Sunday, May 24, 2015

You Don't Have To Be Seen To Be Heard & Updates on Jakob Cooper

"Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58
(KJV)


Do you feel spiritually handicapped by your current situation and unable to do
 what you would like to do for God?  
Do you feel that your work is insignificant, unnoticed, under appreciated, and unimportant?

Did you know that at least five of Paul’s epistles were written while he was imprisoned?  
Four of these were during his Roman imprisonment in which

he was permitted to live in his own hired house.  (Acts 28:30) 

I wonder if he questioned God's logic, when he was arrested 
and roughly shoved into such horrible conditions.
I wonder if he felt God had made a mistake by pulling him aside from such a visible, 
thriving, successful ministry.

He was under the scrutiny of the Roman guards when he penned
the Ephesian, Philippian, Colossian, and Philemon letters, as well as his second letter to Timothy. 
I wonder if he was watching one of those Roman guards pacing outside his window and possibly studying his armor when he wrote the wonderful “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6?  
Was he enduring some type of cruel treatment when the words
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” found in Philippians 1:21
were flowing through his pen?  
Did he feel the pangs of loneliness and abandonment when he said
 “For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit…” in Colossians 2:5?    
Could he have been experiencing some type of old-age symptoms when he called himself “Paul the aged” in the ninth verse of his letter to Philemon?  

Chronologically, the last Bible letter the Apostle Paul wrote was to his special, spiritual “son”, Timothy.  
He must have sensed that he was nearing the end of his life when he penned those famous words,
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:  
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” in II Timothy 4:7,8. 

You know, until recently, when I thought of the Apostle Paul,
I thought of his highly-visible, verbally-preached messages.  
Thoughts of the bold, dynamic sermons he preached in Damascus immediately after his conversion (Acts 9:20, 27), memories of reading how he mightily preached in Salamis (Acts 13:5), his deliverance of a powerful sermon at the invitation of the rulers of the Antioch synagogue (Acts 13:14-41), and how he continued to strongly proclaim the Gospel in the midst of impending persecution (Acts 14:1-4), came to mind when I thought of him. 

But, what about the work God used him to do while he was alone, secluded,
and obscure to the world around him?  
What about the letters he was writing that would go on to become
major components of what we now call the New Testament?  
Wasn’t his quiet work for God equally as important as the awe-inspiring work
God wrought through him while preaching to the multitudes?  
He may have felt frustrated, feeling the need to get out and speak loudly
from places like Mars Hill (Acts 17:22), and yet being held under bondage to the prison of Rome.  Maybe he thought the letters he was writing would reach their destination only to be discarded and disregarded by future generations. 
Somehow, I doubt that he had the slightest clue that those letters...those precious words...
would be a part of the Holy Bible upon which we, as Christians, would one day base our lives.
He must have felt so discouraged and limited and like his ministry was over, 
as he faced those long, isolated hours in those dank, dark prison cells.
If only He had known!

Where are you, my friend?  
Are you laid aside through some physical disability?  
Do you long to be out “on the battlefield” for God,
only to find yourself disillusioned by your stymied dreams of working in the open harvest field?  
Wherever you are, remember this.
Effective, successful ministry is not ALL contained in the highly-visible.  
There is much to be done in the shadows, 
and only eternity may reveal the impacts made by those who are on the sidelines feeling unnecessary. 

You may say,
“There is nothing I can do.  
I am in a place of obscurity.
I seldom, maybe even never, leave the house.  
No one notices me.  
And, I certainly can’t write like Paul.  
My time and life is a waste.”  
May I remind you of another thing Paul was doing, while held captive?  
Colossians 1:9 says this, “For this cause we also….do not cease to pray for you…”  
If you can’t be out on the battlefield preaching, and you don’t have the gift to write,
you can pray for those who are doing those things.  
Your life is NOT a waste.  
You are not where you are by accident.  
God has a plan for your life, just as He did for the Apostle Paul.

Perhaps you are a stay-at-home wife and mother...feeling forgotten and alone,
swallowed in an endless sea of laundry, soiled diapers, fingerprints, and cobwebs.
Oh, dear friend!
Your calling is to the noblest place in all of God's Kingdom!
The continual pouring of yourself into little hearts and lives is a sacrifice well-pleasing to the
heart of your Creator!

Maybe you are a caregiver...tending to someone else's little ones, elderly parents,
an ailing spouse, or loved one.
In the frustration of constraint and feelings of being trapped and imprisoned,
 do you ever turn tear-filled eyes towards Heaven and ask God why your life has taken such a turn?

I can only imagine the times The Apostle Paul might have done the same.
But, there was a reason God pulled him off the front lines to a place of solitude.
God knew that you and I would one day need to read the words He wanted Paul to write.
Had he stayed busy, going full-speed, wide-open in public ministry,
he may never have had the opportunity to write those letters.

 Obviously, you and I did not live during Paul’s time on earth.  
And, unfortunately, there were no tape/CD recorders, MP3 downloads,
or DVDs of his preaching to purchase for later use.  
So, we will never be privileged to hear or see those wonderful,
powerfully anointed verbal sermons he delivered to the people.  
But, we have something precious…wrenched from his heart during times of distress,
abandonment, imprisonment, on the sidelines of activity.  
We have the comfort of picking up our Bibles and reading the inspired Word of God
brought forth by his pen.  
It couldn’t have been easy for him.  
How did he acquire ink?  
Where did the parchment come from?  
Did someone have to smuggle supplies to him when they came for a visit? 
Did he peril his life to write while the Roman soldier’s back was turned?
We will never know all he went through in order to be faithful to God,
but we reap the benefits of his faithfulness every time we turn to one of his New Testament epistles.

Ministry in the shadows is equally as important as open, visible ministry.  

A few years ago, someone carelessly said something that hurt and discouraged me deeply.  
It made me feel hopeless about my future and the direction in which
God was leading my family and me.  
I talked about it with my dear mother, and she encouraged me by saying,
“Cheryl, you don’t have to be seen to be heard.
How true her words!  

God has a plan, my friend, and the best thing you and I can do
is to consecrate to it and do His work…wherever we are with whatever we have been given.
What you do matters.
Your work is all-important to God.
Like Paul, you may never know how far your influence will reach,
whose life your faithfulness will bless,
or how much you are positively changing this world.
But, whether you realize it or not,
your faithfulness to sing your life's intended song,
wafts Heavenward the sweetest, most enduring melody,
 the notes of which will echo throughout all eternity.

I leave you with more encouraging words dear Mom used to often quote
when I was feeling discouraged or when I felt my labor was all in vain.
They are found in 2 Chronicles 15:7,
"But, as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."
***********************************
Update on Jakob Cooper from Jakob's mother, Lonetta...

Jakob has rested today. Drain tube removed, staples & sutures removed. 
Squeezed nurse's hand when asked & opened his eyes when asked. 
Continue to prayer him & us. 
Thank you for your support & prayers.
 God Bless..
  Keep prayers going up.


Update from Ciara Borger...
(Ciara maintains the Prayers for Coop facebook page)

Update. Jakob woke up for a little while today, and he was calm.
He followed commands, he shook his head yes while answering questions he was asked.
He moved both of his arms and legs.
 They have him sedated again, so he can rest.
God is still moving mountains for Jakob, so lets keep those prayers going up!


Update from Friday, 5/22 from Ciara...

Jakob is stable.
 He has had some movement, and he has responded to some commands.
They told him to squeeze his moms hand, and he did, and they repeated this with the doctor and the nurse, and he squeezed both of their hands as well.
God is still working, so keep up the prayers, and I hope to see you all tomorrow at 7:30 PM in the highschool auditorium for a prayer service that is being held for Jakob.

To read original post about Jakob's accident, click HERE.


26 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for encouraging words, it is so true that you may never know how far your influence will reach. I needed to hear this, so glad I stopped by! Praying for Jakob and his fast recovery! Have a blessing day Cheryl!

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    1. Thank you so much, Love! I so appreciate your sweet visit and comments. So grateful you found encouagement here. God bless you!

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  2. Hi Cheryl, I love that statement: "There is so much to be done in the shadows" and "being faithful in the shadows". I do sometimes feel unseen and unappreciated. But that is by people. God ALWAYS sees. He sees what we do, and don't do, and He always knows how we feel. He never leaves us unrewarded! But all in His time. Great post
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Thank you, Tracy! I love the thought you shared that God always sees. It is just people who sometimes overlook what we do. So thankful He is the only One we need to please! God bless you for stopping by and for leaving such sweet encouragement behind. :)

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  3. Cheryl, I don't know how to tell you what this meant to me. I think you'll know. I just love when someone gives me a new perspective, and you have done that with this beautiful writing about Paul. You have made me stop and think and reflect. Yes, indeed, He wrote so many wonderful things while living in the most terrible circumstances. Did he know the future for his words? I highly doubt that, just as you said. But God knew. And really, in the end, isn't that enough for us, too? We may never know what influence we have, and it can get discouraging when you feel like you're doing *nothing*. And yet, we may never see on this side of eternity the *ripples* we cause in the Kingdom. All we need to do is keep focused on the Lord, and stay obedient to what He tells us to do - whether it be big or small. It's all for His glory.

    Thank you for this much-needed word of encouragement. It infuses me with new strength and purpose.

    GOD BLESS!

    (Good news about Jakob - may the Lord continue to heal this dear young man.)

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    1. I do know what you mean, sweet friend. Yes, it surely should be enough for us, too...just to know that God knows, and He is pleased with us. Oh, to hear those words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant"! I love your thought about the ripples and how we may never see all of them. So thankful for your dear visit and encouragement. God bless you abundantly. :)

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  4. Cheryl, this is so encouraging . . . I loved these words:"Ministry in the shadows is equally as important as open, visible ministry." Sharing on Facebook and Google+ and praying that your words will be a blessing to someone.

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    1. Oh, thank you SO much, Rebekah!! I am so grateful to you for your encouragement, love, and support. Your post was such a blessing to me today, too. "Iron sharpens iron." So thankful for my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. We need each other! God bless you and your family. :)

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  5. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

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    1. I am so grateful for your visit here and so thankful you leave encouraged. Many blessings to you, Marsha! :)

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  6. I'm inspired by those like Apostle Paul who overcame immense hardships to accomplish goals. What a testimony to the faithfulness of our God who gives us the victory. We as people think sometimes that our part is so small as you mention, but that's what I love about the Body of Christ. When we all unite with all our small parts, we accomplish great things.

    You inspire me, too, sister! Wishing you a wonderful day.
    Love,
    Mary

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    1. I love what you said...when we all unite with all our small parts, we accomplish great things! How true that is! Little is much if God is in it, praise His name. Thank you for your sweet, encouraging words, dear friend. Praying for Amy and trusting God for her miracle! Many blessings to you. :)

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  7. "All I can do is pray," said my aged grandmother. She was now a widow, could not drive a car, so her jail ministry had to be passed on to someone else. Was she helpless? Not at all, because prayer goes when we cannot go. In todays world, as bloggers we can go even to foreign lands with our stories. Words given to us by the Master are carried far and wide touching hearts that possibly will never make a comment or let us know how God touched their hearts. Your mother was right, You do not need to be seen to be heard. Thanks for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story. Also thank you for signing up at my blog: "A Joyful Noise" to follow by e-mail.

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    1. Aww...bless your grandmother's heart, Hazel. What she did was the most important thing of all to do. Mom used to tell me that prayer is a long-range weapon that will reach as far as it needs to. Where would we be without the dear influence of our praying mothers and praying grandmothers? I love what you said about prayer going when we cannot. So thankful for you and your encouragement and support. I don't know why I didn't sign up before I did! I enjoy your writings so much! Sending you much love and many blessings, Hazel!

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  8. Whoa. Excellent reminder of how God uses our tough times for His glory and our honor. I so appreciate the words of your mom… they have some real wisdom about them, don't they? What a blessing. Blessings to you for your heart and obedience. I hear you, sister.

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    1. Yes, dear Mom! You know, I never seemed to realize, while she was alive, how much profound wisdom she really possessed. Even though I tried never to do it, I know I took her for granted. Now, I miss her so much! I think back to many things she would tell me...that precious encouragement! Thank you ever so much for stopping by, Floyd, and for being the consistent encourager you are to me and so many others. God bless you abundantly, brother!

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  9. I'm so glad that what I say doesn't need to be heard but it is a reminder that we are "the light of the world." Thanks so much for sharing. Visiting from the Woman to Woman Link Up.

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    1. Yes, God help us to be the salt and light that He needs us to be in this sin-darkened age! So thankful for your visit, Rebecca. God bless you. Praying for Amanda!

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  10. Great post...so glad Jakob is doing better! Thanks for sharing at Wise Woman Linkup

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Mary! It was so nice to "meet" you. ;)

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  11. This post was so very encouraging and edifying. It ministered to my thoughts and feelings of late where I have been feeling discouraged in my ministries. Your post spurred me on to pray! Pray for the ministries the Lord has placed in my care and to pray for all those who labor for the Lord.

    What a wonderful legacy your mother has left you in her comforting words of wisdom. I was especially touched by the saying, "Be faithful in the shadows." How very true.

    All work is dedicated to the Lord to bring Him glory whether out in the open or in the shadows.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh, Karen! I am so thankful you were encouraged here. That just blesses me so much! Yes, my dear friend, I miss Mom so much...she was just a very special, Godly influence and force in my life, and I can't begin to describe the size of the void her death has left in all of our lives. So grateful for your visit. God bless you. ;)

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  12. What a great post and reminder of Paul's work. Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

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    1. And thank YOU for your sweet visit and words!! God bless you, Bibi!

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  13. Thank you so much dear friend for sharing the updates on Jakob, we are praying for full restoration and I know that God can do that. Thank you also for sharing on how we can work for God at home or behind the scenes. Prayer is so important and something we can all do, anywhere we are. We don't all have the calling to go abroad but God calls us to share the Gospel whenever and wherever we can. As mothers we have a great calling just to raise our children up in the way they should go, this is an amazing calling and definitely a behind the scenes one and also involves a lot of prayer, both for us and for our children. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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    1. Yes, dear friend, our calling as mothers is so great and noble and even though it may seem so thankless as times, it is such a great part of God's plan. We are making investments in the lives of our children that will resonate throughout eternity. So thankful for you, your sweet encouragement and friendship, and the weekly link-up. God bless you abundantly! :)

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