly kneels beside the stool, and prays.

Prayer has become for many a lost art. It is something that many of us learned when we were young, in Sunday school, at meal time or before going to bed. With time, however, this discipline of prayer can go by the wayside, like other disciplines of youth. We grow older and don’t do it unless we have too, unless someone is watching over us. At times, though, we are drawn, like Elliot, into a battle with physical and spiritual forces that seek to undo us and we desperately seek out God through prayer.

Ephesians describes the context for prayer as a battle ground. There are spiritual forces, wicked rulers, cosmic powers of darkness with which we struggle. These forces are more than a series of misfortunes, these are organized efforts to do us in.

You may have cringed as I did when I read this. I’ve had my fill of people claiming to be in spiritual warfare against the devil. It seems that often the devil becomes anything which opposes their cause or stands in their way.

But there is evil in life and we are foolish to ignore this. There is the evil power of addictions which distract us from caring for ourselves and others. There is the evil rule of violence which destroys the innocent lives of women, children and others. There is the evil force of disease which distorts the health of our bodies. As Christians, we do battle against these evils and if we fail to draw on the strength of God in Christ, they will destroy us.

The Apostle Paul urges the Ephesians to be prepared for this battle, to take up the armor of God in truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit and word of God. Much could be said about each of these, but I want to focus on the last 3 verses of the passage which talk about prayer.

…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  (Ephesians 6:18)

This seems on one level impossibly demanding and on the other, utterly simple. How can you pray at all times? You have to do other things. You have to eat. You have to sleep. You have to work. It seems impossible to devote so much of yourself to prayer that everything else takes a back seat. J.D. Sallinger, in his series of stories about the Glass family, tells of a sister, Bonnie Glass, who became obsessed with mystical experiences. She sat on the couch and began to say the Jesus prayer, which is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” She repeated it under her breath, over and over again for hours, for days, for weeks, until they checked her into the hospital to be force fed and treated for psychosis.

It is not God’s intent that our prayers become escapes from reality. Prayer should not take the place of eating or sleeping. Instead, prayer can give meaning to common events of the day. Prayer can give shape to simple acts of work, of rest, or recreation. The Jesus Prayer, as it was developed by desert monks, was intended to be a prayer you could repeat with each breath until it became so natural that even breathing was an act of prayer, breathing in, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” breathing out, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Try it some time and see what happens. Just don’t forget to eat.

 

Vinyl Wall Decal - I know a family who would love this ;-)

 

Scorn-full: Delight in Disorder Tuesday

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,

for we have had more than enough of contempt.

Our soul has had more than its fill

of the scorn of those who are at ease,

of the contempt of the proud. (Psalm 123:3-4)

 While modern medicine has come a long way in helping us understand and explain mental illness, people’s perspectives can lag far behind. Many people still think that with more faith, a stronger will, and a better attitude, such things as depression, bipolar disorder, even schizophrenia can just go away.

This outlook often leads to pinning the blame for the illness on the person struggling to overcome it. It can also lead to contempt and scorn on the part of the accuser that the accused may internalized.

“If you only had more faith.”

“If you weren’t so lazy.”

“If you just kept a positive attitude.”

Like the Psalmist, I have had more than my fill of contempt from people lacking understanding and compassion. From the colleague who advises me to “Just get more exercise,” to the church leader who quietly slips a stack of positive thinking pamphlets on my desk. From the well-meaning friend who tells me to “Take it to the Lord in prayer,” (as if I haven’t), to the recreational therapist who insists I dance the Macarena. All these things might be helpful in themselves, but none of them can remove my illness and often they reveal an underlying sense of contempt that I’m not doing enough to alleviate my struggle.

While I don’t usually dispense advice, some advice to those of you who have loved ones with a mental illness – “Don’t give advice.” It is often thinly-veiled contempt for someone you fail to understand and appreciate as an authentic person whose struggle is far deeper than any pious platitude can go.

If you are looking for an appropriate way to respond to a person struggling with a mental illness, look to Job’s friends. Not when they made the mistake of opening their mouths to try to explain his suffering, but when they first arrived and simply sat with him in silence.

One thing my wife and children learned to do well when I was going through hard times is to offer me the blessing of their presence, without trying to cheer me up or blame me for being down. As difficult as this was for them to do, it was a great help for me when I could see that my mood disorder could be somewhat contained within me – and not overly impact the mood or behavior of those I loved.

Their commitment to go about life around me also showed that they trusted my ability to battle my bipolar, with God’s help, and that as I was able to come back around, they would be there for me. Instead of being full of scorn, they showed me great respect.

Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

 

Special Note: Delight in Disorder is hitting the road. I will be speaking in Lake Oswego, Oregon on October 18 at the conference —  “Shattering Stigma with Stories: Mental Health and the Church” to be held at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church. We are looking for prayer warriors to lift up the conference and the on-going mission. Members of our “Delightful Prayer Team” receive regular (1-3/week) e-mail updates with brief petitions and prayers. If you would be interested and feel led to serve, contact me at tony@awaywithwordsforyou.com .

 

 

Bitter Medicine, Parenting Bipolar, Invisible Pain, Sanity Break, and Strength in Weakness: Mental Health Monday

Summerworks: Bittersweet, heartbreaking & hopeful true story of mental illness in Bitter Medicine” (life with more cowbell)

Clem and Liv’s story highlights the need for patient advocacy, especially in a society – and even a health care system – that makes assumptions about the mentally ill. And we are also reminded that pharma companies don’t always have patients’ best interests at heart, as illustrated in Clem’s battle to get Liv diagnosed when he became gravely ill; turns out the pharma company that manufactured the meds he was on hadn’t disclosed the possible side effect of diabetes.

A mother walks on the margins with her son’s bipolar disorder” (Anchored-in-Knowledge)

Are you a mother of a son with a mental health or behavioral problem? How did you cope with the reality that your son would probably need your help and support for the rest of his life? For many parents, accepting an illness can feel like one of the worst things you’ll ever have to do. Many mothers have spoken to me about their struggle to not only accept but also to live with their child’s illness. It isn’t easy. It’s almost unimaginable. 

Pain Doesn’t Have to be Visible to be Real” (Blogging Astrid)

I am a self-injurer. Have been since childhood. Part of the reason has always been to feel something other than emptiness, loneliness, or emotional pain. However, part of the reason has also always been to make my pain be visible. Not even necessarily to others, but to myself.

Sanity Break” (Bravely Bipolar)

As you know, these last few months have not been easy for me.  I’ve had difficulty with my psychiatrist.  I haven’t been on medication and my anxiety levels have been at an all time high…not too mention the constant suicidal ideations.  To put it bluntly, it’s been hell!  It’s not something I ever want to go through again, but I know the way this illness works…it will happen again.  It’s just a matter of time.  So, I take the good with the bad and hope for the best.  During this whole ordeal, I had a strong desire to escape.  The only thing was that I wasn’t sure what that meant…whether that was a permanent escape from life or just time away from everything and everyone.  I opted for the latter hoping that was what it was.

Weak then Strong” (ExBoozeHound12)

There is this really cool author named Paul who lived about 2000 years ago that wrote about this. I am paraphrasing here, but the gist of it was that Paul got boastful and basically egotistical about some stuff then got a thorn in his side. This thorn hurt like H-E-double hockey sticks. He pleaded with God to remove the thorn but God ignored him. Finally, God answered Paul with, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul later says that he will go on boasting about God’s grace because when he is weak he is strong. Hmmmmm….

Rebelling to Obey God

Yesterday, my prayer group read and reflected on Daniel 6 — the story where Daniel defies the king’s edict and continues to pray to God openly, We talk about those occasions in history where believers were called to engage in civil disobedience in order to be obedient to God. We concurred that while this is more often the exception than the rule, we should always be ready to persistently practice our faith in the face of persecution if we are ever ordered to stop.

Later in the afternoon, I went to a re-enactment of a “Scottish Conventicle.” The program notes describe the historical background –

Margaret Wilson was a fugitive by the time she was 18. Her crime? Worshipping freely in defiance of the King. In 1685, the Scot was drowned for attending outlawed church services and asserting that Christ alone was head of the South.

Just before she died, Wilson sang from Psalm 25: “My sins and faults of youth do thou, O Lord, forget: After thy mercy think on me, and for thy goodness great. God good and upright is: the way he’ll sinners show. The meek in judgment he will guide, and make his path to know.”

During the 16th and 17th centuries, many Christians in England, Scotland and Ireland were persecuted for proclaiming the truths of the Bible. These church reformers worshipped in secret, holding outlawed open-air services known as conventicles.

There have been, there are, and there will be times when believers are called to stand firm in faith in the face of great persecution. Whether it be to pray openly or worship freely in defiance of the King, to rescue persons enslaved by wrongful “States’ Rights,” to oppose an violent, oppressive regime, or to promote life in a culture of death — our freedom in Christ may ultimately compel us to act at the risk of great loss, even the loss of our lives.

Courage, Food, Dystopia, Manic-Depression, and Poetry: Friday Featured Followers

Steps of Courage

God is a God of mercy and grace and He helps those who call on Him.

It doesn’t matter what problems you may face, He will help you if you turn to Him.

You are not alone. You are here for a reason… And God has a purpose for your life.

Always Remember ~ God cares about you.

Cast all of your cares on the Lord, for He cares for you…  ~I Peter 5:7

Food is God. : Life is busy. Let’s make our food easy and interesting.

Delightful Dystopia : Writings on life, society, and overcoming the stigma towards mental illness.

The not-so-secret life of a manic-depressant

zedmondson

Bio: Zoe. 21. Australia. I’m writing to share my experiences with Bipolar Disorder with others. I believe in fighting stigma surrounding mental illness. I believe in being able to wear my heart on my sleeve; or on my blog. And I believe in myself. That’s what my blog is all about. Hope you enjoy x

poetreecreations.org

Poetree Creations was inspired by two people who decided to develop an idea initially from a business course.

The business idea did not develop into a profit-making idea as the current climate did not allow this.

So we decided to take the passion of poetry and develop this creative art and turn it into a workshop and a successful international poetry website.

By this time we had a committed group of poets who wanted to also promote their work and to have their work published to the world.

Over a period of two years we grew and eventually gathered 7,000 subscribers.

We found that we had to move to a new website as there wasn’t enough space where we were.

We are developing all of the time and we probably have too many ideas to cope with, however this is the positive side to Poetree Creations.

 

Do Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly: Throwback Thursday

The following reflection is taken from a sermon entitled “Do Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly” based on Micah 6.1-8.

          The trial of God vs. the people is brought to order. The mountains, the surrounding hills are selected as the jury. The earth, the Promised Land, serves as judge. The question: “Who has been faithful to the covenant?” God speaks first,

“My people, what have I done to you?
    How have I burdened you? Answer me.” (v. 3)

We can almost hear the prolonged silence as God waits for some word of explanation. But there is none. The people have taken advantage of God’s blessings. They have relied on his powerful presence to liberate them, to guide them, to rescue them, and now that they are safe in the Promised Land just want him to go away. They are eager to flex their muscles of independence and God’s presence reminds them they did not in fact pick themselves up by their bootstraps.

It’s hard to understand how people can be so callous toward God, but we can see it in the world today. I’ve known people who have been rescued from what should have been fatal accidents turn away from God’s protective hand and jump right back into risky and careless behavior. I’ve known people who were lifted out of extreme poverty buy into the myth that they were self-achievers and fail to give credit to God, from whom all blessings flow. I’ve known people who were once lost in life be guided by angelic messages from God, only to later scoff at the prospect and walk right back into the fog of a confused world.

All of us are vulnerable to the indictment that we have forgotten what God has done for us. If you were asked, point blank, what has God done for you in your life, how would you respond? Would you have something to say or would you, like the people of Israel, leave God waiting in agonizing silence.

The people have abandoned God. Their silence is an admission of this. Evidence is then introduced that God has remained faithful to the covenant. God has freed the people from slavery in Egypt. God, through Moses, Miriam & Aaron, has guided the people through the wilderness. As they entered the Promised Land, God shielded them from their enemies, turning human curses into divine blessings. These are just a sampling of saving acts, but God chooses to rest his case.

 Verse 6 represents a shift in the proceedings.

 “With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow down before the exalted God?”

Micah, speaking on behalf of the people seems to be plea-bargaining. How can we restore our relationship with you, Lord? What will it cost us to make amends? The people had grown accustomed to paying for their sins through ritual offerings-calves, rams, precious oil. Some of their neighbors had even gone so far as offer up human sacrifices to appease their gods. Micah raises the radical question of the Lord, “Is this what you want from us? Will this remove the stain of our sin, restore our relationship, give us a fresh start?”

Israel has a problem. The guilty stain of sin will not be washed away by ritual sacrifice. While these were a part of the worship life of Israel, they were little more than temporary measures which reminded the people all was not right.

As God’s mouthpiece, Micah says clearly in verse 8 that such sacrifices are not what the Lord is looking for.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

 

The people, we, have without a doubt, sinned. We sin when we fail to appreciate God’s blessings in our lives. We violate our covenant with God when we take advantage of God’s faithfulness. When we refuse to respond with faith, we are digging ourselves deeper into a dark pit of despair and destruction.

God shows us the way out. Jesus Christ is the Way. Jesus shows us how to do justice. In his life, he cared deeply for all persons. He responded particularly to the cries of those others wanted to silence or ignore—lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, those possessed by demons. Jesus saw in the eyes of each person he met sin were turned off by his refusal to play favorites, but those who had hit rock bottom were able to receive his healing forgiveness. Jesus shows us how to do justice.

 Jesus also shows us how to love mercy. This is not to say Jesus simply wore a pasted smile like an extended firm handshake. The word translated here “mercy” implies loyalty and faithfulness. It is doing the most loving thing, even for those you don’t like, even when you don’t feel like it. Jesus says we are to take this even to the extent of loving our enemies, of sacrificing our own comfort so that we can serve brothers and sisters in Christ, even when we think they don’t deserve it. Jesus demonstrates this when he puts Judas, the one who would eventually betray him, in charge of the treasury for his ministry. He shows this most clearly by his willingness to endure humiliation, torture, and even death on a cross, so that we might have new life in Christ.

Finally, Jesus shows us how to walk humbly with God. Jesus was in constant communication with God. He was always talking to “Abba”, talking about the “Father”. His walk with God was not an effort to exert greater influence over others. He did not seek power or privilege from God. Instead, he sought guidance, strength and courage to do the difficult tasks he was called to do. The humility of Jesus allowed him to stay focused on his mission. He was not distracted to mount a popular uprising. He did not garner support for himself in order to be lifted up out of the harsh realities of life. He kept doing what he had been called to do, just when he was called to do it. He resisted the many temptations of fame by walking with God daily, humbly, growing in faith and love.

While none of us can fully follow the faith of Jesus in this life, we are inspired by the Spirit of Christ to faithfully do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Our world cries out for such faithfulness.

 

Micah 6:8 it doesn't have to be just a kid craft. it's a great daily reminder for everyone.

Finding Life (in obvious places): John

Lou Grant was off, but John didn’t want to go to bed until the credits rolled and the scenes from next week were shown. There was a math test tomorrow, but John had studied in the library at school and knew he would get a solid B, which was just fine with him. His mother and father said goodnight and reminded him to brush his teeth.

The day had been rough. He had an argument with his mother over dinner and M*A*S*H about getting cable. She heard from a friend that her children were intolerable after getting cable, not doing their homework or chores. Once she even caught them sneaking out of bed to watch shows with naked women. John insisted that his grades would not go down and that he had no interest in watching dirty movies. After much debate, he’d given up, what with so many good shows on.

He walked upstairs and took the little notebook off his bed stand. He grabbed a pen off his desk and wrote –

Lou Grant was pretty good tonight. Family was the best yet.

He paused to reflect on the evening, put the pen and notebook away, and went to brush his teeth. He could hear the sound of the news from downstairs. He couldn’t make out the words, just the tone, but he thought of his parents watching it and he felt somehow comfortable. Safe.

That night he dreamed. It was a wonderful dream with very colorful images of red plush carpeting and water everywhere, very soothing water. He walked up to a huge house. A mansion. It wasn’t familiar, but he approached it like he was expected there. A butler slightly hunched over answered the door, carrying a silver tray, inviting him in. Red crush velvet met him in the doorway and he sat on a nearby sofa.

She came to him and led him down the stairs, or what he thought would be stairs. She took him by the hand and he looked at her face. It was boyish, with a slight grin and dimples. He felt like taking it in his hands and just holding on.

They slid down a soft slide with smooth red, a deep rose-color light surrounding them. He knew he was with her, laughing like children in their place, the place that was waiting for them. Beautiful colors everywhere.

They landed softly, holding on to each other. Suddenly, she started crying like she was sorry to see him go and he tried to assure her he would stay forever. But he couldn’t speak. He could only watch the images go by. Soft red turned into a deep, disturbing blue — flashing. Flashing outside his bedroom window where some volunteer fireman was playing with his lights.

It was still dark outside. He turned on his desk lamp, took out his notebook and wrote,

Tonight I dreamed of Kristy McNichol.

He noticed the sound of the television from downstairs. Taking his notebook in hand, he went down to sneak a peak.

 

Kristy McNichol

 

 

 

Victory Over the Voices in My Head

 

stand firm in the faith. be strong and courageous.

For some time now I have heard a constant din of voices inside my head. They are more often demanding than commanding. They do not so much tell me what to do as consume my attention with their cacophonous noise. It’s like I am a waitress in a raucous restaurant and people from every table are calling for me.

Since Sunday afternoon, the voices have gotten louder. Under advice, I took an extra anti-psychotic pill (that I’m prescribed) to sleep Sunday night. The voices subsided somewhat long enough for me to rest. But they returned with a vengeance.

Today I had a therapy appointment and on the way the voices were distracting — but I was able tune them out to an extent, By the time my session was over, the legion of voices were screaming at me and I could not resist them.

I called the Crisis Line of my mental health center and left word for my psychiatrist to call. Then I tried to drive the 30+ miles home. I turned on some music (10,000 Maniacs, no less) and rolled down the window, trying to stay alert. Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to a passing semi and a distinct voice rose above the din directing me to turn the wheel into traffic.

I knew I had to get off the road. I pulled into a truck stop and called my psychiatric nurse sister She advised me to go for a walk, drink some coffee, and journal — which I did.

The voices did not stop, but since I didn’t have to concentrate on driving, I was able to just let them wash over me — while I talked about them with my psychiatric care team and prayer partners on the phone.

As I write this (in my journal) my sister is on the way with an extra pill prescribed by my psychiatrist. She will then drive me home where I will stay put and try to recuperate for at least the next 24 hours.

“What is going on?” I ask myself (and God). The answer seems clear. I am under spiritual attack. I am on the right track pursuing good mental health and building bridges between the faith community and the world of mental illness and the Enemy will do anything in his power to stop me. He knows my most vulnerable spot — my mind — and he can manipulate it well.

Yet, even though it is the Enemy attacking me, it is most definitely part of God’s plan as well. These voices are my “thorn in the flesh” to keep me from becoming spiritually arrogant. They remind me of the sufficiency of God’s grace. I have no choice but to depend on God and God’s people — even for most basic needs like a ride home.

As I waited for my sister to pick me up, I found a book in the truck stop called Promises From God’s Word for Men. The first chapter was on God’s promise of companionship and courage in the face of fear.

I am confident by the grace of God that though the Enemy would like nothing better than to destroy me — or have me destroy myself — God gives me a courageous Spirit to survive, even thrive in this life and into the next.

 

 

How Do We Respond to Suicide?

I hope the man I marry is somewhat like Robin Williams. In that he can make me laugh, isn't concerned with what other people think, has a warm, tenderhearted side, yet still a wild, unhindered sense of insane adventure. I just want a man with his diversity. -Kait.

 

Robin Williams is dead, apparently of suicide after a lengthy battle with depression. My heart is heavy. What a terrible tragedy. How could a man who seemed so full of exuberant life somehow lack the will to live?

I respect the family’s desire to keep details of his death private. There will likely be a feeding frenzy in the press — speculation over his mental state, drug use, relationships with others, every jot and tittle to try to explain the unexplainable — some people (and it can be anyone) simply lose the desire to see another day.

Whenever I encounter suicide in the news or in the lives of people I know, my mind flashes back to one Saturday night in March of 2008. I was feeling flu-like symptoms and had called to get someone to preach for me.

I went to bed feeling weary but otherwise fine. Just after hugging my son good night, I heard a distinct voice say, “It’s okay.” Rather than interpret this as God assuring me all was well, I heard it as divine direction to kill myself. In less than half an hour, I had consumed handfuls of potent psycho-tropics that should have ended my life.

Why did I do it? I have no earthly idea. It makes no human sense. I’ve come to see it as a spiritual attack for which I was ill prepared — in spite of years of faith development, Biblical study, and pastoral service.

By God’s grace, I was brought back from the dead. Others, like Robin Williams, are less fortunate. Why? God only knows. It is foolish to speculate. More than this, it is callous and cold-hearted. Like Job’s friends trying to explain away his suffering, we are bound to get it wrong and only heap verbal and psychological abuse on already hurting children of God.

I don’t know why people commit suicide. I do know how I can best respond — with the strong compassion of Christ. Our God is a God of life and nothing — not even death by suicide — can separate us from his love in Christ. I won’t speculate on the eternal destiny of those who take their own lives — this is in God’s hands — but I will boldly proclaim the power of abundant life that can reach us in the depths of Sheol and remain with us to the highest heavens.

One of the meditations included in my spiritual memoir, Delight in Disorder, is called “Even Me” and it concludes in this way –

God has brought me back from the dead. In Christ, I have hope for abundant life with him now and forever.

 

When I came to my senses in the hospital bed after my suicide attempt, I had to face the reality that I had tried to abandon God. At the same time, I discovered God had not abandoned me. I say this not to brag about my standing with God – indeed I have no standing with God. I say this instead with tremendous gratitude and wonder that God would take notice of me—even me.

 

Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.