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God’s Plans

The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD!  Psalm 118:14–17

Three surgeries in eight days. Thirteen days in a coma. Eighty-six days in the hospital; fifty-eight of them in the intensive care unit. Missed our daughter’s wedding. Written off by the doctors. Hundreds of people praying. At death’s door. But God had other plans.

What was meant to be a “routine” surgery quickly turned into an enormous trial. I entered the hospital with some stomach pain. The doctors determined that I had diverticulitis (inflamed intestines), and I needed surgery. Things did not go well. One surgery turned into three surgeries in a matter of eight days.

With literally hundreds of people praying for me from all around the world, on the day after four doctors told my wife that there was no hope for my recovery, Miracle #1 occurred. God woke me from my coma.

In just a few short weeks I walked out of the hospital, but my kidneys were still not functioning properly. I was told that for three days per week I would need dialysis. My kidney doctor met with me to tell me I needed a “permanent” port in my arm. He prepared me for a life of dialysis. But I told him that the God who “raised me from the dead” was going to heal my kidneys. My doctor said that I would need the port within four weeks. I told him God would heal me first. My doctor replied, “Son, your kidneys are nearly dead. No one in your condition ever gets off dialysis.” But Miracle #2 occurred. Three weeks and two days after our conversation, to the amazement of my doctor, I was off dialysis and my kidneys were functioning on their own.

Since these events of just three years ago, I have had the opportunity to share my testimony of miraculous recovery with literally thousands of people. My family and I created a post card titled “A Living Miracle” that has been handed out to hundreds of people. I had the opportunity to be on Christian television, where I shared my miracle story. The hospital even asked me to participate in its e-holiday card greeting, in which I shared my story with thousands of employees and others. In addition, I have shared my testimony with nearly every co-worker in the company where I now work.

God is good! He obviously had a greater purpose in mind for my trial that I may never fully understand, but I believe what Psalm 118:17 says: I SHALL NOT DIE, BUT LIVE, AND DECLARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD!

 

………………………

Dave Davis, choir director and Seasoned Saints class leader at Valley Forge Baptist

and chief financial officer for Schaedler Yesco Distribution

The Challenge of Being Cool

There are many words in the English language that have a definite meaning. For example, “stop” means to cause to cease –– really no argument there. The beauty about the English language is the fact that there are so many words that change based on the context or values of the person saying the words.

This principle can work with just about any word or phrase. The word “fear” for one person can mean a totally different thing to another. The word “cool” is described by definition as, “fashionable, attractive, or impressive,” but the concept means something different to each person.

I love golf. I will make time to play golf regardless of my average score. I truly believe that golf is cool. I can’t say that about hockey. To be honest, I can’t stand hockey, so therefore my perception of the sport of hockey led me to believe that hockey is not cool. This again is my personal view of hockey, but there are many individuals who think differently. They love to play hockey, so in their mind, hockey is cool. An object or concept in and of itself isn’t cool, the view and perceptions an individual has about that concept makes that object cool.

Here is the challenge. Christianity today is not viewed by the world as desirable, positive, or, for a lack of a better term, cool. Sadly, many teens and adults who are Christ followers don’t necessarily make the Christian faith attractive because they don’t believe in their hearts that the elements of Christianity are desirous.

Jesus Christ commands us in Matthew 5:13 to be “the salt of the earth…” Our responsibility as Christians is to live in such a way that the outside world desires to have what we have. How can the world desire what we have if we ourselves don’t believe that the elements of Christianity are desirous? The problem isn’t Christianity; it’s the faulty view that Christianity isn’t cool. Once we understand that we have the opportunity to change the concept of “cool” in relation to Christianity, we can influence people to a generation that is sold out for God.

I saw this concept played out first hand my sophomore year of college. There was guy on campus that had it “all together.” He was easily the most athletic guy on campus, good-looking, made good grades, and didn’t have a problem making friends; in fact, everyone wanted to be his friend. With me being the new “runt on campus” I tried to follow everything the “big man on campus” did. Since he was cool, everything he did was cool. As I was walking to dinner one evening, I saw Mr. Popular walking back to the dorms from work. As he passed, there was a piece of trash lying on the ground. No big deal, we see trash everywhere right? Just before Mr. Popular passed, he stopped, bent down, picked up the piece of trash, crumbled it up, and kept walking. BINGO! Whether he thought about it or not, this guy made the principle of stewardship cool in a stranger’s mind.

God calls us to be more than disciples–He calls us to be disciplers. If we as Christians want to make a spiritual impact, we must first desire the things of Christ in our own hearts. We can change the negative perceptions of the things of Christ, but we must first make those elements desirable and cool in our own hearts. Let’s go start a revolution!

Article by Brandon Joyner
Youth Director at Valley Forge Baptist