February 2014


creationGenesis tells us that God made Adam from dirt and Eve from Adam’s rib.  However, he had made the earth with his Word.  He spoke the earth and heavens into existence.

There is no denying that the creation of life itself was a glorious miracle.  Yet, the miracle of human life is that God breathed His life into the man and man became a living soul–set a part from all other creatures and creation.  The human spirit was created with the breath of God.  This is the miracle of mankind.  However, once God formed man and woman and mankind became a human spirit, He put into place a well-order plan for the propagation of life.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the spirit of man was killed.  The part of mankind that was supernatural was no longer alive.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit, through the death, blood and resurrection of Jesus that produced the miracle of salvation and the regeneration of the spirit of man.

babyWhen a person is born, made from the egg of a mother and the sperm of a father, it is a wonderful extension of God’s creative power.  In that life, many miracles may follow, including the best miracle, salvation and transformation of that soul when and if s/he accepts Jesus as his or her savior.

However, the Biblical understanding does not place childbirth as a miracle. Children were not born until Adam and Eve had sinned and broke God’s covenant with them.

A miracle is when God breaks his own rules in order to do something different from the proper order of life.  Childbirth is a function of life. It conforms to God’s laws and order that have been carefully positioned for action.  Complicated, mysterious and wonderful, new life is part of God’s overall plan.  It flows through a well-ordered design set into place by our Creator-Father.

When a female egg is fertilized by a male sperm, human life is formed.  The natural order of creation is amazingly complicated, superbly detailed and designed to perfection.  Humankind is the crown-jewel of God’s creation.  However, it is not a miracle until the miracle of new-birth begins.

This idea offends every fiber of my heart as a mother because my brain and soulish nature say that children are miracles.  My grandchildren are double miracles.  Yet, when I look into the scripture and God’s plan for the propagation of life, I see that children are, indeed, a part of God’s purpose and design; but they are not miracles.  We cannot be placed into category of miracles, until the Spirit of God  brings to life the spirit of a man or woman transforming us into a child of God.

Beb LinderThe Power of Listening

(Like you, I get hundred’s of emails each week.  However, I look forward to receiving the newsletter from Bev Linder.  We’ve never met but her newsletter speaks to my heart each time I receive it.  I believe it will bless you also.  You may want to request her newsletter.  The information is at the bottom. )

James 1:19 says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak…” There is power in active intentional, and respectful listening.  It’s the best way to help our kids have an open heart to receive what we have to say about faith in God.

Imparting faith to children (ed. note: everyone) involves listening to them, for that is the beginning of giving them an understanding of their value before God. It is an un-special need to be valued in this tangible way.

Josh McDowell has said, “Part of good communication is listening with the eyes as well as with the ears.” Our culture moves so fast. As a special parent you are probably moving from therapy session to school meeting to doctor appointment, but nothing will touch the life of your precious child more than slowing down and listening to his words and to his heart. You might have a child who is nonverbal, but you can still “listen” by giving him or her your undivided attention in a quiet setting.

A while ago, Mike and I attended a memorial service that changed our lives. We didn’t even know this person. His name was Jan, a man in his 40’s who died of cancer. We only went because we knew his sister and wanted to be supportive of her. Little did we know how Jan’s life would touch our own!

The sharing time came at the service, and thus started the most amazing accounts of a person touching people’s lives, and it all revolved around Jan’s giftedness to listen! There were homeless people, neighbors, couples whose marriages were in trouble, there were old people and young people, and they all were moved by Jan’s listening heart. One friend of Jan’s felt compelled to go up to the stairs of the church and demonstrate how Jan would listen. “He would hunker down and get comfortable, like this. Then he would set his gaze on me, and say, “What’s going on with you, brother?”

It was the perfect picture of James 1:19 because Jan would be quick and deliberate in his “hearing” and then he would slowly share the truth of God’s Word, which found fertile soil in the hearts of these individuals who felt so valued.

Have you ever had someone listen to you? I mean really “hunker down” and set their gaze on you and communicate through body language that what is in your soul matters to them? When that happens, life suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. And you are much more open to whatever that person wants to share with you.  Kids are no different. Our kids with special needs are especially hungry to have someone care about what is inside of their soul for it’s something they likely don’t experience very often. Their young hearts will respond to respectful attentiveness and that will set the stage for you to tell them about the love of God.

 
Bev Linderbev@special-heart.com

www.special-heart.com

 

Bible studyIn studying the life of Jesus, it is impossible to ignore miracles.  This quarter as we delve into the ministry of Jesus, the members of Special Gathering–a ministry within the intellectually disabled community– have asked lots of questions.  Their questions have led me to think again about miracles and how God uses them in the lives of the believer.

From my study of the Scripture, I found that miracles an interesting phenomena.  There are many misconceptions regarding miracles.  Here are a few of them.

Miracles are not magic.  Magic is not a miracle.  A miracle is when God breaks his own laws for a purpose.  Magic is an illusion or trick used to make it seem as though God’s laws have been broken.

Miracles happen instantaneously. 

A miracle is not healing.  Healings happen over a period of time.  Often people pray for healings, expecting a miracle and without understanding there is a difference.  If a healing happens instantly, then it is a miracle.  A healing may take a matter of minutes, hours or years.  Healing is a process.  Miracles are instantaneous activity from the hand of God.  This may seem like a matter of somatic.  However, it has caused a lot of people to doubt their healing because it did not happen instantly.

sunsetMost miracles involve inanimate objects. Even thought, miracles may happen within our bodies or outside our bodies.  On that rainy day when the car in front of me slammed on its brakes, I knew that there was no way our car could miss the stopping automobile.  I called out, “Jesus, help us” and slammed on my brakes.  Our car stopped instantaneously which is impossible.  My teenage son asked in wonder, “Mom, did you see what just happened?”  It was a miracle.

People don’t perform miracles.  God is the miracle-worker, not humans.  We may speak the word but the work is done by our Heavenly Father.

Miracles demonstrate God’s power and glory, not the faith of the individual. While the individual may have faith for a miracle, there is never a guarantee that God will perform a miracle.  The Lord has knowledge and understanding that is beyond our depth.  God may know that this supernatural act would harm the person and withhold the miracle.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list.  Yet, these are things which too often cause problems within the church regarding the miracle-working power of the Lord.

AA Allen 1The Lord has done amazing things in my life.  Working with youth for more than 25 years, I came to understand these young men and women were able to grasp the wonder of God’s love in spectacular ways.

One evening while carpooling a group of teenagers home from our weekly meetings, we had to pull over because the flashing lights of an ambulance signaled an emergency in the neighborhood.  “We need to pray,” one of the young men insisted as the ambulance speeded past us.  “Father, touch and heal the person in the ambulance” was the simple prayer.

Later that evening we were told by family members that the man in the ambulance was dead when they passed us.  The young people in the car steadfastly believed, however, that the man had been healed. The next day we heard that the dead-man had miraculously been revived during their trip to the hospital.

I can recount hundreds of such miracles in my life.  There is a divine purpose for miracles.  However, I’ve come to believe that miracles are greatly misunderstood.

AllenMiracles are not and never will be the be-all and end-all of the Christian life.  A. A. Allen who was known to have prayed for and received hundred’s and perhaps thousand’s of miracles died from liver failure caused by acute alcoholism.  Other men who have been hailed as God’s vessel for working miracles have fallen miserably or lived undercover reporbate lives.

This is not recorded to discount miracles but to underscore the fact that while miraclous happenings are valid in the Christian life, they are not the most important aspect of living a godly and holy life in Christ.

Working within the mentally challenged community, I dance comfortable with miracles every day.  Almost every member I face on a weekly basis is a miracle.  Their lives are filled with unaccountable healings and divine interventions.  Many of them have seen God work in ways that would curl toenails.  However, what impresses me more than the miracles is their faithful obedience to His commands.  I believe that is also what impresses God.

courage

Who are the helpers at church?

When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it (Gal 6:10)

In 2006, the entire nation was glued to our TV’s because two boys had been found in Missouri. Ben had been missing for four days and Shawn had been missing for 4 ½ years.  The two boys were kidnapped by a man and the police found them. Everyone is saying that a young teenager named Mitchell is the key to what happened because he was willing to help his friend in identifying a truck. We are all to be helpers for others. Have a member read, Galatians 6:10.

widowsI.  The Bible records the story of the first men who were chosen to be helpers in the church (Acts 6:1-7).

  1. The church would come together, bring their food and eat their meals together. The Jewish men were helping their older family members who were women to have food.
  2. The non-Jewish women did not have a family member to help them so they were not getting food.
  3. They complained and the Apostles decided they could not wait on the table; but they would choose men who could help these women get the food they needed.

II.  This was a severe need.  The Greek women were not being fed.  We all have concerns and problems.  God gave them men who would help the women who were not being given food to eat.

III.  What we must  understand is that God wants us to win every battle and to have the victory every time and in every way.

  1. God gives victory to his children because he loves us.
  2. Last week we had a funeral for my brother-in-law.  It was sad but wonderful because we were able to spend time together and be with the family that does not know Jesus as their Savior and we saw the young people ministering to each other.
  3. Have you ever been involved with a problem and seen God turn that problem around for your good.
  4. I have a person in my life that has tried to hurt me and my family. This person has only made us stronger people.

IV.  I had a person one time who wanted to really hurt me and for a while it seemed to work and then in my hurt, I found SpG and God gave me all you folks to love me and for me to love.

Conclusion: God doesn’t fight fair when it comes to his children. There will be people who will try to hurt you; but they cannot because God is on your side and he always gives us victory

noah's arkThe Villages at Noah’s Landing has been recommended to receive a $14 Million dollar grant in order to begin construction.  Noah’s Landing is an awesome, pedestrian-oriented lifestyle community that will feature unique apartment-styled homes with a clubhouse, daily activities, pool, nature trails, a community park, and an optional dining room. We are working on the mountain of paperwork that is needed to finalize the grant and we have been asked to provide a list of people that may be interested in moving into our community.

So we need your immediate help!  Please log on to the following link and complete the survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLInterest

This will only take 10 to 15 minutes to complete but the information is essential to keep our grant funding moving forward.  Even if you have previously completed a similar survey, please complete the survey again, this is very important.

This survey is not an application for The Villages at Noah’s Landing.  However, the people that complete the survey will be among the first to be notified when applications are being accepted. If you have any questions please call our office at (863) 815-0909

Visit our website at:  NoahsArkFlorida.org

Jack Kosik – Executive Director of Noah’s Ark

If you would like to read the recent Lakeland Ledger article on our grant, go to the following link:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20131214/NEWS/131219602/0/SEARCH

Justina-pelletier_2Justina-pelletier_2Perhaps you have heard or read about a young woman named Justina Pelletier.  She is still a teenager. She is not intellectually disabled though the young woman was diagnosed in 2011 with mitochondrial disease.  This is a disease in which the mitochondria (the energy-producing organelle in cells) does not function properly.  The symptoms of the disease include pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.

Through a complicated series of events, Ms. Pelletier became a ward of the State of Massachusetts primarily because of a clause in the Boston Children’s Hospitals Policies and Procedures.

The hospital’s clinical investigations policy states (emphasis added):

Children who are Wards of the state may be included in research that presents greater than minimal risk with no prospect of direct benefit (46.406 (50.53) or 46.407 ( 50.54) only if the [institutional review board] determines and documents that such research is

Related to their status as wards; or

Conducted in schools, camps, hospital, institutions, or similar settings in which the majority of children involved as participant.

Pelletier_1While no charges of neglect have ever been charged against Jennifer’s parents, after she was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital, she became a ward of the State of Massachusetts.  The parents no longer have any say in her treatment or where she is placed.  The parents do not know if she is part of any research projects.  For a time, they were not given visitation rights.

Jennifer was taken off of her medications.  When the parents saw her decline after being taken off the meds, the parents asked that she be put back on the medications that were helping her.  They reported that they were told that if they put Jennifer back on her medication, they would be charged with child abuse for giving her an excess of drugs.

In a meeting in October of 2013, ministry leaders from all over the country and Canada came for a day to sharing and prayer.  To a person, every leader came with one concern. What is going to happen to the people within the mentally challenged community when financial collapse happens in the US? Our members are financially and professionally tied to the state and federal governments.

I’ve never been  a prophet of despair.  However, this was a warning signal that even I could not ignore.  It may be time to prepare for the future of our friends and members who are intellectually disabled by storing up massive containers of prayer in the deposits of heaven.  The promises of God are that he will help the weak and take care of the wounded.  However, even recent history tells us that this vulnerable population has been a prime target for abuse.

The Lord uses men and women to do his work here on earth.  We are his hands and feet.  We need godly wisdom to know what our part will be in the future; and what our action should be today.

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