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Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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"Not In Vain"
"Your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Yesterday I made several hospital visits and spent some time at the bedside of a young lady in her teens who was in a serious car accident on Saturday. Her mother and grandmother were beside her gently stroking her hands assuring her of their presence and love. The mother updated me concerning her condition before I prayed over her and for the family.
Effectively ministering to one in a coma or unresponsive state can be very awkward. Generally, our conversation flows easily when we speak, it's heard by the listener, and then given a response. We're usually able to determine the effectiveness of our visit. But when the patient gives no indication that they are even aware of our presence it becomes a very distressing time for visitors and the loved ones standing by.
One of our long-term favorite ministries is Joni & Friends. Joni is a quadriplegic due to her diving accident in the Chesapeake Bay at 17 years of age. But she has overcome her disability with such an incredibly positive outlook on life and has impacted scores of people around the world with the Gospel message she enthusiastically shares. She will soon be sixty and endures a great deal of pain day and night due to her disability. Yet she maintains the spunk and vibrancy of a much younger woman.
My experience yesterday brought to mind a story Joni told of a couple who have a "coma ministry."
This dedicated couple travels to hospitals and rehabs where patients, due to head injuries or strokes, are in comas. They sing with the accompaniment of a guitar, make physical contact with the patients, and over the period of 30 minutes worship God through song, Scripture reading and prayer. Some of the coma victims show slight responses to their compassionate ministry, but in most cases their impact is merely a matter of faith and obedience to God.
I frankly marvel at this kind of ministry. I like to see immediate results in my service for Christ. I like to see souls saved, people encouraged, relationships restored, lives impacted.
Today many of you are involved in service for Christ. Some of you are really seeing results. That's great! But some of you seem to be "butting your head up against a stump" (as a history professor would often say and sometimes demonstrate in my college years). Nothing seems to be happening and you may be enduring serious opposition. You may be discouraged.
Today's Scripture portion is a timeless truth for servants of God. "Your labor in the Lord is not in vain." This dear couple with a ministry call to stroke patients is not wasting their time as they seek to obey the Lord. When the final accounting comes I believe we'll learn that they used their time far better than so many of us.
Above all let us stay faithful to our call and leave the results to God, knowing indeed that our "labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: "Father, thank You for the example of this dedicated couple who ministers to coma patients unable to communicate or make physical contact with those around them. What a tremendous blessing to know that You've given this couple the ministry of reaching seemingly unreachable individuals. When we look at the outward appearance we see only an unresponsive and often shriveled up shell. But we are reassured by Scripture that You look beyond the outward person and Your Spirit enters the inward heart. We pray for family members of coma patients reading our devotional today – that You would fill them with renewed hope. We are confident that Your spiritual touch surpasses any procedure or treatment that doctors or nurses can administer. Even in the midst of doing physical battle with our bodies our spirits can soar to places where the body cannot while abiding here on earth – in the very presence of Jesus. Would you minister Your healing to the broken-hearted as You bind up their spiritual and physical wounds. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen."
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"It's Gonna Be Worth It" Video
"No More Night" Video A powerful song about heaven with an intro by Joni.
"I Stand Amazed In The Presence" Video
Joni & Friends
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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