Greg Laurie: God Helps Those Who……….

Greg Laurie writes columns for World Net Daily.  This recent  article tells the story of the miracle of the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda.  Although Greg speaks about sin and salvation I am posting this because God worked in a very personal way in this man’s life, something we all long for.  If this article speaks to you about personal sin God is willing and able to forgive. Allan

Some people think the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. But you won’t find this quoted in the Bible. In fact, it is not a biblical concept. The fact is that God helps those who can’t help themselves. God helps those who see how radical their condition is, who recognize there is no way they can save their own souls.

The Bible tells the story of a man like this, a man who was in a very difficult state – a seemingly hopeless situation. I think it may even have been his utter helplessness that drew Jesus to him. He had been abandoned. He was a desperately lonely man, a man who, for all practical purposes, was an outcast.

Paralyzed for 38 years, he spent his days by a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda, hoping for a miracle. All alone and in need, he was surrounded by people who were blind, lame and paralyzed. Each were waiting for the stirring of the water – believed to be the work of an angel – because the first one to step into the pool would be healed.

Perhaps the night before, this man had offered up a prayer to God. Maybe he prayed, “Lord, if you would just help me be the first one into the water when the angel stirs it up, I would be so grateful.” Little did he realize that God himself would come in human form and give him far more than what he asked for. Instead of sending an angel to stir up the waters, God was about to stir up his life – not just physically, but – more importantly – spiritually. The Bible tells us that God is able to do above and beyond that which we could ask or think (see Ephesians 3:20). And that is what happened in this man’s life.

The Bible says that “Jesus saw him lying there” (John 5:6 NIV). What I find interesting is that he wasn’t the only person there at the pool. There were a lot of people. But we don’t read that Jesus saw them. The Bible says that Jesus saw him. And that is important to realize, because when God looks into a crowd of people, he sees you. He sees you as an individual, just like he saw this man. In the midst of all this activity Jesus had time for an individual whom he knew by name.

Then Jesus asked him – and in a broad sense, all of us – a poignant question: “Do you want to get well?” (verse 6 NIV). Or to expand the question, “Do you want to change your life?” Jesus was essentially asking, “Are you willing to put yourself, just as you are, in my hands? Are you ready for me to do for you what you are unable to do for yourself?”

Now this may seem like a strange question. We might think, What kind of thing is that to ask a guy who is paralyzed and unable to move? Of course he wants to be made well. But not everyone wants to change. Not every drug addict wants to be free from the power of drugs. Not every immoral person wants to be a moral person. Not every person who has chosen a certain lifestyle wants to break free from it. So it is a valid question: Do you want to change your life?

Many are like this man. They have given up all hope of ever changing. They have resigned themselves to their position in life. There are a lot of people who say, “Oh, I want to change. I hate the way that I am. I hate the lifestyle that I am in. But I have tried, and I have failed.” Yet I think that some people like the life they are living. They find a certain comfort in the darkness. They like the people they are hanging around with. They feel at home in that environment. There are a lot of people who really don’t want to change. They really don’t want to get out of the lifestyle they are in.

Years ago, one of my sons had a pet rat. One day he decided he to build a cool little balsa wood house for the rat, complete with windows, a roof, and a little front door. We all thought it was so cute. As we all went to bed, the rat was going into his little house. But the next morning when we looked in the cage, the house was gone and the rat was fatter. We attached human characteristics to the little rat, but he just did what rats do.

There are a lot of people who don’t want to change, because it is just their nature to keep doing what they are doing. And I would suggest they have never really tried it God’s way.

When it comes to change, there is God’s part, and there is our part. If we want to change, we can. But we must do it God’s way.

Jesus expected the impossible of the paralyzed man. He said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8 NIV). And God expects the impossible from us as well. He is greater than our problem, and He expects us to believe that.

By telling the man to pick up his mat, Jesus removed all possibility of a relapse. There was no safety net. There was no backup plan. He had to take that step. And we do too.

Yet many people have never done this. They have never made a clean break with the past. One of the conditions of being a Christian is that we must repent, which means to change our direction. Therefore, if a person says he or she is a believer in Jesus, but hasn’t made a break with the old lifestyle, then I question whether that person really is a Christian. Jesus said, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 NLT).

People who are trying to live in two worlds will be unhappy. Is that you? Then it is time to make a break with the past. Jesus says, “No backup plan, no safety nets. This part of your life is over. I have a new plan for your life.”

God can do for you what you have been unable to do for yourself. But you will have to make a candid admission. You will need to acknowledge that you can’t do it on your own, that you are helpless, and that you are in need of God’s help and God’s forgiveness. And if you will do that and reach out to him, then he will forgive you. And your life will be changed – for the better.

My Father’s Giving:Streams In The Desert, January 31st

Prove me now” Malachi  3:10

What is God saying here but this: “My child, I still have windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would rather fling them open, and pour forth, than keep them shut, and hold back. I opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened them for Joshua, and Jordan rolled back. I opened them for Gideon, and hosts fled. I will open them for you–if you will only let Me. On this side of the windows, Heaven is the same rich storehouse as of old. The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure rooms are still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on my side. It is on yours. I am waiting. Prove Me now. Fulfill the conditions, on your part. Bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance. –Selected

I can never forget my mother’s very brief paraphrase of Malachi 3:10. The verse begins, “Bring ye the whole tithe in,” and it ends up with “I will pour” the blessing out till you’ll be embarrassed for space. Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He promises.” –S. D. Gordon

The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father’s giving: it is beyond that we can ask. –J. H. Jowett

“All the rivers of Thy grace I claim, Over every promise write my name” Ephesians1:8-19

    Beautiful Christian Music: Praise & Worship, January 30th

    Song 11 was done in 1985.  The lead singer and song writer was my wife’s brother.  Although he doesn’t sing Christian music any more it still stands the test of time.  The other ten songs are excellent as well!   Allan

    Song List

    1.  Mercy In Me-  Todd Agnew

    2.  Holy God-  Brian Doerksen

    3.  Rescue-  Don Moen

    4.  Lead Me To The Cross-  Brooke Fraser

    5.  With All I Am-  Hillsong

    6.  I Will Trust You-  Steven Curtis Chapman

    7.  How He Loves Us-  Kim Walker

    8.  Oh The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus-  Northland Church Florida

    9.  Counting On God-  Desperation Band

    10.  Never Alone-  Barlow Girl

    11.  When Heaven’s Calling-  Modern Mission  (1985)

    Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, January 29th


    You made Yourself approachable, touchable, reachable, and so we come to the Well of Healing for our needs. From You we drink facing courage to finish. We shift our concerns from sinking sand to trust, looking at your purpose and not the discomfort of process. We render our complaining useless and step within trusting prayer that lifts hope into perfect answers. We calm ourselves under the Hand of Remembrance for You are acquainted with grief. We continue even when failure flaunts its leaking evidence.

    Pull us from torrents of uncertainty. Silence the voice that over-rides pure Truth teaching us to quiver in frail disengagement from what we have known from You to be assurance. Let us not be less obedient in any matter. Widen our expressions of overcoming, for we shall. You have been the Prominent Way. We follow. Increase our diligence.

    We congregate at the cross of completion for our souls sake to be likened into Your image. We want to resemble our Brother, Father, in all aspects of the Spirit. We subsist from the the Vine. Bear us patiently as we bear fruit.

    Given in Your imputed holiness, we bow in full regard waiting Your All-Presence and return.  Amen.    ~clean hands pure heart~

    Past Prayer Requests

    Set Free– erunner – we still have no building for our church it’s not easy to share with another ministry since we are limited to having any special services. Please continue to pray that God will answer soon. And when he does I’ll be sure to let you know. I will continue to lift these other prayers you have here in your website I know they are more serious then what I am requesting. God’s Richest Blessings.

    Angela–  Keep Angela in prayer as she continues on her road of recovery from Anorexia.

    Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has an aggressive form of MS. There is a remarkable procedure that has been going on in Italy that is virtually healing those with MS. The family has submitted Tiffany’s name to be one of those selected for the procedure. Please pray that could happen as she has been through much as described below by our nephew’s mother.

    “Tiff has had virtually no relief for the past 2 1/2 years and is not doing well. Her MS is progressing rapidly. She was recently started on a new treatment plan, IV Immunoglobulin therapy and Avonex injections every 10 days. She has failed all other treatments. She started out on the Avonex initially, but it didn’t do much for her. They are hoping the combination of that and the immunoglobulin will help.

    I want to give you my sincere thanks for all of your prayers for them. You will never know how much it means to me.”

    Okie Preacher–  Battling unknown physical problems and depression.  “I have a physical problem that the doctors have not been able to identify. It has been characterized by severe muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, fatigue, shortage of breath, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, and coughing fits that almost cause me to pass out.”

    Allan–  Pastor John Duncan is hospitalized as the result of a motorcycle accident. His leg was severely damaged. Please pray that John’s leg would heal completely. Update:  John is now home and recovering.  Still needs much prayer as he is dealing with severe pain.

    Long Term Prayer Requests

    Allan–  Oden’s six month old son had a liver transplant.  Pray that his body doesn’t reject it and that he recovers swiftly and completely.

    White Horses- Prayer for anxious thoughts and worrying.

    Allan–  My mother is going to need bypass surgery on both legs.  She has Peripheral Arterial Disease.

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

    Dusty– Continued prayer for deep depression.

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

    Natalie Tan–   Keep Natalie in prayer as she continues on the road of recovery from Anorexia.

    Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S.

    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

    Praise Report

    Allan– Our daughter shared with us that her friend’s father has been declared cancer free. He had throat cancer and a subsequent surgery that included the removal of his voice box. The family has been through a difficult time as things did not seem to be going well.

    Please pray that God would see fit to allow Kurt many more healthy and peaceful years and most of all that he would come to know Christ if he has yet to receive Him as Savior.

    A Primer On Mental Illness

    Pretty much everything I publish here has to do with a specific illness or condition, if you will.  This brief and informative article is a solid overview of mental illness.  The numbers may surprise you but some of those numbers offer great hope for improvement and recovery in the lives of those afflicted.  This article is reproduced with permission from NAMI and their website can be found   HERE.     Allan

    What is Mental Illness: Mental Illness Facts

    Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

    Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

    Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

    In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.

    Here are some important facts about mental illness and recovery:

    • Mental illnesses are serious medical illnesses. They cannot be overcome through “will power” and are not related to a person’s “character” or intelligence. Mental illness falls along a continuum of severity. Even though mental illness is widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion-about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 Americans-who live with a serious mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that One in four adults-approximately 57.7 million Americans-experience a mental health disorder in a given year
    • The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 10 percent of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives at home, in school and with peers.
    • The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
    • Mental illness usually strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable.
    • Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.
    • The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.
    • With appropriate effective medication and a wide range of services tailored to their needs, most people who live with serious mental illnesses can significantly reduce the impact of their illness and find a satisfying measure of achievement and independence. A key concept is to develop expertise in developing strategies to manage the illness process.
    • Early identification and treatment is of vital importance; By ensuring access to the treatment and recovery supports that are proven effective, recovery is accelerated and the further harm related to the course of illness is minimized.
    • Stigma erodes confidence that mental disorders are real, treatable health conditions. We have allowed stigma and a now unwarranted sense of hopelessness to erect attitudinal, structural and financial barriers to effective treatment and recovery. It is time to take these barriers down.

    I Am A Grandfather!!!!

    Today our son’s wife gave birth to Connor Adams at 3:03 pm.  He weighed in at 7lbs. and 1 oz. being 20″ in length.  When I get a picture I will insert it.  The birth went without complications and Connor and his parents are now resting comfortably.

    Psychotic Is Not The Same As Psychopathic

    Last night at a men’s study one of the men was under the impression that Mormonism was the same as Christianity.  After the study  I sat down with him and shared why they were not the same.  Although Mormons use words that are the same as Christians do you need to understand what those words mean to them.  This following article talks about how confusing words helps keep the stigma of mental illness alive in today’s society.  Allan

    Tuscon Citizen. com

    Part of the stigma that surrounds mental illness is caused by nothing less than ignorance.  Most people aren’t educated about mental illness because they think it will never happen to them.  Slowly, but surely, this is changing as people realize that one in four families are effected.  Every time I give a presentation to a group of people, from a few to hundreds, I always ask the question, “how many of you in this room know someone who has a mental illness?”  If I had to guess, I would say that it’s almost 90% every time.  I also find during the discussions, that once the barrier is lifted and people feel comfortable talking about it stories that have long been kept private because of stigma are articulated in compelling and often cathartic ways.

    One common confusion is that people believe that a psychopath and a person experiencing psychotic symtoms like those suffering from schizophrenia, are one and the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Schizophenia is a thought disorder that can cause delusions (psychosis) and psychopathy or sociopathy consists of a certain set of personality traits and behaviors.  Superficially charming, psychopaths tend to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest and undependable, and at times they engage in irresponsible behavior for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it. Largely devoid of guilt, empathy and love, they have casual and callous interpersonal and romantic relationships. Psychopaths routinely offer excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead. They rarely learn from their mistakes or benefit from negative feedback, and they have difficulty inhibiting their impulses.

    Psychotic disorders are characterized by distortions of reality and disturbances of thought and language and can cause withdrawal from social contact.  People with schizophrenia, bi-polar or even acute depression can experience psychosis.  The good thing is, that these mental illnesses are treatable and most can and do achieve mental health recovery.