“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
FAITH,HOPE and TRUST is the message of that scripture lesson. And a story I found researching for this message led me to this:
This is a story from the Life and Leisure section of the Arizona Republic newspaper. It’s written by Alan Gathright. This is a story about a freedom rider. Here is what it says:
“For 74-year old Melvin Manger, freedom is worth any risk. Paralyzed from the neck down since birth, he has spent more than half of his life shut in at home.
Fourteen years before, he was liberated by a motorized wheelchair and reborn as Cactus Mel the legendary cactus peddler. A cross between the ancient mariner and the road warrior, Mel (as everyone calls him) is out rain or shine, seven days a week, guiding his wheelchair and the wagon he tows behind his wheelchair full of cactus for sale with a chin joystick.”
Let me explain what that [a chin joystick] is. The only place Mel can move is his head. His body is paralyzed from the neck down. So he has a joystick that is attached to his chain. A rod runs from his chain to the controls on the wheelchair.
“So far, Mel has survived four hit-and-run collisions. His body is banged and bruised, but Mel refuses to slow down. He embodies both human frailty and Herculean will. People tell of stopping to help Mel when his wheelchair breaks down, or someone can’t understand his slurred speech, only to have him teach them a lesson about courage and independence.
“He was born with cerebral palsy in 1917. Mel has been at home most of his life. He was kept home by his parents to shield him from the taunts of the outside world. After they died, he was sent to a San Jose nursing home.
There, two cousins and a friend (Marta Hessman), urged him to seize his dream of independence. But how do you become independent if you’re paralyzed from the neck down?
“A social worker had told Hessman that Manger was a deaf-mute. But when she listened, she heard a man pouring out the frustration of being trapped in a crippled body. ‘He’s telling me all these things and I’m going to help him.
There’s somebody real important inside of there.'” When Hessman suggested an electric wheelchair, the tears just flowed down Mel’s cheeks.
“It was like rebirth. Suddenly, at age 60, the man who had never ventured very far out of his own room, who had never taken a step toward the open road, was going like crazy. Mel said, ‘My heart was in my mouth. I was afraid to get off the sidewalk. But in about two or three months I sneaked off and went to my first movie all alone. Boy, were they mad at the nursing home. I just told them that I didn’t need that place.’
“Since then, failing health has not kept him off the streets. Neither has traffic. Once police had to pull him off the on ramp to Interstate 280. Mel is an incurable flirt and he relishes his ‘Hell on Wheels’ reputation.”
What can we learn from Mel’s story and the stories of many others who overcame their physical prisons. We not only must overcome physical handicaps, but most of us also have spiritual handicaps that lock us inside a room, fearful of venturing out. What we are lacking is not necessarily an electric wheelchair; we need the vehicle of faith in God in our life.
Grasping at Faith and Trust knowing that our hope lies within, we know that whatever we may have failed at in the past, we do have the power to go where we want to go. As long as we realize and hold on to that belief, we will be able to open that door and walk or even dance out in the open. Any part of us that has an area in our lives that is a little weak, can be strengthened and will be with God’s help.
Almost daily, there are so many ways that we limit ourselves. Remember this……
GOD NEVER LIMITS YOU!
God never gives you a dilemma or handicap that you cannot conquer and overcome. If there is any area in your life that is not up to God-perfection, God is also giving you the power and ideas to overcome once and forever that handicap that may have held you as a shut-in way too long.
As an adult, I was and am afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and have been battling it for quite a while, even before I knew that was the diagnosis, thinking I just had back/disc problems for which I did have surgery many years ago. As parts of my body would temporarily shut down (right now I have no feeling in my fingers, making it almost impossible to type and even write), I thought of just stopping my ministry and simply enjoy my family, home, and dogs. That would have locked me in a prison of total defeat. I can and do enjoy them regardless, but God said, “No!” I cannot limit myself and still trust and serve God.
We all must take a firm, positive stand and never admit that there is lack of any kind in our life. Looking at and focusing on our faith with a discerning eye, we see that God is manifesting His abundant help and love to meet our every need.
Through prayer, affirm and realize that “God’s wisdom and good judgment were implanted in you from the beginning. You are now making your way illumined and prosperous. “ Can you imagine walking around, bumping into things because your eyes were closed and claiming that you didn’t know where you were going? Certainly not…. So why close your eyes and blind yourself to the waiting good of God by saying, “I don’t know what to do.” Stay in prayer and know and affirm that with God, you know where each step is leading you. This is the way to make God’s wisdom work for you and guide you in paths of righteousness and plenty.
The world needs you. You have God given talents and capabilities that you can use to the glory of God that will bring a spiritually rich reward. Believe it, trust it, live it. There is something that you can do better than anyone else. Through the loving, efficient service you can render, you will fulfill a need in the world. And God will walk beside you every step of the way, and His light will shine on you.
You will find the way to embrace your talents and use them for the good, as you develop your inner resources and capabilities. “When the way seems dark, pray for spiritual illumination and guidance and bring all your thoughts into the light and radiance that is Christ. You will become the center of light, joy, and optimism.”
And more than that, your glow will inspire success and you will display such confidence that others will notice. We are God’s executives; and He helps those who put forth the effort to use their faculties and abilities righteously. We, then, shall be called by God to manifest His goodness.
Each one of us is an avenue through which God works. As we pray with and for each other, we find that great faith that knows no limits.
“We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.” Psalm 124:7
God is with us, not separate, not miles away, He is closer than a breath, and He knows You have a knowingness inside of you that is beyond you. It is God.
GOD NEVER LIMITS YOU!
If you are shut-in in some area of your life, if you feel handicapped in some area, God knows what to do. God knows what to do to bring you back into health or prosperity.
We have many thoughts inside of us. Sometimes these thoughts are like people arguing with us, and actually we’re just arguing and discussing with ourselves. Sometimes all these thoughts are coming at the same time, and the thoughts become very jumbled; but we can do this! We don’t have to give up. We’re not wasting our time and our efforts. All our knowledge all our desires, our needs, our prayers are all inside of us. And they all have our voice we just need to direct these individual thoughts toward God and be in total faith.
The Bible often refers to humans as sleepers. A great deal of your life is spent sleeping. The Bible tells us to wake up to our possibilities. We are that, but we are more. We are also the active person, the playful person and the serious person.
You have the Mind of God that is constantly working through your mind. Not one of us ever needs to say, “Well, I’m a dummy. I just don’t know what to do. I feel so frustrated.” We may say that from our lower human self. We need to turn to the all-knowingness of God. God is accessible to work inside of us.
It is the gift of God to you. God brings out ideas for your personal life. They are custom tailored ideas that you can use. God does not just give you the idea and say, “Okay, you’ve got the idea. You’re on your own now.” No. God helps you to express that idea through you. That’s the way it will always be.
The power that comes to your life is not the result of luck.
Montane said, “Man is certainly stark mad. He can’t make a worm, and yet he will make gods by the dozens.” What have we made gods of in our lives? Sometimes we make gods of even our limitations, the things that imprison us. We may think that it’s funny that we would make a god of our own prison cell, but we have. We do it every day. We have gotten comfortable in that prison cell. We need to get out of it. We need to walk out.
The hardest point in Mel’s life was when he left the security and safety of that room that he had known all his life. When he first ventured out, it wasn’t very far. When he reached the sidewalk, he said his heart was in his throat. Can you just imagine?
The hardest thing that you have to do will be to venture out in that area where you are unsure of yourself. But remember, God is with you now. Pretty soon you will be going further and further. We have evolved past the point where we need to depend on luck or charms. God has the power in our lives.
We need to know with certainty that God changes I can’t to I CAN inside of you. God is not I can’t. God is an I CAN God.
GOD NEVER LIMITS YOU!
God’s help is instant and automatic, the moment you ask for it. It keeps coming and coming and coming. You don’t have to depend on it. It is automatic. You just know that it is there. And in your knowing, it continues to come through you. There is no such thing as luck. Nothing comes by chance. All things happen as a result of faith or lack of faith.
Nothing can stand in your way because you are a child of God. Claim that right now for yourself in faith.
I’m not talking about the kind of speed that will make you go faster in your outer life.
Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” I’m talking about the stillness of prayer in which the quickening of freedom takes place. You’re in your quiet and safe place as you vpray and meditate. You’re not so tense. You don’t have so much worry. You’re not spinning your wheels. Everything is working out okay. You’re consenting to God, and that becomes a powerful prayer.
Do you remember the story of Moses at the Red Sea? His people were behind him. What were they doing? WERE THEY shouting, “Go ahead Moses! We believe in you? We know you can make it? We are so grateful you brought us here?”
No! They were ready to throw in the towel. I want you to hear this story. But instead of thinking of the Israelites behind Moses, think you are Moses and ALL the other people are those negative thoughts inside of you. You’re going to do something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time, but you have listened to the inside instead of being a leader, instead of leading by God’s working through you.
And they said to Moses, “It is because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us to die in the wilderness. What have you done to us bringing us out of Egypt?”
Now, keep in mind that in Egypt the Israelites were slaves. They had the worst possible existence. Now they’re free. But like negative thoughts inside, they complain.
“Is not this what we said to you in Egypt? Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians. For it would have been much better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
In other words, the negative thoughts will say inside of you, “Why are you bothering me? Why do you want me to go into this new freedom? I am happy here in the hell that I’m in. I don’t want to go and venture out into some new area. Please leave me alone. It’s scarey out there.”
Moses said to the people, “Fear not. Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord which will work for you today.”
When you are trying to solve a problem, get moving, stand firm, knowing that the Lord’s salvation is right there. And it isn’t a one-time thing; it happens every moment of your life. “For the Egyptians who you see today, you will never see again.” The Lord will fight for you. You have only to be still.” The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.’”
With water in front of him, he is told to go forward. TRUST. Moses had no idea at that moment how to go forward, but he knew he could and would. His negative thoughts did not blind or imprison him. He knew that there was going to be a firm foundation underneath his feet with his first and then many steps. He knew God was right beside him.
“Lift up your rod, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it that the people may go on dry land through the sea.”
Now, stretch out your hand and say, “I believe in God.” It’s okay if you are frightened, but you know that with God, there will be a way. You will in faith and trust, regardless of adversity, that your path is clear and waiting. That sea of negativity is going to part, and you are going to walk safely to the other side – and on dry land. God sees that you will succeed.
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
Put on your armor of God, give yourself that gift of being totally connected to Him. You will unlock that prison door, rising above any handicap, diversity, and affirming in prayer what you are going to accomplish. Affirm, feel, trust, and believe it. Then you are going to walk forward, giving thanks because you’re walking on dry land with new found freedom over personal bondage.
Let us pray. “Dear God, I pray for the power of personal freedom. I pray for the power to get up and go to new heights of awareness, and living. I pray for new blessings that I cannot see from this vantage point. I pray You will be with me, empowering me, so that I may make a difference with my life. I am ready to go beyond my fears, beyond what I can see with my eyes, into the good that You have already prepared for me. In Jesus Christ’s name… Amen