“Suddenly an angel of the Lord
appeared and a light shone…” — Acts 12:7
My family in the living room of my father’s house. From left to right behind Daddy, in birth order: Gigi, me, Ruth (Bunny), Franklin, and Ned. The inscription seen in the background on the fireplace mantle that at one time was a diving board, is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God in German.
Two thousand years ago, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and revealed to him that the young woman he was betrothed to, Mary, was pregnant. As shocking as that news was to Joseph, it was even more astonishing to be told that Mary was still a virgin because the baby did not have a human father. He had been conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel further instructed Joseph to give Him the name Jesus, because He would save His …
One of the most exciting projects undertaken
through our ministry has been to hold Just Give Me
Jesus in women’s prisons. Using the full DVD version from Augusta, GA, that includes the music of Babbie Mason and Fernando Ortega, as well as Sheila Bailey’s prayer session, Angela Stanley and Linda Horton have facilitated what we believe to be genuine revival behind iron bars! At the Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood, SC, when the invitation was given following the message on the Cross, 79% of the women present went forward to repent of their sin and get right with God!
How grateful this AnGeL is, not only to have the privilege of announcing that the Savior has come, but to have the blessing of personally benefiting from it. The blessing was magnified in a unique way while writing Wounded by God’s People. As I wrote about Hagar and the way some of her wounds were inflicted by those she had wounded, I saw sin in my heart and life that I hadn’t known was there. I have not only been wounded, but I have been a wounder. It’s just that I can clearly see the way others wound me, while I’m almost blind to the way I wound others.
This blindness to my own sin was illustrated humorously on the day that my two brothers, two sisters, and I had lunch with our father. It was the first time we had all been together at the same time with him since Mother’s funeral six years ago. All of us treasured the rare moments of fellowship and conversation, not knowing when we would have the opportunity again.
As part of the media promotion forWounded by God’s People, I was given several strategic opportunities in Toronto, Canada, that included secular and Christian television. 100 Huntley Street invited me to video tape two messages and two interviews onWounded, and one interview onHeaven…all before a live studio audience. Although it was “staged” for broadcast, the Holy Spirit moved in our midst, evidenced by the tears and tenderness on the faces of the people present.
Towards the end of our lunch, I asked Daddy if he had anything he would want to say to us. He replied that he would say something when all of us were present. To which I said, Daddy, we are all here. To which he replied, Where? I said, Daddy, right here. Then I pointed out each sibling around the table…Ned and Bunny were on one side, Gigi was at the other end in Mother’s chair, and Franklin was beside me. We all laughed, then Daddy said that years ago he had been sitting outside with Mother and Gigi, when he was bitten by tiny little bugs. He recalled Gigi had described them as No-See-Ums. Then he laughed as he said that’s what we were around the table…No-See-Ums. We laughed with him because Daddy has macular degeneration, a disease that blurs vision by causing a blind spot. In spite of the latest medical treatments, including frequent injections directly into his eye, he has lost the ability to focus.
I also have a form of macular degeneration. It’s a disease that has not affected my physical sight, but it has affected my spiritual vision. I have blind spots so that I have a hard time seeing my own faults. My own sins seem to be in the “no-see-um” category.
In response to my blog request for you to let me
know how you are using our resources, one of you sent in this picture. Heaven: God’s Promise for Me, was used to present the Gospel to children in Tanzania. We continue to hear of children who pray to claim Heaven as their home by putting their faith in Jesus in response to reading this book!
I’ve found that when I’m hurt, it’s easier to focus on the faults of others. It seems to be almost an instinctive reaction to wounding, and a very convenient defense mechanism: It’s not me. It’s them! And even if it were me, what I did to them wasn’t as hurtful as what they did to me. So it’s still them! But could the wounding I’ve received be in response to wounds I’ve inflicted?
And so I have asked God to shine His Light into the deep recesses of my heart where I rarely go. The corners and crevices where cobwebs of sin cling, and hinder the free flow of His Spirit. I have asked Him to reveal to me what He sees.
Could you also be suffering from spiritual macular degeneration? While focused on “them” are you blind to your own pride, arrogance, anger, resentment, name-calling, vengeful digs, schemes for revenge, or vicious gossip disguised as prayer requests? Are these attitudes working for you and making you happy? What are you really living for? Instead of living your life to the glory of God, are you driven by a desire to get even, vindicate your actions, prove someone else wrong, justify your opinion, expose the other person? Is it time for you to consider your own part in the wounding?
In a beautifully remodeled theater in Blowing Rock, NC, I had the privilege of leading 400 members of the Samaritan’s Purse staff in a spiritual retreat. It was a personal joy for me to serve some of God’s choicest servants by sharing with them how to read God’s Word in order to hear His voice. I then gave a message that described Isaiah’s response to disaster, with a call to return to the Cross, repent of our sin, and recommit ourselves to service.
Some of those questions hurt, don’t they? I know because I have asked them of myself. It can be comfortable to keep my eyes shut when the Light of truth reveals my blind
spot, while it takes courage to open my eyes and allow the Light to penetrate the darkness and shatter the deceptive self-image I have of myself.
But that same Light also reveals to me the Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes…growing into the Lamb who died for me…shedding His blood to wash away all of my sin. The “big” ones and the “little” ones. The obvious ones. And the not so obvious ones.
This Christmas, for His birthday, I am giving the King my No-See-Ums.
For His glory,
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Wake Up to The Message
In our zeal to reach people with the Gospel, using drama, mimes, videos, self-help seminars, sports, music bands, along with a host of other creative things that even include wine tastings and beer bottling, could we be in danger of missing the message? Based on Ezekiel 1, Anne challenges preachers, teachers, and church leaders to stay focused on Jesus, keeping Him central to all that we say and do.
Have you been wounded by someone in the faith?
While the pain may be unbearable, it’s not
insurmountable. Journey with Anne to the source
of all healing and discover how God’s love heals
our hearts in Wounded by God’s People.