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Our Current Virtual Church Message

FOLLOWING ORDERS

Dr. Samuel Martinez had been a leading business and economic thinker on the world stage. He was born in poverty in the barrios of New York. He was raised in a single parent home where his mother constantly drank and used drugs. He began working at the age of 11. He struggled in grade school and high school to make passing grades because he worked a full-time job to support his mother. After high school he joined the U. S. Marines. In the Marines he started taking college classes and made straight A's. When he left the Marines he entered college full time and worked part-time to pay needed expenses. It was during his college years his brilliance began to emerge. His intelligence was superior and by the time he reached his junior year of college he was on a full-ride academic scholarship. A master's degree and a doctorate were his next stops on the way to academic preeminence.

At the age of 35 he was recruited into a leading economic think tank. His brilliance to identify economic and business trends earned him a huge following in the business and investment community. His career spiraled upward until he reached the age of forty-nine. At the age of forty-nine he began to notice a trembling in his hands. A year later he was unable to type, a year after that he could not walk. Consequently he became an invalid, unable to take care of himself. His family and friends abandoned him, his old contacts in the business world forgot him when he could no longer supply them with insights into the future of business and economics.

At the age of fifty-two, still in his mental and academic prime, now he sits by a window at the Gale Road Healthcare Facility. Dr. Martinez's brilliant mind is still in tact but now unused. His level of frustration and depression seemed to grow by the hour. He is about to meet The Visitor.

The Visitor: Good morning Dr., how are you doing today?
Dr. Martinez: I would be doing better if I were not in here.
The Visitor: Yes, I know you are struggling. I know your life is extremely difficult, having to be here. May I sit down?
Dr. Martinez: Sure, have a seat. Who are you? What do you want? Are you on the staff here? Are you a counselor?
The Visitor: No, I am just a visitor. I came to help you.
Dr. Martinez: You can help me by getting me out of here. You can help me by fixing the malady in me that has destroyed my life.
The Visitor: I am sorry but I cannot help you in that way either.
Dr. Martinez: If you cannot get me out of here or you cannot repair my body with all its afflictions, how in the world are you going to help me?
The Visitor: I came here to give you a new focus, a new meaning, and a new purpose for your life.
Dr. Martinez: Focus, meaning, and purpose. Now that is a laugh. I cannot even go to the bathroom without help. I cannot stand up. I cannot walk. I cannot type. I have been abandoned by everyone I knew because I could no longer give them what they wanted or needed. I don't need focus. I don't need meaning. I don't need purpose. I need to stand up and walk and be normal again. Things are so bad for me, I cannot even read. I cannot read a professional journal. I cannot read a newspaper. Please take your focus, meaning, and purpose and help someone else.
The Visitor: Well, you are my assignment. And although you do not want what I have to offer, I need to explain things to you so you can begin a new life.
Dr. Martinez: A new life? A new life? Listen, to tell you the truth, I want to die. What kind of life could anyone offer me here? I have never told anyone this but I want to die. I want out of this life, if you don't mind. I am not a whiner or complainer, but it is hell on earth in here. Do you know what I do for a hobby, if you want to call it that? I count the number of runs the hearse makes down the main road here to the other nursing homes on this road. There are five nursing homes on this road, I call it Death Lane, and we are the first. The hearse has to go by this home to get to the others. So I sit here and count the number of times the grim reaper makes a visit to the other homes. Who are you, what do you really want?
The Visitor: I came here to give you a message about yourself and your life. I came to give you a message about how important you can be to the other people here in the nursing home. In a minute, an assistant will come into the room to check on you but the assistant will not see me because only you can see me.

At this point an attendant does indeed enter the room.

Attendant: Hello, Dr., I came to check on you.
Dr. Martinez: Roberta, do you see anyone else in this room?
Attendant: No, the only person I see is you. How are you doing?
Dr. Martinez: I am going out of my mind. I am seeing things.
Attendant: No, you are too smart to be deceived. Do you need anything?
Dr. Martinez: No, I am fine. Thank you.
Attendant: OK, I'll check back later. Thank you for praying for my son. He is doing better.
Dr. Martinez: Sure, no problem.

The attendant turns and leaves the room.

The Visitor: She didn't see me. Only you can see me.
Dr. Martinez: I used to be a man of faith. I read my Bible. Went to church. Prayed for people. Taught Sunday school. Tried to be a Christian. I have not done any of those things recently. I could not even turn the pages of a Bible. You know, I think I know you who are. You are the angel of death, although I would think the angel of death would be a little more frightening. If you are going to take me, why don't you just take me and get it over with? I want to die anyway. Death would be better than living in this place. Why don't you just take me and stop fooling around?
The Visitor: I did not come to take you anywhere. I came to get you to be more of who God wants you to be. You pray for people in here, don't you?
Dr. Martinez: Yes, I pray for people. When I am not counting the death runs by the hearse, I spend a lot of time praying. But I am tired, I hate being here.
The Visitor: Your praying is working. God hears every prayer. God knows what you are going through. God works and He answers every prayer you pray. No matter what you think, you are incredibly important to God. Every person is incredibly important to God but those who pray…those who pray bring God's light and love into the world full of so much darkness. God sees you and knows your pain and suffering. God knows your anguish. I am not going to take you because you are too important as God's prayer warrior here in this place where you do not want to be. Every time you pray, you open the door of God's heart. From God's heart flows His power to heal and to change lives. Your prayers get answered. Not always in the way you want your prayers answered but your prayers are answered. I will tell you a secret, you were born to be a prayer warrior. It is not God's will anyone should suffer, including you. In this place, in this time, praying for people like you are praying for them now, is a work put upon you by God. You don't have to like the prayer assignment, you don't have to want to do it, you don't have to get anything out of the prayer assignment by God yourself, but God wants you to pray until God calls you home. You will live a lot longer. You will spend years longer as an invalid. Your suffering will increase. God will not call you home for many, many years because you are so incredibly valuable to God as one of His chosen ones. You will find meaning and purpose in your life by being a prayer warrior. From now on, God will help you by giving you little reports about the results of your prayers. Like Roberta gave you a little report about her son, you will get more little reports. The focus of your life is to pray. You are to pray until you die. Every hour, if you say the following words, "Precious Father, Precious Lord Jesus, Precious Holy Spirit, please give me the strength to pray one more prayer" then God will give you strength. Miracles will happen in people's lives if you pray. You will not see all the results of what you do while you are alive on earth. However, you will see tiny glimpses. God has carved in stone the purpose of your life as a result of your afflictions. You must not give up. You must not relent. You must not even want to turn back. There is a great and mighty spiritual war going on. You are in the battle. You are on the front lines. You even count some of the casualties every day. Look around you at the lives of the staff and residents here. When you pray, you give God a chance to be victorious. God wants your best. God wants you to keep on keeping on. You are to ask people for more prayer requests. Make sure you let every person in here know you want their requests. Some of the residents cannot speak or understand but you are to still pray for them. What I am giving you today is an order, not a request, not a suggestion, not a call, but an order or command from God the Father. If you accept and follow God's order, you will have peace. If you follow God's order and give thanks in overflowing gratitude because God has given you this order, you will have happiness. If you count as joy the suffering put upon you because your suffering has given you the opportunity to follow God's order, you will have happiness.
Dr. Martinez: I was in the Marines. I followed orders. I know what it means to follow the orders, even the orders I don't like. If the commander gives me the orders, I will follow. No problem. I will follow. You are an angel aren't you?
The Visitor: I must leave you now. However, if you look inside your heart, you know I and others like me are always around you and wherever you are, you are on holy ground.
Dr. Martinez: Thank you. Thank you very much.

In an instant, in an eye blink, the visitor disappeared. In an instant, in an eye blink, Dr. Martinez started praying.

Dr. Martinez: Precious Father, Precious Lord Jesus, Precious Holy Spirit, please give me the strength to pray one more prayer

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (NIV)

This story first appeared in October, 2006, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018