Just about one year ago a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with West Nile virus. As a complication, he developed Guillain-Barre syndrome and was totally paralyzed. He was making it through each day with intensive hospital care, receiving nourishment through a feeding a tube, and breathing by means of a ventilator. Over the past twelve months he has made very slow but sure improvement, relying upon his Lord Jesus Christ through all the ups, the downs, the turns for the good, and the setbacks.
Many people have been praying for my friend, Clint, and we were all thrilled when, in answer to our prayers, he was weaned from the ventilator last June! But very shortly after that he developed pneumonia and he had to go back on the ventilator. Now October is rolling around again and Clint is expected to be completely weaned from the ventilator very soon, perhaps this very week. He can sit up now with support and is slowly rebuilding the strength of his muscles. He is strengthening his spiritual health as well, by memorizing Scripture. A recent email from a family member proclaimed that Clint had memorized Psalm 23. One evening when going over his memorization, Clint said that he wanted to make a commentary on the psalm, line by line. So they went through Psalm 23 one line at a time and Clint’s commentary was recorded. I have posted it below for you to read. One thing you need to know before you read is that Clint is from Hawaii and was raised on teriyaki -- a favorite of local people. May you be blessed as you read Clint’s 23rd Psalm commentary.
"The Lord is my everything
He provides everything I need.
He gives me all the food to eat and water to drink that I need because He is the bread of life and the living water.
He makes me alive when I was once dead in my trespasses and sins.
He made me new.
He guides me in all that is right, for He created me to glorify Him.
Even though I'm surrounded by death, He is constantly with me and gives me the peace that only He can give.
His love and discipline put my heart at ease.
He prepares a banquet of the finest foods for me, and we sit together at His table feasting on teriyaki as our enemies look on.
He covers my head with the oil of gladness and I am constantly overflowing with praise and thanksgiving.
I am convinced that His mercy and goodness shall always be mine.
And I will be joyful in His presence forever and ever and ever.
Clint is an inspiration to all. Even in this long year of illness, he has never lost the spirit of aloha as he has placed his trust in his Good Shepherd. May God continue to bless Clint with peace, grace, and mercy as He restores his health, strength, and vitality.
Its fall already! Where did the summer go? Many Disciplers classes are starting up and the past couple weeks many have been downloading studies and calling to have lessons sent. It is a fun time of year for me because I get to hear about what is going on in your lives and in your classes as you faithfully study God’s Word. It is always gratifying to see a “comment” attached to a lesson download, receive a donation with a personal note, or get a text message, or phone call. Phone calls are the best! I enjoy talking with you in person.
Just this past week we received a donation and a gracious note from Penny Cole and her class at Cedar Springs Church in Knoxville, TN. She shared that she was looking forward this year to using several of our shorter studies. She has entitled the study, “Walk in Christ, Expecting His Return”. She went on to write about her anticipation of the study with such enthusiasm that I began to wish I could be a part of her class and sit under her teaching. I feel that what Penny wrote is worthy of passing on to you, so here is what she wrote:
“I know it seems like an odd study mixture of books of the Bible [both Old New Testament books], but my prayer is that we will end the year with a passion and sense the urgency to be salt and light in this culture, this world that is ripe for judgment. Our time is limited -- we don’t have time to be judgmental and critical. We as Christians must be living our lives in such a way that others see us, listen to us, and want to believe the gospel is true -- and that it is possible only as we are walking “in” Christ (not merely walking “with” Him which is more of a mental decision rather than an absolute union with Him as we will see in 1 John). I believe this study will be transformational and hopefully we will finish with an urgency to make a difference in the time that God has entrusted to us!”
As I read Penny’s note, my heart and mind were nodding in agreement with what she had written. I thought of my own life. Am I just walking “with” Christ instead of “in” Him? Am I content to give mental assent to my beliefs and leave it at that or do wake up every morning with a passionate desire and firm commitment to live my day “in” Him, following in His steps, fellowshipping with Him in the light of His holiness, loving those in my world the way He loved when He walked on this fallen earth? Do I live out His truth in my life or merely talk about it? Do I practice my faith all day every day or do I live for worldly things? As I thought about this, I saw that if I truly believe that Christ died for my sins and has given me new life, if I believe He is coming again for salvation, then I will want to live my faith loud and strong for all to see. I will want to share with others what Christ has done for me so they too may be beneficiaries of salvation rather than judgment.
So how are you living these days? Are you living “in” Christ or simply "with" Him, still clinging to your own world of self, pleasure, comfort, pride, and greed? Are you expecting His return? How does your life show that? How would others know it, not just by your words but by what they observe in your life every day -- your choices, your pastimes, your pleasures, your commitments? If your family, friends, and neighbors were asked, “What is (place your name here) most enthusiastic about,” what would their answer be? The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek “enthous” which means “possessed by a god”. What god are you possessed by?
I thank Penny for waking me up to the need to live my life, not just “with” Christ, but “in” Christ. She has encouraged me to see and consider what a huge difference that one little preposition makes. I pray that many others will think about and understand that too.
With love “in” Christ,
Pictured below is the Disciplers leaders' group from Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church. Penny is seated at far left.
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.