Depending on Jesus – One Day At A Time: A Lesson Through Suffering

On June 27th- 10 days ago- I had neck surgery. However, though it has been 10 days since the surgery, I am still not able to much of anything without help.

I still cannot dress myself, shower, cook or myself, or even bend down do life to toilet seat up without assistance from someone or something. I have become completely dependent upon nurses and family to assure that I can get by on a day to day basis, until my neck heals to the point I can once again do all of these things on my own.

As a fiercely independent person, this level of dependence upon others has been truly humbling and frustrating, to be honest.

However, through it all, God has also reminded me of the urgency of being completely dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.“- John 15:5

In the same way that I am not able to put on clothing without the assistance of the nurse- without suffering from a great deal of pain and discomfort, I am reminded that I am also not able to experience the victorious Christian life without utterly depending upon the Lord and putting on the whole armor of God.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:“- Ephesians 6:11-17

The neurosurgeon prescribed Morphine and Oxycodone to help me manage the extreme pain I feel from the surgical wounds which are still healing. It is not likely that I could have functioned without them.

The Lord reminded me that I also cannot function without feeding upon His Word, every single day, that I may know and do His will according to His purposes:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.“- Matthew 4:4

Through my physical suffering, I have been experiencing God in ways that are deeper than I had experienced in many ways.

The Lord reminded me that I had become to Independent. That I had somehow lost a level of zeal for His Word and relied too much upon intellect and historical experiences.

On what I already knew rather than depending on Jesus, one day at a time. It was so easy to get caught up in what seemed to be significant accomplishments in this world, particularly as I felt I was fighting for “God given rights”.

Yet, there were times, in retrospect, that I depended too much on my own intellect and/or events and programs rather than upon what Jesus was doing, day to day.

Of course, I had not done any of these things intentionally or with bad intentions, but I had to come to terms with the conviction of the Holy Spirit on my heart and the consequences of my guilt in so many areas of my life.

There is indeed much pain and suffering that comes as a result of being led by our own understanding rather than by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

I thank you, Lord, for never casting me aside, even as I became too self willed. Thank you for reminding me, through my suffering, to follow the Lord Jesus one day at a time, that I might be- day by day- right in the center of your will for my life.


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What, to Black Americans, is the 4th of July?- A New Visions CLASSIC From Project 21

The following New Visions Commentary from Project 21 member Stacy Swimp was originally published in July of 2012:

On July 5, 1852, the famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered a stinging indictment of American independence. He did so because it was not yet realized for black Americans.

At Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York, Douglass declared: “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” To his hosts, he asked: “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?”

Douglass continued, explaining:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour”

Today, however, Douglass would undoubtedly think differently. He would more likely be proud of how far America has come in ensuring equal protection under the law.

There are now many reasons to celebrate Independence Day.
Now, for example, under our Constitution, everyone enjoys the guarantee of individual freedom.

Douglass would probably also appeal to modern blacks to remember their predecessors who contributed to American independence. It is these people, who surely envisioned the America we now live in, who deserve tribute and are a reason to celebrate the 4th of July now with pride and dignity.

It is important to share — especially with our youth — the stories of black patriots such as Crispus Attucks, Peter Salem and Salem Poor.

Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave, was an early casualty of the American Revolution when he was killed by British troops in the Boston Massacre.

He became a martyr during the Revolutionary War and was later a symbol of liberty in fight against slavery. In spite of restrictions related to the burial of blacks at that time, Attucks was nonetheless buried at the Granary Burial Ground beside other honored dead such as Paul Revere.

Peter Salem and Salem Poor exhibited bravery at battles such as Bunker Hill. Salem shot and killed British Major John Pitcairn as Pitcairn rallied his troops. His fellow soldiers later presented Salem to General George Washington as a hero.
Poor, who earlier bought his freedom, joined a Massachusetts militia company in part to promote black liberty. For killing a high-ranking British officer, Lt. Col. James Abercrombie, Poor’s heroism was noted in a petition signed by fourteen of his officers:

We declare that a negro man, called Salem Poor… in the late Battle at Charlestown, behaved like an experienced officer, as well as an excellent soldier.

To set forth particulars of his conduct would be tedious, we would only beg leave to say in the person of this said negro centers a brave and gallant soldier.
It’s obvious that Black men of that era believed the Revolutionary War was a fight for everyone’s liberty. Their loyalty was to the American principle of individual freedom.

Over 5,000 black men fought for the Continental Army. Many black women served as nurses, laundresses and cooks. They all played a vital role in winning the independence we are all now privileged to enjoy.

Responding to Douglass today about the meaning of and reason to celebrate Independence Day, we ought to proudly stand tall and respond:

We have everything to celebrate — for we played a big part in the independence in this great nation!

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Every Day is Independence Day to the born again believer!

Dear Friends:

The Greatest “Independence Day” of my life was the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior! It gave me a freedom that no government tyranny can ever take from me!

Freedom from the bondage of my sinful nature and assurance of eternal salvation is the best liberty of all!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”- Galatians 5:1

Every day is indeed Independence Day to the born again believer!

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Happy Independence Day, Fellow Americans!

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Life’s Precious Mortality: A Reminder of the gift of Life, Love, Family and True Friendship.

There is something about sitting in a room just before a major surgery and having the Anesthesiologist say to you, ‘”I must inform you of the risk- that you may never wake up again”.

There is no greater test of one’s faith than at that very moment.

When life’s precious mortality confronts you and puts you in a sort of corner, it is truly a time where you cannot help but to evaluate your life.

I found that, away from the public, from any role I needed to play, any point I felt needed to made or proven, or any cause I felt needed to be fought, all I could think about was the relationships in my life.

When you find yourself in a position of physical helplessness, you definitely notice who loves you unconditionally versus those who perhaps only see you for what you add to their own goals.

There are some who cannot see you beyond their hangups or personal expectations of you, meaning how you can meet their needs.

You see it in the reality of who is or isn’t beside you at that very moment life’s precious mortality causes you to pause beyond your control.

Those who love you unconditionally are often the ones you least expect to be there, but tend to be the ones we most take for granted. They are ones who do the little things only someone who deeply cares would even bother with. 

There is no one I could think of that I took for granted more than God, even as I know I have served diligently and sincerely.

Sometimes, it is so easy, however, to serve based upon the demands made on us by others – in the sincerity of our hearts-  rather than according to the call of God in our lives.

I knew, going into surgery, that eternal existence with God was assured to me, so I had no anxiety about that.

Nevertheless,  as I find myself unable to eat, dress, bath or even use the bathroom without assistance from several specialty and skilled nurses, it is a very serious reminder of my need of depending on God above all, as there are not a lot of folks beating your doors down to stand with you when you are at this point.

It is also a crushing blow to one’s mortal ego and perhaps a necessary tool to humble one who could so easily rest upon his own intellect and will to fight.

It is a reminder to do my best to never take my loved ones and true friends for granted.

Most of all, not to take God for granted.

Applause from man may come from many directions for many purposes, but it never matters in your deepest moments of need.

It is the love relationships that will matter.

I don’t know if this is “flowing”, as my mind has much on it.

All I know is that I am thanking the Lord for the gift of life, love, family and true friendship.

I thank the Lord for His faithfulness and mercy, even though – out of the sincerity of my heart- I am certain I have pursued demands that came from man more so than based upon His call on my life at times.

God is good!

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