“Quote”-able: Wintley Phipps

It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given.

During my “personal, private sufferings” I may not have wanted to read this.  All the courage that I imagine I have when not suffering abandons me in the face of real suffering.  All that I thought stood by me I realize can’t help me.  Sometimes even Jesus seems as though he has left me.

I am alone.  And I am afraid.

As I obey my best guess as to God’s will my soul aches and I search for God in my circumstance.

It is here that I decide that no one should have to go through what I am going through alone.  If I only had someone to talk to I could bear it.  I decide if I encounter anyone struggling as I am, I will help them.

And a dream is born.

My dream, forged in the late seventies and early eighties, when I had not yet decided to take meds regularly and  I had yet to welcome Christ into my heart, is being lived out now 35 years later (with Jesus and with meds).  As a Certified Peer Support Specialist I have the privilege to serve people dealing with mental illness every day.  I am doing, as Whitley Phipps says, HPLP: Helping People Live their Potential.  Or, as Jesus says, Loving others.

Am I a hero?  Not even close.  But I am privileged to serve the real Heroes;  people who fight horrific battles in their mind and in their life every day and keep on fighting.  Battling thoughts that no one should have to experience, making even the simplest daily tasks excruciatingly difficult.

Mental illness takes the most hospital beds in our country and receives the lowest per patient funding in our country of any disease.  It is projected that half of our population will experience mental illness in their lifetime.  If that is not you then it is most likely someone you love.  And it is much cheaper to pay for treatment for all who need it than to pay the costs that untreated mental illness cause: personal, family and friend suffering; lost productivity; prison cells and hospital beds.

What can we do?  Get treatment for yourself or your loved one, treat the mentally ill with the respect being a Hero deserves, and vote for funding of Mental Health in your area.

What do you want?

What a man wants is unfailing love, better to be poor than a liar.  (Proverbs 19:22 NIV84)

God created us to want unconditional love, to want Him.  It is better to be poor in spirit (know you need God) than to lie (and say in your heart you don’t need God).  Satan appeals to our desire to meet our own needs, be our own “god”, to be our own source.  Satan hates God, hates that He is love, and hates those who accept Him and His love… and return His love.  He hates God because God’s goodness exposes satan’s evil selfish corruption.  People worship (value) God because God demonstrates His humility and self-sacrificing care for them every day.  God puts our needs ahead of His own.  He is not only the Great King He is the Lowest (Head) Servant.

But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45, NKJV).

 Satan tells people to blame God for all the evil in the world.  Satan tells people that God is uninterested in them, in their struggles, hurts, cares or dreams.  Satan tells people that God is a nitpicking tyrant just waiting to pounce on them for doing the littlest thing wrong.

These are actually the qualities of satan and the opposite of the qualities of God.

God demonstrated who He really is when He walked on earth with us, in the person of Jesus Christ.  Read the truth about God in the Bible.  Read the Gospels, literally the “Good News”: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John at the beginning of the New Testament of the Bible.  Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and proclaimed the coming of His kingdom where His kind of loving service would rule; instead of this world’s current selfishness.

Do you want a God who is a loving leader; who values you and even your smallest dreams; who has served your greatest need already by paying the cost of your sin so you could spend forever with Him, so He could love you, and you could freely love Him back?  If so, ask Jesus to come into your heart, to be your Servant and your Leader.  Spend time talking to Him and listening to Him through prayer and reading the Bible.  Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit.  Find a church that believes and preaches the Bible.  And tell others what a great thing God has done for you.

There is room for you at the "top".

Someone has said that Jesus’ kingdom is an upside-down kingdom.  Our Lord and Master, our God, is also the servant of all.  Our greatness is not measured in how many people are working for us, but in the works of love we do for others.

This attitude does not come naturally.  It comes super-naturally.  Jesus said we must be “converted”.  Jesus said that He reveals His truth to “babes”.  Jesus said that if we hear His message and receive it [do it] we receive Him and God the Father who sent Him.

(My son has given me permission to share the following).  I am continually impressed with my 18 year old son and how he grasps who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are and their ways.  When faced with a problem, many times he is the first to say, “Dad, let’s pray.  Let’s ask Jesus for help”.  My son is brilliant socially and is one of the leaders in his classroom.  He also reads and writes at a second grade level.

Though some in this world would overlook him, I admire him.  He’s like the child that Jesus held in His arms and gave as an example for His disciples to be like.

I’ve explained to my son that he is smart, frequently pointing out to him when he demonstrates that quality.  But I have also told him that he is wise, also pointing out that quality when he demonstrates it.  And, I’ve explained the difference.  My son loves God the Father and Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit.  My son reverences God and values God.  My son is teachable about God and His ways.  And so my son is wiser than some with multiple times his IQ.

Some value intellect.  Some value athleticism.  Some value popularity.  God values love.  Love for Him and love for others.  And true love for God always expresses itself as obedience to God.  Not that we are perfect.  But when we do sin we repent (turn around), ask God and anyone involved for forgiveness, learn from our mistake, and press on.

So my goal is to humble myself and be like my son, like the little child Jesus gave as an example to be like.  And the nice thing about Jesus’ upside-down kingdom is that there is always room at the top, or rather bottom.  All of us can serve others and be like Jesus.

16 He who hears you  [Jesus’ disciples] hears Me [Jesus], he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16, NKJV)

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.” (Luke 10:21, NKJV)

  1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,  3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” (Matthew 18:1-5, NKJV)

“Perception is Reality.” – Lee Atwater – “Is Mr. Atwater’s statement a Perception or Reality?” – Jim McNaughton

According to perception, Jesus was a failure.  He was tortured, mocked, beaten, and spat upon.  His followers ran.  One of His friends had turned Him over to His enemies.  His only defense was to validate the charge against Him.  One of those closest to Him, denied that he ever knew Him, in order not to experience His fate.  The thousands that had heard Him preach and experienced His miracles didn’t show up.

He was buried and His own disciples didn’t expect Him to rise from the dead as He had claimed He would.  Guards posted at His tomb said His disciples stole His body.  No reputable government official ever saw Him after that.  It was over.  It was finished.  It was done.

Yet the reality is that Jesus won the ultimate victory for all time!  He conquered death when He was raised from the dead.  His followers stopped running and, once filled with His Spirit, risked their lives boldly proclaiming that He was alive, that only He was King, and forgiveness of sins is found only in Him.

His message of God’s unconditional love for everyone has never stopped growing.  Though many have tried to stop Jesus and His love, they have all met with or will meet with, ultimate failure.

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”.

And so, in the end, Jesus words, the words of the Bible, are the only Reality.