The Lord Is My Shepherd
Cyber Daily Devotion™ by Pastor Bill
Scripture: Psalm 23:1 (A Psalm of David)
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need” NLT
Before my car accident in 1994 it seemed that countless clichés about God and church never took root. As I remember back the one about equipping intrigued me the most — it goes like this:
GOD DOESN’T CALL THE EQUIPPED — GOD EQUIPS THE CALLED
The light was red on top of a freeway bridge in the western suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. My mind was racing ahead to meeting my Uncle Len and Aunt Mary for dinner. We had not seen each other for more than 10 years. As the red light was glaring at me – smack. No skid, no screech — a car hit me from behind. A sharp pain pierced my neck and left me dazed. My left arm and leg were paralyzed. My speech was slurred as someone came to the drivers’ side window and told me to just stay still – help was on the way.
When your arm won’t move and your leg won’t move and you are locked in your body it is a strange experience. Your mind moves your hand and it doesn’t move. Your mind moves your leg and it stays right where it is. The sensation is difficult to capture if you have not experienced it.
What seemed like a week later (10-15 minutes) paramedics arrived, lifted me out of the car, placed me on a board and hoisted me into an ambulance. We were off to the hospital.
Just a routine rear-end car accident. Probably happens hundreds of times a day in America. But for me it changed my life forever!
Once at the hospital it was determined that spinal damage had occurred in the collision and they administered a sedative to me. Now for the rest of the story!
The sedative wore off as a huge incapacitating headache gripped me. It had been hours since the sedative was administered and the result was a stopped heart. A code blue was called and they worked long and hard to resuscitate me. My time without oxygen to the brain did considerable damage to the short term part of my brain. Functions like adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing were scrambled and a new experience in my life was detected — dyslexia.
A spinal fusion was next on the agenda and nine weeks of recovery. The scar healed, the vertebra grew together but the short term memory loss, dyslexia and math all but failed me. Soon after it was clear the fusion kept me out of a wheel chair but failed to solve my problems. The surgery left me with pressure on the spine that created chronic pain.
My day job at the time was National Sales Manager in the Office Products Industry which required quick thinking, math and communications skills. My challenge was to hide my newly found deficiencies from everyone until they could be reclaimed. It was quite a struggle but it finally became apparent that without quick thinking, math and communication skills my performance suffered. Add powerful medicine necessary to control the pain and my position was terminated.
Just 37 days before my accident we had closed on the house of our dreams. It was a broken down historic mansion built in 1888 in St. Paul, Minnesota which Carol and I were going to restore.
When the income stops you lose everything like a home, cars and all your toys.
My original doctors were unable to diagnose my problems properly and months of misplaced treatment followed. Then God provided a wonderful Christian — Doctor John — who took charge and medically set me on the right course.
Years of drugs for depression followed with more drugs to mask the pain.
The Therapy Pool at Regions Hospital offered pain relief without drugs and a way for me to exercise. Three therapists — Marge, Athena and Mary worked with me day in and day out to rebuild my muscles and stamina.
These were long and difficult years for Carol and me. In the early 90’s we had become part of a home church to build marriages. It was this group of Art, Mary, Ray and Barb along with our close friends Bob and Chris that became our strength over the years to follow.
My depression had paralyzed my thoughts and actions. A Christian friend told me when in confusion read the 23rd Psalm every day and God will bring clarity. The idea was written in my bible. But to this day I cannot remember who introduced this to me.
Every morning and every night was spent reading the 23rd Psalm. Only there was no recollection of reading it. Once again it was read. No memory of what was read came forward. Day after day, week after week, month after month was spent reading the 23rd Psalm. It seemed the more reading accomplished the less retained.
Several months of reading, lead to the bright idea to put a calendar in my bible and mark down when the 23rd Psalm was read. Looking back — this began to organize my life. Soon after, while reading the first verse in the Psalm God spoke to me through the scripture:
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
Bingo – revelation – it sunk in – HE would bring me into a special relationship with HIM if my life was dedicated to trust in HIM as a sheep trusts the shepherd. That’s when my son Greg showed up at my door and handed me a computer. He was very clear, “You could operate one before your accident now start again.”
I placed it in the corner and ignored it.
Each morning and night the 23rd Psalm comforted me as I checked off my calendar. Weeks and months went by and then HE spoke again through the scripture:
I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED
HE was telling me HE would supply everything needed because of this special relationship. Several days later a wonderful Christian friend named Art asked me to lunch. He was genuinely concerned about me and my future. I told him about the computer Greg had left for me. He considered it a confirmation for me to start a bible study on the internet.
I filed that next to the computer in the corner.
The next morning reading the 23rd Psalm created new vigor in anticipation of another revelation. When you’re hot you’re hot — every morning and every night my Bible was open to the 23rd Psalm. Marking it down on the calendar another month or two passed and — pop!
HE LETS ME REST IN GREEN MEADOWS
HE told me this was my time for rest. Satan had turned it into a nightmare because of worry over my accident, family, finances, the past and the future. HE said rest. Carol had been praying for me for four years to be willing to go to Lighthose ministries (A deliverance ministry) to see if this depression I was battling was a spirit that could be cast out. I finally said yes. We made an appointment. We met Dan the leader that night. Dan cast the spirit of depression out of me in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ. And I was set free from depression and have not been depressed since. PTL! Dan taught me how to stay free through the word of God. This revelation changed my life. There was hope and HE would guide me to it. Rest followed.
The next morning back to the Bible – The 23rd Psalm – Marking it down! My life was like one of Pavlov’s dogs waiting for a meal. Days turned to weeks, weeks to a month while everyday reading the 23rd Psalm and marking it in the calendar. Then HE spoke again:
HE LEADS ME BESIDE PEACEFUL STREAMS
HE was beginning to refresh my life. In my rest the healing could begin. Still my limitations prevented me from doing very much. But hope was beginning to spring forth.
I met with Pastor Barry and explained my computer and the encouragement to start a bible study on the Internet. He agreed and Sunday morning we announced at Cornerstone Community Center in Oakdale, Minnesota that Cyber Bible Study would start that week. 33 people signed up and the ministry was born. That was 1999, more than five years after my accident.
Back into the Bible for the 23rd Psalm — wrote it down day after day – night after night. Two months went by and the following popped out of the pages at me:
HE RENEWS MY STRENGTH
It was very clear the healing was for real and HE alone would bring me through this. My timing demanded a healing right now — HIS timing was a process to obtain healing. That’s when HE brought John, Heather and Brian into my life to usher in a ccm web site and work through my IT problems.
Back to the bible and 23rd Psalm. Day after day – night after night – marking it down on that calendar. Then something incredible happened.
HE GUIDES ME ALONG RIGHT PATHS
HE would reconstruct my life and lead me on the path to follow. All that was needed was FAITH and HE would do all HE said. That’s when Lanka from India visited my house and prophesied that I’d come to India, preach to the churches, be in a Christian movie and help him produce a Christian film.
This was a bit much for me to handle — so out the door with him with a hearty laugh. But it did get written on the calendar and Carol did hear it! My pain was bubbling over and I was unable to walk to the corner and back. There was no riding in a car over 30 minutes without severe pain. Pool therapy consumed me five days a week while still unable to count and my memory was definitely somewhere else. Go to India, preach, be in a movie and produce a Christian film — It was obvious to me that I was not the only one taking drugs!
Back to the Bible and the 23rd Psalm and another month of reading and HE handed me a key.
BRINGING HONOR TO HIS NAME
Then it became clear what God was doing over these many months and years:
HE was reintroducing HIMSELF as my shepherd
HE said HE would supply all my needs
HE brought me into rest
HE was personally refreshing me
HE was restoring me health
HE was reconstructing my life to follow HIM
HE would do all this and send me overseas for HIS purposes
And all this so HE would get the glory and the honor.
Wow what revelation – by the world’s standard I was a throw away. Nothing left but an empty shell. But HE was taking over and rebuilding something better than before. That’s when HE brought Charley into my life to guide me in the intricacies of building a 501(c) 3, non-profit ministry.
Back to the 23rd Psalm morning and night and marking it in my calendar. Another revelation was wanted that morning, that night, the next morning or the next night. But God’s timing is always best so another couple of months went by and wham!
EVEN WHEN I WALK THROUGH THE DARK VALLEY OF DEATH
HE allowed me to walk this walk — HE allowed me to receive the shot that stopped my heart – HE allowed me to die in that hospital only to be resuscitated in a vegetable state so HE could do what doctors could not — So HE alone gets the glory and the honor. That’s when it occurred to me what a blessing it was to have Carol as a faithful wife who stood with me through all this and prayed for me every day. Over 35 years ago God blessed me with the perfect help mate – it just took me a long – long time to figure it out!
Resting in HIM and reading the 23rd Psalm it was becoming clear that HIS plan was unfolding. Another month or two and ZAP!
I WILL NOT BE AFRAID
HE was telling me in all this — Do not be afraid — HE was in control — continue in HIS plan. That’s when He brought Bob into my life to teach me how to systematically grow Christian Cyber Ministries on the Internet.
It had been close to two years of reading the 23rd Psalm. Nothing else made much sense but there was comfort every time I finished. More time passed waiting on my next revelation and then when least expected there it was!
FOR YOU ARE CLOSE BESIDE ME
Tears of joy sprang from my eyes then just as they are now. For years I had been faithful in the small things HE required of me and now HE was rewarding me by being faithful in return and being close to me. While resting and refreshing the healing process was moving along and HE was right beside me each painful step. Each addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problem HE was there. Each pool therapy session day after day HE was right there, close beside me. That’s when HE brought Mitch into my life to guide me through medical decisions.
Back to the 23rd Psalm. It had been months and years of reading while marking it down on the calendar. Then another one.
YOUR ROD AND YOUR STAFF PROTECT AND COMFORT ME
As a result of this accident we lost everything we accumulated over 26 years of marriage. Carol often reminds me as we walked away from our dream house that she looked back and said, “nothing is going to own us ever again”. That was the day HE officially became our shelter and comfort. It’s also when he brought Denny and JoAnna into my life to work with and pray for this ministry.
The months kept rolling by and still the 23rd Psalm comforted me.
YOU PREPARE A FEAST FOR ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES
HE was in control. When all my talents and abilities were swept away in an instant and my earthly treasures were removed it was time to make a choice. I had to make that kind of choice — either curse God for what had happened — or to turn toward HIM. My choice was never in doubt. HE was the only way to go! HE rewarded me by bringing faithful supporters who joined me to financially help with the ministry.
My time with the 23rd psalm was not over yet. There were more verses to go. When my earthly patience was growing thin this arrived:
YOU WELCOME ME AS A GUEST ANOINTING MY HEAD WITH OIL
Through all this HE was anointing my head with oil for HIS purposes. HE had the plan He just needed me available. There were no talents to offer — they were all gone — no money to give — it was all gone — and HE still chose me. Then Doug called and asked to have lunch. He said he was to anoint me with oil. Not a drop but a major portion of oil. It flowed off my head in puddles on my clothes.
My lessons from the 23rd Psalm were far from over. Day and night for another couple of months and:
MY CUP OVERFLOWS WITH BLESSINGS
With my worldly desires for things way behind me and a desire to walk, talk and communicate properly first and foremost in my daily efforts, my attitudes all changed. Every day was a gift from God and everything and everyone was a gift from HIM. New people, new adventures and a new life emerged as HE provided daily for our needs. Each day HE provides, and to HIM alone are all the praise, glory and honor. That’s when HE brought David into my life to give me help and guidance in ministry financial matters.
No stopping now. The end was close but there was more. Sure enough several months later this arrived:
SURELY YOUR GOODNESS AND UNFAILING LOVE WILL PURSUE ME ALL MY LIFE
Love was the key but before love could grow forgiveness was necessary. I had to forgive the driver that hit me, the hospital staff that improperly injected me, the insurance company that took 25 years of premiums and wouldn’t pay and most of all to forgive myself. What a revelation! So with all that behind me it was time to pursue a new love for Carol, family and friends. That’s when HE provided a group of strong Christian men to form the ccm Golf Committee. David, Art, Bob and Chuck came forward to provide for the annual fund raiser.
There were not many verses left but I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. Each morning and night reading the 23rd Psalm and pretty much on schedule several months later there it was:
AND I WILL LIVE IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
If this was a test, I was sure I had passed it. It was a long time from the beginning of this adventure but there will be a great deal more to follow. You’ve probably heard it said that one can’t be an effective minister until he has gone through the fire. Well — I went to the fire — I jumped in the fire — and I came out of the fire. HE was there with me each step of the way and we now dwell together. That’s when the Lord brought Shadrack from South Africa back into my life and impressed on me to bring teams to South Africa and build churches for the needy.
That should be the end of the story. But reading the 23rd Psalm was part of me — cherishing every word as it told the story of my life. But as God would have it about two months later there was another one!
Those tears of joy returned as he confirmed that I would be with HIM in eternity! And there is no better way to say it than — to God be all the praise, glory and honor. That weekly bible study of 33, has become Cyber Daily Devotion with hundreds of thousands of readers daily in over 100 countries around the globe.
No matter how poor my body is He is faithful to get me where He wants me to go to accomplish HIS will. To God, be all the glory and the honor. Amen!
GOD DOESN’T CALL THE EQUIPPED — GOD EQUIPS THE CALLED
Now having come full circle I finally understand what it means — when I was fully equipped there was too much of me in the way. It wasn’t until I was emptied of me that HIS equipping could begin.
So this is my testimony of how God is rebuilding my life — putting everything in place — and how Christian Cyber Ministries had its beginnings.
Prayer: Father, thank You for calling and equipping me to do this. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Fast forward to February 2007
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” KJV
In January 2006, while in South Africa, our friends Leon and Lorna gave Carol a book to read. The name of it is “Is Jesus Enough?” Carol started to read it and could not put it down. She gave it to Glen (The puppet guy) and he read page one and could not put it down until he was finished. (I didn’t read it because with short term memory loss it’s hopeless to read books.)
Carol said to me, “Bill, you need to meet the author of this book.” Immediately after finishing the book Glen picked up my cell phone while in South Africa and called the author. Glen introduced himself and left a message for Maryanne, his secretary. Glen mentioned how much he and Carol enjoyed reading the book and said we would like to meet the author next year when we return in January 2007.
Over the next twelve months Glen kept in touch with Marianne via email. He set up a date to meet the author on Thursday, January 18, 2007.
We drove on a picturesque country highway for our meeting. The sky was a beautiful African blue and absolutely cloudless. We arrived and yikes! — a three mile dirt road to finish the trip. For those who really know me — the worst thing for my neck is the vibration of a wash board dirt road. We drove the last three miles very — very slowly! It was 1:00 PM when we entered the parking lot.
We arrived for our appointment and the author was in prayer preparing for the up- coming weekend speaking engagements. Pain from the dirt road experience was catching up with me and I took some pain medication. We waited for about an hour and the author graciously met with us.
Glen and I spent about an hour with the author and discussed many ministry issues for both of us and then our discussion turned to why. Why had Glen and Pastor Bill made an appointment the year before and traveled eight time zones and 12,000 miles to keep this appointment?
In the book Glen and Carol read — there was a chapter about an orphanage of about 30 children which the author oversees. The orphanage started in the mid 1990’s. Since its inception the orphanage has had five documented cases of children healed of HIV/AIDS.
When the author specifically asked me why I had come so far — my first reaction was to hide behind my wife — Carol told me to come! — but as I spoke, my words changed as the Holy Spirit took over — “I was in a car accident in 1994 and living in serious pain with short term memory loss ever since. I want to be healed and I want to pass this healing on to others”.
It didn’t take the author long to bring out a small bottle of anointing oil. He anointed me with oil and prayed for my healing and for the compassion of Jesus. The same compassion Jesus exhibited when he wept for Lazarus before calling him out of the grave. John 11:25 “Jesus Wept”. Jesus knew Lazarus would live again but he wept out of compassion for the people.
The release was immediate — I believe Jesus healed my body and mind out of his deep compassion — right then — right there. At exactly this moment it began to rain. It poured as hard as I’ve ever seen it rain — for two hours! The author confirmed, “The rain is a sign of your healing and ministry.”
We toured the orphanage and ate pizza — then we started driving out of the parking lot. I was driving. I stopped and looked at three miles of dirt road staring at me — this would be my first test. I rapidly accelerated out of the parking lot — a few minutes later Glen yelled, “Slow down!”
Glen and I met with the author. January 18, 2007. At 2:00 PM was my last pain pill. My car accident was in 1994 and I had been on Percocet, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone or Vicodin for severe pain ever since. I had no withdrawal from the pain killers. Praise the Lord!
About the rain! The author had written a book which is his testimony called FAITH LIKE POTATOES. The book has now become a film and the author gave me a copy of the movie. While in South Africa Glen and I were way too busy ministering to HIV/AIDS Orphans and assisting with the church roof in Mdantsane to take time to watch the movie. So I brought it home with me to America.
When Carol heard the news that I was healed by phone and emails she was in disbelief and decided to wait for me to return home to see if this news was true. She was wondering if I was on a spiritual high while on a mission trip. Now I was back in America and Carol wanted to know all about my experience. We talked about it — Carol watched me closely for a week to see if I was popping pills, walking funny or in discomfort from pain. After the week she realized God had truely healed her husband and set him free from the addiction to opioid pain pills. And gave God the Glory as we experienced His healing — as I explained NO PAIN — NO PAIN KILLERS. Then we settled in to watch the film FAITH LIKE POTATOES.
My experience of Co-Producing the film MY LAWYER in India has prepared me to watch a film with a critical eye. But this film was different from the very beginning. The first bold words I read on the screen said “Based on a True Story.” No empty Hollywood hype like — “some of this really happened”. Just, “BASED ON A TRUE STORY.”
One scene in the movie — it is a beautiful African blue sky day with bright sunshine. The author and his workers are preparing a field for planting and determine to burn off the stubble. The fire gets out of hand and all surrounding neighbors are called to help. Eventually the fire is totally out of control and is preparing to consume the entire farm including his house and buildings.
Everything man could do was exhausted — all the farmers could do was to watch the destruction. The author turned to the Lord and prayed for rain. The answer was immediate — It rained — It poured — dousing the fire — just as it did when I was healed and the author said, “There’s the sign.”
The more I know about the author the more I’ve come to realize that when he prays — and God answers — it rains.
The author confirmed, “The rain is a sign.” I asked to be healed and that has happened. I also asked to pass that healing on to others and that too has begun. Stay tuned to see what God will do with this new season in my life!
Who is the author? Angus Buchan of Greytown, South Africa. His life story is in a Major Motion Picture soon to be released in the USA. It’s called “Faith Like Potatoes” and chronicles his life before and after receiving Christ.
Prayer: Father, thank you for healing me and allowing this new season in my life.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Much has happened in the years since 2007 until now. The Lord has increased the size, scope and outreach of our ministry beyond what we ever could have imagined. With the addition of the ccmCrossProject.com doors have been opened to insights in the Kingdom of God that few experience.
A visitation from the Lord here, a healing there or a special touch in a life that no one else has experienced. It is a humbling privilege to travel the world and collect these testimonies and plant a cross in memory of what the Lord Jesus Christ did.
Isaiah the prophet in the Old Testament lived about 700 years before Christ and gave the following Prophecy which was the job description for the coming Messiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; NKJV
700 years later Jesus walks into the Synagogue and picks up the Book of Isaiah and reads the following:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; NKJV
Three verses later Jesus says, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus picked up the baton of the assignment and Job Description laid out by Isaiah and clearly told everyone HE is the Messiah they had been looking for.
Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18 concisely defines the authority and work of Jesus on planet earth.
Six chapters later in the Book of Luke Jesus passes along this authority to you and me.
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” NKJV
And then on top of that just before Jesus leaves earth for the last time he reconfirms passing on the authority and asks us to pick up the same baton he accepted from Isaiah
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. NKJV
Pastor Carol and I accept this baton and ask you to pick it up yourself or join us with our baton. If you chose to pick up your own baton then let us know or if you choose to help us carry our Baton join us as a Fire*Starter. Reach us at: Pastor Bill
Jesus is coming back soon. Let HIM find us “Giving HIM Glory” for all HE has done in our lives living the Cross.
In closing we join together with the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do all things more abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.” Amen. NKJV
Copyright (c) 2014 – Pastor Bill – Christian*Cyber*Ministries – All Rights Reserved