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IM Story Time

Stephen Phinney


By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

(Hebrews 11:4)

 

Testimonies of God's children speak through the ages. The superior excellency of Abel's sacrifice to Cain's, lay both in the matter, and in the manner of it; the one was offered heartily to the Lord, the other only in show; the one was offered in faith, the other not; Abel looked through his sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ, not so Cain. However, though Abel is dead, he still speaks.


Why would that be any different than for today? It isn't. Most believers go through life and hide their story under a bush - covertly denying the redemptive value of Christ's story birth from within. If you are an authentic believer, you have a story. Better yet, your story is likely to be one of deliverance and comfort. We want to capture that story and share it with the world. Help us accomplish this mission in 2023.

If you decide to share your story with us, please include your past identity, your newfound identity in Christ, and the story of deliverance in a time of suffering and/or disbelief. People need to read what you were delivered from as well as the victory He walked you into.


I asked Dr. James Fowler to start our new year with his story. As many of you might know, he has authored 20+ books on the believer's union with Christ. What you are about to read will boggle your mind.


GOD’S SUSTAINING GRACE IN 2022

By James A. Fowler


In the year of our Lord, 2022, I have been sustained by the grace of God in Jesus Christ day in and day out. With increasing health problems due to the disease of diabetes, I was given two days’ notice that my lower extremities would have to be amputated. The bilateral amputation of my feet and lower limbs (approximately 6-8 inches below the knee) was accomplished on March 25, 2022, at the Stone Oak Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, TX. Thereafter began the process of physical rehab and the eventual development of prosthetics (and additional rehab) to be able to walk and be ambulatory once again. In the weeks immediately following the surgery, I had some depressive “dark nights of the soul,” and even tempting thoughts of suicide from the death-dealing devil (cf. Heb. 2:14)


THE BEST THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED


Some people are almost aghast when they learn that I had both of my lower legs amputated in 2022 because of the debilitating effects of diabetes. They do not know how to respond. The very thought of losing both of one’s lower extremities is an inconceivable and unimaginable tragedy in the minds of some. But I maintain that it is the best thing that could have happened to me. The pain of diabetic neuropathy in my feet had increasingly plagued me for many years, making it excruciatingly painful to walk any distance. When they cut off my feet, they cut off my severe pain. I know it sounds ironic and incongruous, but it is true – the neuropathic pain in my feet was obviously gone when I had no feet.


In the award-winning movie Evita (1996), telling the story of Eva Peron, Madonna sang “Don’t cry for me Argentina.” It was a song written by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice in 1976. I often want to hijack the words of the song and say, “Don’t cry for me my caring friends, I haven’t left you. Don’t keep your distance. I love you all.” I have no desire to sop sympathy for what has occurred to me physically. Life is as good as it has ever been. God’s grace and love are more keenly experienced and appreciated. What has occurred in my bilateral amputations has drawn me closer to my Lord and made me more sensitive to the needs of others. I didn’t need those feet to continue to share my thoughts in writing.


I am still learning to walk with my prosthetic legs, using a rolling walker when out of the house but two single-footed canes when in the house. It gives me pause to think that I am enjoying the benefits of prosthetic technology that has been developed due to the injuries of military personnel losing limbs in wartime, but I do appreciate that my prosthetic feet have allowed me a degree of ambulation and mobility. I continue to do physical exercises at the wellness center using the upper and lower body machines to maintain strength and flexibility. Thank you for caring about me my dear friends.