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Glory of His Presence

I am a home care worker and a freelancer writer. I write a lot of essays based on my personal experiences. In October of 2008 I broke my wrist. Much of what I am currently writing is lessons I have learned from my broken wrist and a frozen shoulder that came along with the first injury. Some day I like to see these essays published, but for now I will share them with you and hope that they will glorify God.

Introduction to Lessons Learned from a Broken Wrist
Posted:Jan 11, 2009 2:52 pm
Last Updated:Jan 11, 2009 2:59 pm
7084 Views

In October I broke my wrist. I’ve gone through a lot since then. God, has a way of speaking to me through word pictures, and I find him giving me lessons in the midst of my suffering. Repeatedly I find myself thinking about how I Corinthians 12 talks about the body and how all parts work together. Paul then points out that the church as the body of Christ needs to work together in the same way. We can’t be fighting over who has the most important position. Instead we need to work together and support one another.
When one body part hurts the whole body hurts. Likewise when one member of the body of Christ suffers, the whole church is affected. I would like to write an essay on the relationship of the body parts and how they are affected by an injury or illness. That would explain how the church is affected by the problems of church members who are unable to function as they should and how their pains affect the whole church.
Right now I am not able to write the whole essay. I have lots of ideas and I don’t quite now how to put them all together so they are organized and flow well. I sense that because my arm, wrist, and hand are still in the process of being healed, I may gain additional insights. However, what I would like to do is present some of my observations on my blog. I welcome any comments not just on my present physical problems, but especially on the workings of the body of Christ. They will not necessarily be in the chronological order. I may flip back and forth from observations I noticed just after my injury to meditations that relate to my present condition. I am going to try to present just one idea at a time.
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Adjustments and Breakthroughs
Posted:Apr 5, 2009 8:25 am
Last Updated:Apr 29, 2009 3:53 pm
7091 Views

Sometimes we reach points in our lives where we get discouraged. We may not be at rock bottom, but we seem to have reach a mid way point. We may seem stuck at that point unable to reach the spot at the top where we really want to be.

It may seem like we are in the middle of an ocean treading water, because our boat has sunk. The good news is that we are at the top of the water, but we are too far from shore to swim and be totally safe. Our own efforts may keep us from sinking, but we need someone else to rescue us.
The person who is treading water does not use as much energy as swimming, but it does take constant effort. Even though he may not be able to get to shore, it takes effort to just stay on top. He needs to conserve energy, because he doesn’t know how long it will be before help comes. However, even with only exerting that minimum effort the person will eventually grow weary and tired. If he finally sees help in sight he will renew his efforts, but if he can’t see his rescuers he may get discouraged and give up.

This is how I felt when I reached a plateau with my shoulder. I was glad that I still had some use of my arm, but I could not reach up or out as far as I could before my injury. My wrist and hand had responded well to physical therapy, but progress on getting my arm and shoulder to move as they should where minimal,. After the minute initial improvement I felt I kept going without any new progress. It would have been easy to give up, but I still hoped for further progress and feared if I didn’t continue to exercise as much as I could the shoulder would freeze up even more. I did not want to I would lose what little use I did have of my arm. I was in a battle with the scar tissue and I didn’t seem to be winning. All was not totally lost, but it took continued effort to stay where I was.

My doctor did offer a solution which seemed drastic to me. I would have a mini surgery where I was knocked out and then he would yank my arm into a position where it would work normally. In therapy when the therapists yanked on my arm I experienced great pain. She warned me that although I would be sedated for the operation, I would experience pain when I awoke, and of course the doctor had already told me that it would take at least a week of intensive surgery to keep the muscles working.

At that point I really didn’t want surgery, but I knew I didn’t have any other alternatives. My biggest fear was that the pain would be so great that I would give up on therapy and end up worst than before. Right up to the day of the procedure, I continuing my exercises hoping that I would see progress. My therapist continued her efforts hoping that she could push the arm into the desired position. This was a battle between scar tissue and muscle. Now scar tissue has great strength, but muscle tissue has one advantage. Muscles are flexible whereas scar tissue is rigid. Unfortunately my muscles did not have the strength to break the grip of the scar tissue. In fact because they feared the pain that came when they reached their limit, they actually worked against their own efforts and the efforts of my therapist. The reason it was necessary to totally sedate me, was to prevent their working against the surgeon.

I do this in my own life sometimes. Though I may know what is right and what God’s will is for me, I battle against sin. I would like to say that good always prevails against evil, sometimes sin gets a strong grip on our lives, and because we enjoy sin or we fear persecution we may not fight as hard as we should. We may reach a plateau where with effort we maintain ground, but seem unable to climb any higher. Although sin may be strong, with God’s grace we can prevail, but we need his help as the Master Surgeon. We may need Him to override our urges to resist.

When I had my shoulder adjustment, I was amazed at the results. The doctor accomplished in a few minutes what my own efforts with weeks of therapy had failed to accomplish. I was relieved to discover that the pain was not nearly as great as I anticipated, and although I did have to continue therapy, the results of the adjustment encouraged me and I was not tempted to give up.

As I struggle with life’s temptations I have to trust the Master Surgeon. He does want me to battle against evil, but he will not allow me to tempted beyond my ability to endure. There are times where my efforts will bring slow, but continued progress, but there will also be times where I reach the plateaus. At those times I may feel like I’m battling to maintain ground, or if I slack off I may slide back. At these times when I’ve reached the end of my rope, God may intervene and even override my fears or my natural tendencies to resist. It is then that I will experience the breakthroughs that seemed impossible on my own. God will require me to resume my fight to maintain the new level He brought me to, but I will be encouraged that I am no longer where I was before.

As long as I live there will be new battles to fight. In this life I’ll never reach the highest mountain peak, but each new plateau will be at a place higher than the last. There will even be times that I do slip back, but with God’s help I’ll not only regain lost ground, but will climb up even higher.

The role of the church should be to help those who have reached the plateaus and are discouraged by lack of progress and also those who have backslidden. Church members need to encourage those who may be discouraged and two step along side to reinforce their efforts. Although over dependence on others is not a good thing sometimes its not good to be too independent on others. Sometimes we don’t even know how to pray for our needs. We need other to intercede and stand in the gap for us. Without the support of others we may feel stranded on the plateau or may be overwhelmed as we find ourselves slipping back. A helping hand may be just what we need to bring a breakthrough, Of course as helpers members of the church need to look to God for wisdom as to how to work together with others.
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Exercising with a Broom
Posted:Mar 29, 2009 6:31 pm
Last Updated:Apr 5, 2009 8:23 am
7116 Views

Some of the exercises I do for my shoulder are done with a broom. The broom helps the arms work together. If I lift only the weak arm, pain may prevent me from lifting it to its limit. I may have a tendency to do some of the cheating motions I talked about in “Leaning over Backwards.” Also the muscles may tightened preventing the arm from going up further. However, if I use the broom and push with the strong arm, the weak arm may resist less. It is all about getting the arms to work together, and the weak arm allowing the strong one to push its limits.

The idea of working together is important in life, too. Much more can be accomplished if people combine efforts. It’s important to work with a partner, not against him. The same is true in a church. Members may not always be evenly matched, but two things are important. First the weaker partner should be willing to work to the best of his ability and to learn from his partner. In doing so he stretches his limits and abilities. Secondly the stronger partner needs to be willing to teach his partner and to allow the weaker partner to do things. The stronger partner can not be a show off, nor should he get upset if his partner does not do things exactly like he would. As I have mentioned in another lesson, the process of working together may be as important as the results of the job. Of course in many cases one partner may be strong in one area, but weaker in another. In this case one person being proud about his strengths might blind him to the strengths of his partner.

There are, however, times that people do not work together well. The Bible warns about not being unequally yoked with an unbeliever. This warning is primarily directed towards a believer marrying an unbeliever, but the principle extends to other relationships as well. The reason why the warning is so strong for marriage is that marriage should be an equal partnership and because God regards marriage as a life long commitment so the believing spouse should strongly consider the faith of his potential mate before he or she enters the covenant.

The Bible forbids the yoking of two different kinds of animals together. For example an ox should not be joined with a donkey because there is a difference in the way the two animals pull. One book I read suggested that the weaker animal would be harmed because he would essentially pulled along. I also think there would be negative effect on the stronger animal, because not only would be that animal pull more than half the load, but he would also be straining to pull the weaker animal along. The two kinds of animals might also have different temperaments so one animal might be stubbornly pulling against the other. An unbeliever has a different set of values and that can make things difficult for the believer.

Hopefully when two believers work together they will have the same goal of pleasing Christ. They will both use the Bible as there standard. This does not necessarily mean that things will always go smoothly, but they will try to work out their disagreements and at times simply respect the other person’s right to be different, because no two persons were created to be alike.
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Not all Nigerians are scammers
Posted:Mar 29, 2009 4:05 pm
Last Updated:Apr 1, 2009 1:03 pm
8181 Views

I got an e-mail from my pastor and the subject line got my attention. The subject was pray for the Nigerians. My first reaction was, "That's where the scammers come from. Of course not all Nigerians are scammers. It seems the Nigerian Christians are coming under a lot of persecution. So please pray for them
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Scar Tissue 2
Posted:Mar 19, 2009 9:26 pm
Last Updated:Jun 16, 2024 8:33 am
7003 Views

Scar tissue has two qualities that are noteworthy. One quality is its persistence. It will hang around for years long after its original purpose is gone. I already talked about that persistence in Scar Tissue 1.

The second quality is that scar tissue is formed by our own bodies and initially it was formed with the good intention of protecting the body. Most scar tissue is formed on the outside of the body and protects wounds from infections. The problems is that scar tissue is stiff and does not have the flexibility that muscles have to allow them to move. When scar tissue grows internally it stiffens up the muscles as well. The only way the body can protect itself from freezing up is to continuously move the affected muscles. If the muscles are not worked, the scar tissue takes over and the individual finds himself unable to work those muscles.

Sometimes our minds do the same thing. When we suffer emotional traumas such as being abused or ridiculed, we develop ways to deal with those traumas. We develop ways to protect ourselves. Sometimes those ways are helpful in the short run, but limit us in the long run. They freeze up our minds so that they no longer brainstorm to think of new ways to deal with life and we limit ourselves.

The little girl who has been sexually abused may learn to avoid and mistrust men, but if that mindset continues into adulthood, she will have difficulties trusting a husband and being intimate with him.
A who is mentally abused may avoid trying new things, because he is afraid of failure and criticism. That will limit his outlook on life and he will not reach his full potential.

Change becomes difficult for these people, because these wrong way of thinking. These mindsets become habits and even though people may see the negative effects of their actions, they seem trapped and unable to see a better way. Part of the solution is to remain open minded, but we also need to recognize and reject the wrong ideas. Especially in times of traumas we need to focus on God who is the source of wisdom.

Churches and the world around them are full of people who have experienced traumas. Sometimes the emotional scars are obvious. Other times they are hidden. The people affected by them may even be blocking out the memories of the events that caused them. Sometimes we can see the wrong mindsets, but have no concept of what caused them.

There are three spiritual muscles that help us fight emotional scars. The first one, forgiveness, is important because it keeps our minds open. Forgiveness does not excuse the people who have harmed us, nor does it mean we should go back to trusting them, but it does enable us avoid being bitter and seeking revenge. Instead forgiveness allows us to seek the wisdom that brings emotional healing. The second muscle is reading our Bibles to discover the right ways to do things. The third is praying which gives us specifics on how to apply the Biblical principles. God can reveal what is hidden both in dealing with our own traumas and in helping others. By flexing these muscles we will prevent the emotional scars and even reverse the negative effects that happen when the wrong mindsets take hold.
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Leaning Over Backwards
Posted:Mar 18, 2009 6:46 pm
Last Updated:Mar 19, 2009 8:11 pm
7125 Views

My body parts have the funniest ways of trying to work for my weak wrist and shoulder. If I try to raise my arm I often find myself leaning over backwards. If I am trying to move my arm to the side I find myself twisting. If my therapy is stretching my fingers my shoulder twitches. These movements have a minimal effect, but even though my body does these things unconsciously, they are a form of cheating. Even if these movements brought results, they would not help the injured body parts to regain their former strength. These movements are the attempt of other body parts to take over the job of the weak parts.

It took a lot of effort to do my exercises the right way, but my goal was not just to reach, but rather to strengthen and stretch the weak muscles to retrain them. Though my goal may be to lift my arm to a certain height, the process was as important as the goal and in order to make the process automatic, I had to discipline myself and repeat the exercises not just once, but several times a day.

There is a lesson in this for the body of Christ. Too many times we focus just on the goal and not the process. We aim to establish perfect programs and fail to see that God is just as concerned with the process of how we serve as He is in results. Sometimes we are so focused on the end result that we try to take short cuts. Sometimes these short cuts go directly against God’s word. Other times we simply fail to consult Him on how to proceed. When we impatiently do things our own way, our way may be inefficient and ineffective. We may get impatient with other members of the church and may try to do their job for them.

Serving God is like going on a vacation with a family. Though we may have a destination, getting there is half the vacation. The destination is not the only goal, but rather to spend quality time with the family. The pleas of “Are we there yet?” can be lessened if getting there is part of the fun. The imaginative parent comes up with songs to sing and games to play. He may point out things of interest that they are passing by. Even on the best planned vacations, things can go wrong. Vacations are much more pleasant if the unexpected problems are taken in stride rather than be the cause of stress and short tempers.

At my church I teach a class of four and five year olds. I try to plan the perfect lessons, but sometimes nothing goes as I planned, I get discouraged when my students hit each other, or run around the room. They may be inattentive at story time and I may wonder if they are learning anything. What
I need to realize is that I don’t have to be the perfect teacher. Even being the perfect teacher would not bring instant results, because my students are not perfect either. They are in a process of growing and maturing.
Teaching that class is not all about the students spouting off a memory verse, or taking home a cute little craft. What they learn most is what is repeated week after week. They come to think of church as a place to have fun with friends and to learn about God. They learn to get along with each other, but this doesn’t mean they will never misbehave.


Actually I am the process of learning some of the same lessons they are learning. I may not hit others, but sometimes a sharp word can be just as displeasing to God, as the behaviors of my four and five year olds. I am learning the discipline of being there whether I feel like it or not, the discipline of planning and being prepared, and to lean on God to help me deal with the unexpected.

Just when I think I’m not teaching them anything, they show me that some things do sink in. It seems so cute when the students tell me that the Rainbow colors are green and white which stand for growing and purity. They move there hands apart to indicate growing and put their hands over there hearts for purity. At that moment they look like little angels.

Often churches focus on fancy programs and forget the true needs of the people they serve. As of members of those churches our goal should be to help others grow, but the amazing thing is that we change ourselves in the process. Often when we feel that we most need others to help us, God calls us to take our focus off our needs by helping others.
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Hoping for a Miracle, But Facing the Pain
Posted:Mar 3, 2009 1:19 pm
Last Updated:Mar 4, 2009 12:42 pm
7293 Views

I have never in my life hoped for a miracle as much as I did in the days leading up to my shoulder adjustment. Now there are people who think God does not perform miracles and that even the times miracles do happen there is a reason for them within the laws of nature. There are also those who think that if we do not have 100% faith in a miracle that we will not receive one. These people seem to think that praying “If it is your will, Lord,” really lack the faith to receive a miracle.

Now I do believe in miracles, but I also believe that we have to trust God to do things within His will. When God performs miracles it is to claim the glory. When God heals in a way that goes beyond the normal principles of healing, then most people know a miracle has happened and that God is responsible. Miracles get the attention of the skeptics. However, if people assume that their faith is responsible for the miracles, they may in some cases try to steal the glory.

There are some ministers that by the power of the Holy Spirit perform a lot of miracles. Often the skeptics focus on these ministers and try to discredit them. It takes a humble person to perform these miracles and keep the focus on God and away from their being the vehicle of God’s power.

As I faced the prospect of a shoulder adjustment I was apprehensive. The procedure itself was relatively simple, but I knew I would have to face a lot of pain and work to keep the shoulder going after the procedure. I really feared that it would be taking a step backward and that if I didn’t preserve I would be worst off. I normally seem to have a fairly high pain tolerance, but I feared that this pain would overwhelm me, and I would shrink back from the exercise necessary to totally win over the scar tissue that sought to control my body.

I had been going to therapy for about two months. That therapy had brought a lot of results in restoring the use of my wrist, hand, and fingers. However, the results in helping me regain the use of shoulder muscles were minimal. I had disciplined myself not just to attend therapy, but also to exercise on my own. It encouraged me to see the progress I made on using my wrist, hand, and fingers. However, the lack of progress with my shoulder muscles was discouraging and did not seem worth the effort.

My first hope was that things would turn around and that therapy would make the desired results and I could avoid the dreaded adjustment. As time went on I realized that it would take a miracle for that to happen. Despite the therapist efforts to push my shoulder in the desired position, and my own efforts of exercise, I had to accept that the surgical adjustment was necessary. I still hoped for a very dramatic miracle where I suddenly was able to extend my arm and complete healing would instantly happen.

I attend a church that believes in very active worship. We clap, raise our hands, and dance before the Lord. It bothered me that I could not raise my arms to Him like I once did and that my clap was very hollow and not a loud one like it once did. Now I know God will accept whatever body motions I give Him, but I wanted to give Him what I had once been capable of. Even if it was painful I wanted to be able to give Him a sacrifice of praise and hoped in the process He would loose up the frozen shoulder. I realize that my motives were probably not pure, because my major focus was on the healing I desired, rather than just giving my all to praise Him regardless the results. Each week I also sought prayer from others hoping that they would be the vehicles of my miracle.

I finally had to accept that God wanted the glory and it was his choice how to heal me it. I knew my greatest goal in life is not to avoid pain, but to give God the glory He deserves. Though a miracle might seem to give Him more glory, His will might be to show His glory through me in a more humbling way.

I also began to understand in a small way how Jesus must have felt as He prayed in Gethsemane. He knew that the cross would bring great pain. He wished to avoid that pain, but also knew that the goal of saving the world was of utmost importance. He would welcome an easier way to achieve that goal, but knew He had to trust the Father.
Now my surrendering to God is not as important as saving the world, but I do need to surrender to Him and trust that He has a purpose in what He is doing, and that in His own time He will reveal that purpose, and in a small way I will have a share of His glory.

When I first made an appointment for my adjustment, I still hoped for an easier way. However, I knew that if therapy did not succeed, and a miracle did not happen, I would have to follow through on the surgical adjustment, trusting that God would guide the surgeon’s hands and that my healing would come in a more natural way.

Yesterday, I had the procedure and I am happy to say that it went well. In His mercy God limited the pain to what I can bear, and I am now confident, that with His help I can maintain the discipline to keep the arm moving and avoid the return of the scar tissue that once bound me. Of course I still need to take things one day at a time and trust Him to complete what He has begun.
1 comment
Scar Tissue 1
Posted:Feb 24, 2009 5:47 pm
Last Updated:Oct 11, 2009 1:01 pm
7320 Views

An unfortunate side effect of my wrist injury was scar tissue on my upper arm and shoulder. When my wrist bone broke it jutted up causing my hand and arm to look like the bend of a spoon. Of course in order for my wrist to properly heal my bones had to be set back into their proper position. The setting of my arm was done in a drastic way. My arm and finger were put into a device were put into a device that looked to me like a Medieval torture device. My arm hung in this position for a couple hours so that gravity would pull on the broken bones so they would slip into proper position. A doctor also yanked on my arm a couple times to complete the process.

Needless to say this procedure was a trauma to my arm and shoulder, though no bones were broken. It did stretch and strain the muscles. When the body experiences trauma it produces scar tissue. Normally we think of scars on the outside of the body, but this tissue can also form on the inside of the body. It is the body’s way of trying to protect itself, but it often does more harm than good. It is the body’s way of getting the muscles to stay still so they can heal, but if they stay still too long the muscles freeze up and are unable to move.

Scar tissue is similar to normal tissue, but is actually counterfeit tissue. It is not as strong or as flexible as normal muscles. It is very tough and becomes like glue between the muscle tissues prohibiting normal movement. If the muscles don’t fight against this inferior tissue they freeze up and are unable to move. Even if the muscles do move the tissue is persistent. It keeps reforming trying to take over.

As I write this my arm am able to raise my arm even as far as my shoulder. I also have a limited wrist. This restricted movement makes it difficult to do certain things that I once took for granted. Washing my hair is a painful process and sometimes I find it difficult to even reach a faucet at the back of a sink. As long as I restrict my movements I don’t feel pain, but that would mean being dependent on others to do these simple things for me, and it would restrict my ability to help the people I work for who have a variety of medical problems.

In order to win I have to work through a lot of pain and persist until the scar tissue finally gives up. Even then the victory may be temporary, but if the muscles don’t move they remain captive.

This reminds me of sin in our lives. Sin can seem so appealing counterfeiting as a legitimate need in our life when it really is battling against godly desires in our life. Like scar tissue, sin can be very persistent. We have to be on guard and constantly battling it or it will take over when we relax our spiritual muscles. The good news is that if we focus on God and his will for us we can win. For greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world.

The church needs to be on guard against sin. Sometimes it needs to battle counterfeit Christians who blend in with believers trying to convince us that it is all right to twist the word of God. They skillfully convince the true believers that what is wrong is really okay and that God’s standards are harsh and may even be wrong for us. This battle is not easily won. Christians need to put on God’s armor and look to Him for protection. Their weapon is to learn and practice God’s wisdom. Sin does not easily give up, but the battle is the Lord’s and with his support we can win. We may not always be able to identify the counterfeit Christians, but we can learn God’s truth and practice it.
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