He Carries The Lambs In His Bosom

Nancie is a believer who lives with bi-polar disorder and lives in Singapore.  Her blog is listed here as a resource and you can visit it if you like by clicking HERE.  This is an article Nancie wrote in 2008.  I found it to be something worth sharing with you.  Nancie is not a super human woman who puts out such wonderful information on her blog.  She is one of us and earlier this year went through a rough season.  We’re all in this together and it’s a joy for me to share from folks half way around the world.  God bless!  Allan

I read this encouraging devotional this evening and was reminded once again of God’s love and care upon us.

In these recent weeks of poorer health, I am thankful to God that He is keeping me near to Him and strengthening me daily.

In my many years of struggles with bi-polar disorder, depression, stress, panic attacks, etc etc, I am very conscious of my own weaknesses.

Some friends have told me over the years too that they think I am very weak.

Some friends think I am very weak physically because I am easily tired and can’t endure as much hardness as them.

Some friends think I am very weak mentally because they know I struggled with several prolonged clinical depression over the last few years. To them suffering from depression shows a weakness of mind and character. They have no knowledge or understanding of clinical depression or mood disorders.

Some friends think I am very weak spiritually because they know I have many struggles while they live a relatively carefree life with little struggle or difficulties. To them having struggles in life shows a lack of faith in God. They have little understanding that we are through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of God and we are in a spiritual warfare daily.

I know I am weak in many ways. And I am thankful that there is One Who will always love me no matter how weak I am. In fact because I am weak, He is especially tender towards me. Because I am weak, His strength is made perfect in my weakness. This person is my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank God for carrying me in His bosom and enabling me to know His love and presence with me.

Today, if you are hurting, depressed, lonely, forsaken or suffering in some ways, know that there is One Who loves us tenderly. Our Lord Jesus Christ laid down His life on the cross for us to save us from our sins and we are precious to Him. Call upon Him and He will answer you. Like a lamb, He will carry you in His bosom. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

“He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.” – Isaiah 40:11

Who is he of whom such gracious words are spoken?

He is THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

Why doth he carry the lambs in his bosom?

Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts his heart.

The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of his flock draw forth his compassion. It is his office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak.

Besides, he purchased them with blood, they are his property: he must and will care for that which cost him so dear. Then he is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of his glory and reward.

But how may we understand the expression, “He will carry them”?

Sometimes he carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them.

Often they are “carried” by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know.

Frequently he “carries” them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.

“He carries the lambs in his bosom.”

Here is boundless affection. Would he put them in his bosom if he did not love them much?

Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer.

Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and his weak ones.

Here is perfect safety: in his bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first.

Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

(Taken from CH Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, 14 May, Evening)

May you know God’s love in very many wonderful ways today.

Thanks for stopping by. God bless!

Walking With Blinders

1Peter 1:6  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials,
1Peter 1:7  that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ:
1Peter 1:8  whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1Peter 1:9  receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Last night I began reading 1 Peter.  When I came to verse 8 I knew what I wanted to write about for today’s article.  Hopefully the following makes sense!

Peter was writing to a large group of believers who had never seen Jesus.  They didn’t see the mighty miracles that Peter saw.  They didn’t get to sit at Jesus’ feet.  Jesus didn’t share a meal with them.  Yet in verse 8 Peter says some pretty profound things.  He tells his “audience” that even though they haven’t seen Jesus they loved Him.  Through their belief in Jesus they were filled with joy and rejoiced greatly.

How exactly was this possible?  Each of you who count yourself as a believer would be able to answer that question based on your own testimony.   Not only did the believers Peter was writing to love Jesus whom they had never seen, the same is true with us two thousand years later.

John 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

John 20:28  Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

John 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

You and I are blessed because we believe in Jesus although we’ve never seen Him.  Barnes, in his commentary says this…

“Because thou hast seen me – Because you have looked upon my body, and seen the proofs that I am the same Saviour that was crucified. Jesus here approves the faith of Thomas, but more highly commends the faith of those who should believe without having seen.
Blessed – Happy, or worthy of the divine approbation. The word has here the force of the comparative degree, signifying that they would be in some respects more blessed than Thomas. They would evince higher faith.
That have not seen … – Those who should be convinced by the testimony of the apostles, and by the influences of the Spirit. They would evince stronger faith. All faith is of things not seen; and God blesses those most who most implicitly rely on his word.”

So we see that the process of coming to a saving faith is done with none of us having ever seen the object of our faith.  In a sense, that describes the Christian life.  For those of us who have or are suffering with a mental illness this rings especially true.  Our illness seems to be winning the battle.  Our circumstances tell us there’s no hope.  We feel as if we are a blind person groping in the darkness.  Sound familiar?

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the certainty of things we cannot see.

When we are seemingly surrounded by darkness, and our faith is hanging by a thread where do we go?  As we know we can sink to what seems the deepest pits.  Yet we must cling to something.  The best thing we can cling to is God’s Word which is TRUTH.

Romans 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:36  As it is written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep of slaughter.”
Romans 8:37  But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us.
Rom 8:38  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Romans 8:39  nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have referenced those verses many times in the past, and I do so now because these truths can serve as a lifeline when all else seems to be failing.  God asks us to believe.  He doesn’t tell us that our belief will produce a desired result such as an instantaneous healing or a warm chill running through our bodies.  He’s asking us to believe, and as we seek to believe, we cry out as the man in Scripture cried out, “Lord. Help my unbelief.”  We can be brutally honest with God.  He knows our hearts, and He desires truth in our inward parts.  He won’t be shocked.  See Psalm 51.

The latest devotional I posted excited me because it held so much richness for the believer who is having a terrible time.  Please read it if you haven’t yet.  Just click here.  It speaks of God’s timing in relation to trials that may last years.  Many of you know this from personal experience.  That devotional raised my spirits.  I pray it might do the same for you.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “How can I walk in faith when the tank is empty?”  I’ll share from my experience, and if anyone has more to share, please do.  I always thought God expected me to take these giant steps of faith.  It never dawned on me He was okay with me taking baby steps.  That’s what I’ve done to make the progress I have after so many years of pain and confusion.

As some know, my big fear is the dentist.  It’s off the charts and has been as far back as my first visit.  When things bottomed out a few years ago, I knew I would have to face the dentist again.  This became a reality for me, and I learned along the way.  Each step required me to trust God, and as you read further it may seem almost humorous.  I can smile about it now,  so if you burst out laughing I’m okay with that!

I first had to become comfortable driving by the dentists office.  I had avoided doing so at times because the act created anxiety for me.  Next,  I had to be able to walk into the office.  Then I had to make an appointment.  After that I had to show up!  That first visit back to the dentist is etched in my mind.  I thought I would be able to have such and such done during my visit.  I was only able to have one “such” done.  I wasn’t capable of more.  I followed up, and each time they were able to do a little more.  Pretty soon I was walking out of the office thrusting my fist into the air.  I knew it was God who was walking me by the hand and giving me the strength I needed.  I NEVER felt like a loser or a wimp.  God doesn’t see me that way.  He was okay with me taking these baby steps.  Monday the 31st I take another step at the dental office.  PRAY!!  🙂

The Christian life is one that is lived by faith from cradle to grave.  For reasons only God knows, some of His children walk paths that seem impossible.  I could never begin to explain why.  I can also never say how long the trials will last, or if they will ever end.  Today at church the study was on the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. In closing, I’d like to share them.

John 6:35  And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst.

John 8:12  Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 10:7  Then Jesus said to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  John 10:9  I am the door. If anyone enters in by Me, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.

John 10:11  I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  John 10:14  I am the Good Shepherd, and I know those that are Mine, and I am known by those who are Mine.

John 11:25  Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. John 11:26a  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

John 15:1  I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.  John 15:5  I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Facts aren’t always FACTS.  At times facts tell us there is no hope.  Walking with blinders, or if you will, “by faith” is a bunch of hooey!  I have been guilty of living my life based on the facts.  These facts were born in my own mind or were flat out lies from satan.  God asks us to walk by faith (FACTS) and not by sight (facts).

There is peace to be had.  There is joy to rediscover.  There is hope to hold on to.  There is abundant life for those with mental illness.  Those are the FACTS.

P.S.  It’s possible that we can grow to love one another via this and other sites on the internet.  The same dynamic is at work.  God allows us to love those we have never met.


God’s Timing; Streams In The Desert, August 30th, 2009

“And when forty years were expired, there

appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai

an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a

bush…saying…I have seen the affliction of my

people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their

groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And

now come, I will send thee into Egypt” (Acts

7:30, 32, 34).

That was a long wait in preparation for a great

mission. When God delays, He is not inactive. He

is getting ready His instruments, He is ripening

our powers; and at the appointed moment we shall

arise equal to our task. Even Jesus of Nazareth

was thirty years in privacy, growing in wisdom

before He began His work.  –Dr. Jowett

God is never in a hurry but spends years with

those He expects to greatly use. He never thinks

the days of preparation too long or too dull.

The hardest ingredient in suffering is often

time. A short, sharp pang is easily borne, but

when a sorrow drags its weary way through long,

monotonous years, and day after day returns with

the same dull routine of hopeless agony, the

heart loses its strength, and without the grace

of God, is sure to sink into the very sullenness

of despair. Joseph’s was a long trial, and God

often has to burn His lessons into the depths of

our being by the fires of protracted pain. “He

shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver,”

but He knows how long, and like a true goldsmith

He stops the fires the moment He sees His image

in the glowing metal. We may not see now the

outcome of the beautiful plan which God is hiding

in the shadow of His hand; it yet may be long

concealed; but faith may be sure that He is

sitting on the throne, calmly waiting the hour

when, with adoring rapture, we shall say, “All

things have worked together for good.” Like

Joseph, let us be more careful to learn all the

lessons in the school of sorrow than we are

anxious for the hour of deliverance. There is a

“need-be” for every lesson, and when we are

ready, our deliverance will surely come, and we

shall find that we could not have stood in our

place of higher service without the very things

that were taught us in the ordeal. God is

educating us for the future, for higher service

and nobler blessings; and if we have the

qualities that fit us for a throne, nothing can

keep us from it when God’s time has come. Don’t

steal tomorrow out of God’s hands. Give God time

to speak to you and reveal His will. He is never

too late; learn to wait.  –Selected

“He never comes too late; He knoweth what is

best;

Vex not thyself in vain; until He cometh–REST.”

Do not run impetuously before the Lord; learn to

wait His time: the minute-hand as well as the

hour-hand must point the exact moment for

action.

Beautiful Christian Music. Praise & Worship, August 29th

This week’s music has All been selected by Owen.  I appreciate his help very much.  You’ll notice Owen has included some “oldies.”  My kind of guy!

Song List

1.  Peace-  Rich Mullins

2.  Holy-  Nicole Nordeman

3.  Destined To Win-  Degarmo & Key & Jesse Dixon

4.  My Savior My God-  Casting Crowns

5.  Only Hope-  Caedmon’s Call

6.  Great Light Of The World-  Bebo Norman

7.  Song Of Reconciliation-  Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, and Christine Dente

8.  All About Grace-  Allen Asbury

9.  Mansion Builder-  2nd Chapter Of Acts

10.  Come To The Table-  Michael Card

11.  Keep My Mind-  Margaret Becker

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports- August 28th

One day at a time sweet Jesus, one moment to the next, before the pending thing befalls us Lord, You are there. If You were not, I would not be able to ascend. My climb would end and I would wither like a waterless leaf crumbling at the slightest touch. My life would become soil beneath the pressured weight of a cold heart.

But because You are there before I arrive, I can see past another moment’ s pain, my own failings, the encroaching mistrust that hinders a clear vision to Your Holy Face. I can breathe again. You rally my will to endure.

This is my God Who bids me come when I am weary and heavy laden, Who fills my pockets with honest promises, Who never sleeps or slumbers, and sings over me with His love. This is the Fullness. You make me whole.

Feed the oppressor to his own devices. Entangle his methods in a net of inability. Cut the cord of his being that strangles my freedom to love without interruption. Open the channel of escape that I might serve You unreservedly. For You are my past, present, and future. I dwell in Your inclusion. It is settlement and quiet repose. I rest.

Free us to be beautiful.
Amen

~clean hands pure heart~

Past Prayer Requests

Allan–  Oden Fong’s four month old son Seth needs a liver transplant.

Mary Bullock–  I would greatly appreciate any prayers for my son. He is 29 and is heavily medicated for his mental illness, plus he has many health problems also. It is such a struggle dealing with all his mental and health problems, but he is such a blessing to us. You are so right about the stigma and misinformation that seems to abound about mental illness. It is so comforting to know that there are others who really do understand the daily struggle.

Dorci- I have two different headaches, one of them every day, (for a little over 3 years) the other at least a few times a week. (for about 8 monhts) It’s very draining physically and emotionally. Sometimes I don’t even go to church on Wednesday nights because nights are when the headaches are the worst.

Shawn Sells–  Keep Shawn in prayer for wisdom as he seeks to continue his ministry to those with mental illness in his church.

Okie Preacher- My wife and I have been going through some very difficult times since we left our last church pastorate. I would rather not go into detail at this time, although I may in the future.

There are many things that are currently distracting and many hurts from the past that need healing. I have been advised by a good friend to perhaps consider taking a sabbatical for a period of prayer and reflection, which I am inclined to do so at this time.

Please pray for us as we wait on God for healing, guidance, and direction.

Dorci- I would love it if people could pray that our son Eric would fall in love with Jesus and would follow Him with all his heart. Thank you.

miniErunner- Please pray for my best friend’s father. He was just diagnosed with throat cancer and will be starting intense chemo within the next few weeks. Please also pray for his wife and 2 daughters. Pray that they will stay strong through all of this. Update – Surgery was done and his voice box was removed.  He will now undergo further treatment.

Set Free–  Please keep us in prayer we are in need of a place to worship. Things have taken place where we share a building and I believe they are looking for ways so that we can move from there. I know it has to be God who opens the doors to where he wants us to be. I also know that the enemy does not like the progress we have made in spreading the Gospel. Thanks again!

Cash–  Hello, friends. May I ask you to pray for me and my family. I just lost my job on Tuesday. It was a good job with really good benefits, so we’re job searching now.

Dusty– Continued prayer for deep depression.

Rachel–  Continued prayer as she struggles with bi-polar disorder.

Past Praise Reports

Dorci–  I just have a praise report that in almost 3 years of suffering with daily headaches I am finding some relief. I still have them every day, but I have times during the day when I don’t have one at all, and at night they are usually not as bad as they have been.

Anne–  Praise report:
#1 I’ve been offered a job
#2 My dr’s and counselor had suggested starting part-time if possible.
#3 The position is designed to start as part time and grow gradually

I am so grateful for the encouragement and prayers from all of you!

Holding all the above prayer requests close to heart, that they too will be answered in ways better than anyone could have ever imagined or expected.

Blessings to you all
Anne

Long Term Prayer Requests

Natalie Tan–   She is battling an eating disorder and has a tough battle ahead of her. There is a new article posted that is about her. She puts a face to eating disorders and is a young woman that will need prayer.

Nene – Prayer for her father to be saved and to come to a place of peace. Father and brother have been estranged 27 years.

Dorci–  I have some weird issues with my lower legs, swelling, pain, etc. They’ve done ultrasounds but haven’t found anything.

Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S. and it is progressing incredibly fast. She had what they are calling a seizure yesterday. Twice her jaw has dislocated but yesterday it popped back into place.  They have found another new lesion on her brain.  Please keep Tiffany, her husband Jeremy, and their two children in prayer.

Allan–  We have a niece who is coming out of ten years suffering with Anorexia. She is now battling depression and would covet our prayers. She is a beautiful young Christian mother with a fantastic husband and two adorable young boys.

Minds On The Edge: Facing Mental Illness

PBS will be premiering a very important special this coming October that tackles mental illness head on.  The title of this special is “Minds On The Edge: Facing Mental Illness.”  It is an ambitious project that will shed light on the sad state of mental health affairs in our country.  The war against mental illness faces many obstacles. Programs like this can be another step in educating our nation as to reality of this war and the strides that are being made in winning that battle.  With all of the huge issues facing not only our nation but the entire world, this is an issue that must not be overlooked.  To do so would be a sin against those who are suffering and their loved ones.  I will be following this project as closely as possible while updating it as necessary.  The web site for this project is located here.  I will also link to this site under the category, Media.  Allan

From the web site.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness is a multi-platform media project that explores severe mental illness in America.

The centerpiece of the project is a television program that will air on PBS stations in October 2009. This video component is part of a national initiative that includes an extensive web site and an ambitious strategy to engage citizens, professionals in many fields, and policy makers at all levels of government. The goal is to advance consensus about how to improve the kinds of support and treatment available for people with mental illness.

The television program MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness effectively illuminates challenging ethical issues as well as systemic flaws in program and policy design, service coordination, and resource allocation that are contributing to a mental health system that is widely acknowledged to be broken. MINDS ON THE EDGE also provides a glimpse of many solutions that are currently being implemented across the country. These innovations, many shaped by the guidance and expertise of people with mental illness, offer promising solutions and hopeful direction to transform the mental health system.

The MINDS ON THE EDGE web site will re-launch in October in conjunction with the program premiere. At that time, the web site will feature additional information IN DEPTH on the issues raised by the program as well as examples of “best practices” that are proving effective in providing treatment and support for people with severe mental illness, their families, and the community at large. The expanded web site will be highly interactive and provide a forum for many perspectives on the complex and sometimes conflicting values that must be considered and balanced as a basis for public policy.

The MINDS ON THE EDGE project is designed as a media catalyst to contribute to the conversation already underway in America and help to move it forward. The program, which is being widely distributed in DVD format, will be screened and discussed by civic groups, professional organizations, and leaders in government as a tool to engage the issues posed by severe mental illness and work together to find effective answers to this hidden crisis in America.

Below is a video introduction to this project.