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Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you ever have a sense that the world is collapsing upon you? Do you sometimes think that it is better just to give up and quit because life is too hard, and the road ahead is too difficult?
We all have times in our lives when we feel this way. We really feel we don't have the strength to go on. All seems dark and we feel trapped. Certain circumstances usually dictate this feeling -- such as financial troubles, death of a loved one, a bad decision, sickness or disease, a difficult marriage, friends that turn on us, with troubles at work or ungodly rulers.
Often we try to overcome our problems in our own power. We struggle, fret, and complain. Ultimately, we can feel completely helpless and hopeless. We are defeated.
However, this is not God's way. He wants us to put on spiritual eyes and walk by faith. We need to realize that Satan wants to shut us down -- and shut us up. He does not want us to be a witness to others about our Savior Jesus Christ. He does not want us to be godly fathers and mothers and disciples for Jesus Christ. Satan wants us to be whiners, complainers, angry people, and quitters. He wants our marriages to break up, to become estranged from our children, escape from our difficulties, and shrink from doing hard things.
But we have to remember to put on the eyes of faith and we need to see that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10–12. We need to realize that we have to put our armor on and battle the devil, who tries to thwart us from the way which we would go.
As Ephesians 6 says in verse 10 “put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Yelling in the Night.
God has help me become a spiritual warrior. Never before have I been so aware of the spiritual battle around me. Two reasons: one as I struggle more with multiple sclerosis and feel greater weakness and helplessness, Satan tries to take advantage of me. Secondly, as I have victory over the disease and continue to share the gospel one-on-one, and speak and write God's truth before thousands of people each year, Satan's attack intensifies.
For example, in some of my weakest moments when I can't move a single body part, I start to yell loudly for a few minutes. That is all I can do. I just sit there and scream repeatedly, "I can't take it anymore!" I ask desperately to go home to heaven. I feel like I'm going crazy. Either the pain is too great, or the helplessness too overwhelming.
For example, the other day, I felt so terrible and I just wanted to give in and quit. My mind was so dark. It was as if a cloud hung over me. Usually when these episodes of despair hit me, it takes a few minutes, but God finally reminds me to do spiritual battle.
At that point, I cry out to God quoting scripture and say "in Jesus name. I resist the devil and he must flee from me!" Within minutes, as I declare His Word, the darkness leaves me. Every time I feel as if a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. A “peace that passes understanding” flows over me. Once again my mind focuses on Jesus Christ, and once again His grace is sufficient, and His way of escape is provided, so that I can continue to fulfill his calling.
James 4:7 states, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
And I Peter 5829 declares "resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." Oftentimes in these moments of despair, I began to wrestle in the spiritual world against the devil. I kick him, punch him, and order him to leave. And he does every time! And I know that sometimes it isn't the devil personally, but one of his demons -- nonetheless, the battle is against evil is real and intense.
Trip to the Ohio Homeschool Conference -- Almost Thwarted by Satan.
I was excited to speak at the Christian Home Educators of Ohio conference in June of 2009. I had decided that it was close enough to drive – according to Map Quest, only six hours to Columbus from my home in Virginia. I chose Bethany, my 20-year-old and Susanna, my 14 year old to accompany me in order to assist me. I figured this would be last opportunity to take a trip with Bethany before she was married in August.
As we set out, we prayed for God's blessing and protection asking for His angels to surround us. I was well aware of Satan’s possible attempt to stop us from doing the Lord’s work. In Ohio, I had my Ephesians 6 “full armor” on, however, as I spiritually put on “the helmet of salvation---” I knew I was going to heaven and nothing would change that fact. I was wearing the “breast plate of righteousness and my “loins gird with truth” so that I wouldn't listen to Satan's lies and would stand on the promises of God. My “feet were shod with the preparation of the gospel” as I was ready with tracts to witness to those we met along the way
Car Breaks Down
After four hours, we stopped at a gas station. And Bethany and I switched places so I could continue the drive. When I turned the key, the car would not start. I figured it must be the battery. I told Bethany and Susannah to look for a man who earlier had come up to us offering us assistance. As my girls were helping me get into the car behind the driver's seat. They found him in the nearby restaurant. He was eager to help. When he heard me turn the key, he said that it was not the battery. However, I insisted it was and asked him if he could get some jumper cables. He returned to the restaurant and found someone who pulled up their truck next my van and jumped it. The car started right up!
The first gentleman told me where a store was at the next exit -- since it was around seven o'clock and we were concerned it would not be opened and that we would not be able to continue our trip. However, God gave me perfect peace, and I assured the girls that He would take care of us. Satan just wanted to thwart our trip because he knew I was planning to point people to Jesus in my seven talks that I was scheduled to give at the Ohio conference.
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
-1 Peter 5:8
We got to the store just in time. Bethany came out with a young man with a battery installation kit who installed a new battery. When I started the car, I yelled out the window "Praise the Lord!" The young man smiled broadly. I thanked him profusely, and Bethany gave him a tract and told him how to get to heaven.
Late Night Traffic Jam!
But our troubles were just starting. As I took an exit to get from one freeway to another freeway, we ran into a traffic jam. It was not just a few minutes -- we're stuck in traffic over an hour! Now we're about three hours off schedule.
A Massive Rain Downpour
After we got through that mess, more trouble began. The skies opened up a tremendous downpour of rain. It was so bad that I could only see about 20 feet ahead of me on the freeway. Cars were pulling over all over ahead of us. I kept on about a half hour, driving extremely slow in the pouring rain, I cried out in exasperation, "Lord stop this rain!" It was as if we turned off a faucet! The rain stopped, and we are able to continue again at normal speed.
We finally made it to Columbus, and I was careful not to veer off as the freeway split repeatedly. It was almost midnight and we are only two exits away, when suddenly I was in the wrong lane heading off in a different direction on a different freeway! I took the next exit, but did not know how to get back to the original freeway. So I pulled over on the shoulder. Within minutes, a police officer with his lights blinking pulled over next to us. Susanna slid down in her seat. I told her to roll down the window and he said. "Can I help you?"
I told him we were lost, and he asked me for the address of the hotel, which he plugged into his GBS. We followed his directions, and we made it safely there by about 12:30 a.m.. I figured God had sent us an “angel” to guide us to our destination!
We ran into a clerk at the hotel who knew Lord and took me aside and prayed for my healing-- after I inquired if he was a Christian. When we got back to the room, I looked at the program for the conference and notice that I did not speak till 10:30 a.m..
I announce the fact to the girls and we were all happy that we could sleep in after such a long and difficult journey. We prayed together, thanking God for His mercies.
The next morning we got up late to a phone call on my cell from my wife, who had water pouring in the ceiling of our master bedroom. I talked to her for a while, as I calmly tried to counsel her on a course of action regarding the air conditioning unit on the top floor that was overflowing. Meanwhile another phone call came in on the hotel phone. Susannah answered and told them we would be there at the conference at 10:30 p.m. I hung up with my wife and asked Susanne about the call and she said that the person had indicated that I was supposed to be there at 9:00 AM. It was already 10 till 9:00!.
I quickly called the host, Gayle Back, of the conference and learned that might my keynote address was at 9:00 AM and there were about 2000 people waiting for me. She sounded sad but was trying to be positive. I asked her how far away we were from the conference and she indicated about "10 minutes." I asked her how long they could hold them off and she said until about 9:15. I told her I would be there--somehow.
I told the girls and cried out to God asking for His mercy and strength.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
My girls got me dressed in record time and into the car, which I drove quickly to the convention center, where Gayle was nervously waiting for me. I got into my scooter and followed them into the building, through the back way and up the huge freight elevator to the back of the stage, I drove up behind the podium and stood up---the impromptu time of worship and singing by my good friend Steve Demme and a volunteer piano player quickly ended.
Incredibly, God gave me the strength to stand during the next hour and deliver His words in a powerful way.
All I could think is that the devil tried to shut me up but God would not let him. I went on to speak for six more times in His name that weekend. Many people came up to me and told me how that talk touched them and how the Spirit convicted them. They also testified how wonderful the unplanned time of worship was---they were glad I was late!
These stories illustrate how Satan will try in many ways to defeat and silence us. We need to be aware and not take the threat lightly. We MUST DO BATTLE EVERYDAY always crying out to God for grace, strength, wisdom and protection.
We must hold on to the promise, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. Romans 16:20.
We can’t lose with God! Even if you are afflicted with a horrible disease like MS, God is bigger and He will enable you to fulfill His calling on your life.
Go boldly forth, brothers and sisters, each day, no matter what obstacle you face and always remember, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Colossians 1:15.
Do you know what one of the greatest privileges we have to do here on this earth that we won't do in heaven? It is the privilege of winning souls for Christ!
In heaven, everyone will be saved. There will be an eternity to worship God and praise the Three in One. But sharing the gospel with the unsaved won't happen -- there will be no more opportunities.
Therefore, let us all purpose in our hearts to reach out to those around us who are stumbling toward Hell. Isn't it hard to take that some of our friends, relatives, and acquaintances are heading to a place of eternal suffering? Proverbs say, "He who wins souls is wise." Jesus said. "Follow me AND I will make you fishers of men." The Psalmist declared. "How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news. Who bring glad tidings of good things?"
We have been saved and can look forward to a place where there will be no more tears, Sorrell, pain, death, or sin. As Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go there and prepare a place for you. If this was not true, I would not have told you." The reason we are saved, and no doubt, is that someone in vested time in our lives to share the Gospel. Can we do no less for those around us?
Let us share the Gospel to those within our reach!
The Bug Man
Our house was invaded. It was invaded by carpenter ants. We called the bug man and Dustin arrived at our house to combat the unwanted insects. When he came to my office to tell me the verdict concerning the problem and the price, I asked him if he knew where he was going when he died. After 20 minutes of discussing the Gospel with him, I gave him a Gideon New Testament and the “Charity and Amy story,” which I had written telling about God's miraculous preservation of our twins.
Road Trip to Ohio
I had the opportunity to drive to Ohio with Bethany and Susanna, my daughters, to speak at the state wide homeschool convention. We were in a convention center, and I had to go up to the stage by using a freight elevator. As I spoke seven times I shared many Scriptures and the Gospel message.
One person was there every single time. He was the sound man. That was his job-- he didn't have a choice. Finally, at the end of my last talk, God pricked my heart. I drove my scooter over to him and shared for a few minutes the hope that was within me. I gave him a tract that told him how to get to heaven.
Each time we stopped going there and back in between Virginia and Ohio , we passed out tracts. When my battery died, and we had to stop at an auto parts store, we gave a tract to the young men, who replaced the better in my van.
At the rest areas, my daughters spread out tracts in different locations, including in the trays of the vending machines. As we were loading up again in the car, we saw a little boy walking out holding a tract and then showing it to his mother. She took it and put it in her purse. You never know where the word of God will go and when it will be read. But you know that if it is read it will not return void God promises that His Word will accomplish His purpose.
When we were about 30 miles from home, we drove through Leesburg. As we passed a semi-truck in a parking lot, my daughter noticed a grandfather clock for sale. I quickly told my daughter to pull over, because I was approaching my 25th year anniversary and my wife always wanted a grandfather clock. I stayed in the car and told my daughters to go check it out. The man, Wayne, selling the grandfather clock and other furniture on the side of the road was from North Carolina. He had already sold about 15 grandfather clocks and it was his last one. He gave us a deal that I couldn't refuse and I surprised my wife with this special gift.
I decided to ask him if he was a Christian. When he said no, I began to share with him many Scriptures that told him how to get to heaven. He was divorced, and did not go to church. When I asked him if he was going to heaven, he said. "I hope so." When I asked him what he would say when he was standing at the gates of heaven as to why God should let him in, he said. "I guess because I've been pretty good.”
I told him that was not good enough, because our works are as “filthy rags” to God. I told him it was about a relationship with the Son of God. As I told him how he could have a relationship, I gave him a Gideon Bible and tract. We arrived home, knowing that we shared with those within our reach and praying that God would move in the hearts of those who we came in contact with.
The Water Softener Installers
My wife and I visited our county fair with our children. My wife ended up stopping at a booth that sold water softeners. We have never had one and were interested in the possibility. So she signed up to have a man come to our house to do a demonstration and we ended up purchasing one.. Johnny and Matt came to our house to install the water softener.
I drove my scooter down the driveway to the truck to ask some questions about its operation. Then I began to ask them each in turn about their eternal salvation. I gave them each a Gideon NT and our “Charity and Amy story” tract. Matt listened and interacted with me and said he would read the materials.
But Johnny was real interested!
He didn't look like the type -- he was kind of gruff. It turns out he had been thinking of the need to go to church because of his young children. He did not know how to get to heaven, but he wanted to know. This was a perfect opportunity for me to show him the way to heaven. He was visibly elated and exclaimed he “couldn’t wait to come back!”
When he came back a couple weeks later to check on the performance of the water softener, I asked him if he had thought more about being a Christian. He said he wanted to “live as a Christian.” I rejoiced, and said I would pray for him. I got his e-mail and sent him information about local church it in the city lived in
Yes---it is a wonderful blessing to share the Gospel story of what Jesus did for us! Share now to all those within your reach—you will never be sorry.
As Jesus said, “The harvest is great and the workers are few.”
Go and be “fishers of men!”
-By: Chris Klicka (2008)
"How does wearing a dress every day make a difference? Well, in and of itself, it doesn't. However, like tying a string around your finger, like posting a sticky note on your mirror, like writing down a list, it keeps something in the forefront of your mind.
Every morning, when I look in my closet and inwardly groan at the thought of wearing a dress when the wind is howling around the corners of the house and white snow covers the ground, I am also reminded to be thankful that I am a free woman choosing what I want to wear....who will then drive to work in my car, where I will spend my day as a project manager instead of selling my body to men who affection lasts a moment....who will come home every evening to a warm house and husband who loves me.
And I will remember that justice isn't the norm around the world. That not every woman has a loving family and a caring husband. That not every little girl has a childhood where her innocence is preserved. That not every young teen has a chance to go to school and dream of college. That not every mother rocking her baby to sleep can smile at that child's future.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are," wrote Benjamin Franklin.
This Christmas, consider donating to IJM. It doesn't have to be a lot....even $5 or $10 helps. And as you sit in front of your Christmas tree, with your family around you, your gifts waiting to be opened, and your dignity and freedom intact, you'll know that a woman somewhere around the world is being given a chance to experience justice, love, and hope this Christmas." -Bethany Arnoldbik (my sister)
"Once again we are enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday.
Most of us spend time with family and friends, take time off work, decorate the house, and eat a feast. We often reflect on our rich heritage of the pilgrims—their faith, perseverance, and trust in God.
As a family we traditionally write notes of things we are thankful on little slips of paper cut out in the shape of leaves, place them in a basket and read them aloud around the Thanksgiving table after dinner. It is a beautiful warm time of meditating on God’s bountiful blessings.
We many times will thank God for our family, friends, house, food, freedom and God’s great love for us. It is so important that we recognize God’s incredible goodness to us. In fact, we all know we should, and many of us do give thanks to God all year long.
Are we thankful for the not-so-good things?
What about the economic recession? What about the change in the political climate and the loss of freedom we are now facing? What about friends that have moved, sickness, troubles with our teens or other relationships, loss of our job, and other not so good things?
We all need to analyze our hearts that we do not only limit our thanks for the GOOD THINGS or only give thanks at certain times. Instead, we need to get in the habit of giving thanks all the time and faithfully thank God for the NOT SO GOOD THINGS.
God makes it very clear in I Thess. 5:18, “In EVERYTHING give thanks for this is God’s will for you through Christ Jesus.” Does this really mean we should thank God for everything? Must I even thank God for my gradually deteriorating body due to multiple sclerosis—losing my legs little by little and even my right hand?
Yes, I must because this is God’s will for me at this time. I must “keep my eyes fixed on Jesus” and look with spiritual eyes as to how He is working through these negative circumstances. I must still be thankful and show Him and the world that my faith is REAL. I must really believe in His promise in Romans 8:28 that, “ALL THINGS work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Although my flesh is hurting so much, I cannot deny how I have seen God work through the MS to change many people’s lives. He has simultaneously been doing a continual and awesome work in my heart to conform me to the image of His Son—a work on my soul that, in heaven, will be revealed in all its splendor!
Nor has my MS been in vain for my children, as they learn that the Christian life isn’t always a smooth road, but Jesus will sustain them—and they are learning to be true servants in the process.
God is blessing me with “power that is perfected in weakness.” II Cor. 12:9 In fact, Paul says that he would rather boast about his weakness that Christ may be seen in Him. II Cor. 12:10 I have seen God’s promises come true in my life as I daily discover that His “grace is sufficient” for me. He is and will enable me to fulfill His calling to me to be a father to my six children still at home, husband, homeschool lawyer, author, and speaker through His Holy Spirit’s power. It is not my power that will enable me to carry on. It is all Him!
Therefore, through the tears, I can say I am thankful for MS; thankful to be counted worthy.
Remember when the disciples joyfully celebrated being persecuted like their master Jesus had been persecuted?
They were thankful to be counted worthy.
Yes, we are to give thanks for everything, even the not-so-good things.
I heard Pastor Tony Evans on the radio one day, and he explained that there are three types of thanksgiving and praise; the “cum laude” praise, the “magna cum laude” praise, and the “summa cum laude” praise. He said the cum laude praise and thanksgiving is when we thank God for our marriage, our children, our job, our home, clothes, etc. –for the good things in life. Certainly it is important that we live thankful lives. I know that if we have a thankful heart every day we’re going to have a better attitude no matter the circumstances and be an over comer of obstacles in our way. Jesus will shine brighter through us too.
Then, Tony Evans said the magma cum laude thanksgiving and praise is when we’re delivered from some bad situation, much like when the ten lepers were healed by Jesus. The one leper came back and was blessed because he thanked God for delivering him from leprosy. How often do we expect eh healing when we take the medicine or expect our next paycheck to take care of the problem and don’t lean on Jesus and thank Him for His deliverance?
Finally, Tony Evans said there is the summa cum laude praise and thanksgiving. He believes that type of thanksgiving and praise is the most blest of all. God loves to hear us give Him praise and thanksgiving even in the midst of suffering. When Paul and Silas were in prison, chained up, tortured and beaten, and facing a death sentence, the Bible says that they gave praises to God in the “midnight hour.” It must have been some testimony to the other prisoners and the guards in the prison, to hear them praising and thanking God. Did they feel like doing it? Not on your life. Yet they did it, because God deserved the thanks and praise.
The Bible says that we are to glory in our tribulation and count it all joy when we experience diverse suffering. Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4 Are we being thankful in our midnight hour?
This Thanksgiving, let us be truly and wholly thankful, because we are saved by the blood of Jesus, the Son, and are going to heaven, and nothing can change that. Scripture says that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:28-29 Let us be thankful this holiday season because ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
If we have Jesus, we have everything!
Ghanato bring wheelchairs to handicapped people there, Joni Eareckson Tada tells the story in her book, When God Weeps of a polio victim she met who crawled around on her belly, using her arms and hands to drag her body around because she didn’t have a wheelchair. Joni was amazed that she always had a smile on her face. When Joni asked her how she could be so happy when she had nothing, her health was so bad, and she didn’t even have a wheelchair, the poor lady got a puzzled look on her face wondering why Joni would ask her such a question. She responded emphatically, “I have Jesus!”
I do not have the faith yet of that poor girl in
Ghana—but God will complete His good work He has begun in me!
If home schooling is rough this year, the finances are tight, your health is shaky, or your family or friends are forsaking you, you still need to be thankful. God is using each and every circumstance to bring us closer to Him and make us more like Jesus. That is what we want; we can be thankful for this.
Most of all we can be thankful that we have a God who gives Himself to us—His comfort, never-ending love, sustaining strength, wisdom, guidance, and overcoming power! He is there with us and will never leave us or forsake us—Amen!
May God bless you this Thanksgiving and always!"
By Chris Klicka, October 26, 2008