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[Five Years Later – The Journey - 4/27/12]

 Five Years Later – The Journey - 4/27/12

Family, friends, and associates, I am sending this note today to acknowledge that it was five years ago today that my LORD and Savior got my attention and changed my life forever.  Five years ago on Friday, April 27, 2007 I was confronted with that health crisis (brain tumor) that threatened to take my life.  Jesus met me there in that hospital ER, comforted me, and started me on a journey of discovery of the LIFE that He promised us.  In a few words here, I want to thank Him not only for that turning-point moment in my life, but also to acknowledge and thank Him for the journey that He has brought me on over these five years… a journey of continuing renewal, discovery, and understanding of what Jesus himself defined as ETERNAL LIFE – that we might know our Father, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3).

Here are a few of the major take-away points that the Lord has taught (indeed continues to teach) me during this journey.

The Providence of God – During this journey, the Lord has demonstrated to me countless times through life experiences that He is always very much in control and actively involved in His creation.  He is actively involved and working all things as part of His good plan and purpose.  He is doing this even when we find it impossible to understand.  Moreover, the more I have come to understand and embrace this, the more I have seen that God is communicating to us in dramatic ways all around us through creation and our life experiences.  In Romans 1:19-20, Paul describes this in the context of people who reject the truth of God not having any excuse because He is making His divine presence obvious to them.  But in my experience, I have also come to see that to even the believer, the child of God, He is making Himself known to us in a pretty obvious way.  So He has brought me to a place where I don’t take for granted anything that happens to or around me.  With this, coupled closely with a very active prayer life (listening to Him) and constant diet of His living word, I can hear His voice and see His hand at work all around me.

The Closeness of God – I have come to have a real appreciation for just how close God is to each and every one of us.  Of course He is close to His children, but even to those who do not believe in Him… even then He is close (for He sends us to minister and be with them).  In Acts 17:27b Paul, when talking to Athenian unbelievers, tells them of the LORD that He is “not far from every one of us.”  I have truly found that every little thing that is important to me is also vitally important to my Heavenly Father.  Just as it is with the relationship between earthly parents and their children, there is nothing that I go through that does not concern Him.  And unlike the tendency at times of us earthly parents, He never gets tired of me asking Him about even the smallest (seemingly insignificant) things.

The Faithful Provision of God – I find it hard to find words that are adequate to describe how much God has demonstrated and proven Himself to my family in this area.  But suffice it to say that the fact that we are still here (in Crystal Falls subdivision in Leander Texas, seeking His will and doing His work, and having all of our needs met by Him) is again a testimony in and of itself.  In the words of Jesus, even if you don’t believe me, “believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:11).  This November it will be 3 years since the LORD called me from the corporate world where I was actively climbing the “ladder.”  Since that time, the one and only reason that we are still living in the same neighborhood is because GOD WANTS US HERE… It was Him who brought us here 5 years ago, and it is Him who is sustaining us while we are here.  I have come to see and appreciate each and every provision as coming directly from His faithful hand.  And again because of His divine providence, He has utilized a variety of ways to bless and sustain us throughout this time.  Some of those ways have included moving in the hearts of people to give to us (without solicitation), blessing the resources and things that we have and making them go farther than our needs demanded.  We have lived out examples much like the one that He gave when Jesus fed the masses with the few loaves of bread and fishes (Matthew 14 and Mark 8) and also the barrel of meal that did not waste and the cruz of oil that did not fail for the widow of Zerephath (1 Kings 17:14).  We have lived and continue to live under this covering.  And once again, as a demonstration of just how close God is to every one of us and His divine providence, I can now look back and survey my life and see that way back even when I didn’t know it, God was in control directing my life and preparing me for these very days.  For a time just such as this.  This recognition of Him as our sole resource (not our own abilities) is a very important thing for ALL of God’s people to grasp and understand.  When fully comprehended, we will understand that in this (material needs) and so many other areas, we are indeed rich beyond anything that we can imagine.  No matter what we see in the natural, because we know we are His children and what we know about things we can’t see, we know that in every situation we have more than enough IN HIM.  True story.

The Importance of Humility – This has been a tremendous and hard-taught lesson that in many ways I see as one of the keys to the Spirit-filled abundant life that Jesus promised us and truly lived out as an example for us to learn from when He was here.  In so many ways He has demonstrated this principle through experiences He has taken me through.  He has proved the importance of dying to myself and my own feelings (humbling myself) and trusting that He is working everything.  Because I love Him and have been called for His purpose, I trust that He is indeed working everything for good (Romans 8:28)—either for my own personal good or for the good of others through things He is doing through me.  When we understand this pattern of humility that Jesus patterned for us (Philippians 2:5-9), apply it and truly live it out in our lives, it will unlock many areas of abundance and power in our lives that is currently dormant and untapped.  The ability to resist the ever-present temptation to promote or exalt oneself is vitally essential to being used mightily by God.  Again in the example just given of Jesus from Philippians 2:9, because He humbled Himself, God highly exalted Him.  In much the same way, our Father wants to exalt you and I but He can not if we are busy exalting ourselves (out of pride and the lack of humility).  For as it is written, “all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” - Luke 14:11. 

It Has Never Been About Me – From the very beginning of my story, God has been through this experience reminding me that this has never been about me.  I remember during my hospital stay for the initial brain surgery in 2007 that a lady who worked at the hospital said after hearing my story that “You are here for me.”  There is a chapter in my story that describes that encounter and just as it was then, it is still the same now, everything that God has been doing in and through me has always been about other people.  Indeed, everything that He blesses you and me with is typically power, ability, or knowledge (talents) being given to us to be able to bless others.

Finally, the full list of lessons and take-away points is so long that time does not allow me to cover all of them here.  But suffice it to say there are many, many more things that I could describe about the teachings and examples of life lessons.  For example, I can not describe for you the number of times that the LORD continues to demonstrate to me almost daily how the Word of God is indeed alive and speaks to us.  Through it He speaks to me not only about my own situations, but also about those of others who He brings across my path.  He is speaking so very clearly and prominently today.  It is by far the most important thing for all of us.  Truly the night is far spent and the day is at hand (Romans 13:12).

I know that there are many people who find a great deal of what I say hard to believe or doubt the seriousness of my claims of how God has called me and is working in and through me.  I will leave you in response to that with one final example from God’s word.  This example comes from one of the Pharisees who instigated the killing of Jesus and later tried to silence the apostles.  In Acts 5:34-39 Gamaliel cautioned the rest of the council that if Peter and the other disciples were doing things that were of men, they would ultimately come to nothing.  But if they were of God, they would be established.

Be blessed today, may God's grace and peace be unto you,

Gerald

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© 2010 Gerald L. Prater

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