by Bob Russell, ©2018

(Jul. 20, 2018) — I had originally thought, after writing the sixth installment of this series, that the next one would be the final one, written at the completion of my journey through the healing process after the massive stroke I suffered on August 19, 2014, but God has continued to give me things to write about to show His love, His faithfulness, and His power.

I attend a church on Friday night called Vision.  It was on June 29, 2018 that Almighty God gave me something else to praise Him for and to share with others.  For several weeks I had been a bit discouraged because it seemed I was going backwards in my status, and I had been praying asking God for something to encourage me.  I wear a pedometer to track how much I walk every day and have done so since May 2015 when I started doing volunteer work at the Claremore Veterans Center.  I use it to help monitor the progress in my stamina.

I had continued to increase the distance I walk every day, often getting as much as three miles in and well over two miles every day.   Over the last three weeks I had noticed that the number of steps I was taking every day had declined significantly, yet I was just as tired and experiencing just as many muscle spasms, cramps, and pain issues as before.  In addition I had begun to doubt that my dream of May 2016 was the message from God that I had thought it was.  Don’t misunderstand me here; I wasn’t doubting God or losing faith, but rather had begun to think that the dream I had attributed to God had merely been a case of wishful thinking coming to life in my sleep.  I have never doubted God’s love for me nor His power or willingness to restore me.  I just doubted myself and my idea about the source of the dream.  I now believe that the doubt came from satan trying to get me to give up.

At Vision, the first Friday night of each month is what we call a “prophetic gathering” where Pastor Don and others share words of prophecy God gives them.  This year Pastor Don decided, through the urging of the Holy Spirit, to have all five nights in June be prophetic gatherings.  The last meeting of the month, June 29, a young evangelist named Brandon Stratton, a frequent visitor, had a word.  He said he didn’t have anyone specific in mind but felt as if the Word the Holy Spirit gave him was for more than one person.  Over the two years I have attended Vision I have decided that any time a Prophetic Word was given in a general sense I would grasp it as mine if it in any remote way could be applied to my life and situations.

Until now I really haven’t seen it make a difference, but on this night the Word was that “you DID hear from God, that any doubts are from the enemy trying to dissuade you from grasping and holding on to your dream/vision.”  I took that to heart and gained encouragement from it.  My wife and I had discussed my dilemma and she had several suggestions to solve the mystery.  One was to count my steps and see if the pedometer was accurate.  Another was to check it periodically through the day to ensure I hadn’t bumped it and caused a reset.  I did both and found no apparent issues there.  Her next suggestion was to measure a distance, count my steps, and recalculate my stride.  So on Monday, July 2 I did that at the end of my day at the Claremore Veterans Center.  I stopped by the physical therapy room, got a wheel they use to measure how far a patient walks, and measured out a path.  I checked my steps and found out that my stride has increased.  Instead of taking 1508 steps per mile I was now taking 1320 steps to cover the same mile.  That means when I see 400 to 600 fewer steps in a day that I am covering the same 2-3 mile distance so am feeling the same effects, plus I realized that I am also standing  more than I used to.

Through this, God has shown me progress that I can measure and be encouraged by.  Brandon affirmed to me that I had, indeed, heard from God, that the dream WAS indeed a promise from Him, and that I am improving.  Re-measuring my stride confirmed all of it.  I never doubted Almighty God, and as a reward He showed me how much progress I was experiencing.  I often say that one day I will be restored to pre-stroke condition; if it wasn’t today it will be tomorrow.  There have been those who have said that statement is unbelief/lack of faith, but I say it is a proclamation of great faith.  Unbelief would be to say it hasn’t happened yet so it won’t happen, but I have never said nor even thought that.

Some people have told me I lack faith and that I have not been restored yet because of sin, unbelief, lack of faith, or not deserving it, but I say “hogwash” to all of that.  I know I don’t “deserve” healing but that isn’t a factor.  God won’t restore me because I deserve it but because I believe it, pray for it, and do all I can to help myself, and most of all because He loves me and wants me restored.  I still believe that God helps those who have faith and help themselves.  All the faith I could have wouldn’t help me if I had been content with the first two things I was told:  that I would be dead or totally paralyzed and bedridden.  I refused to accept the obvious medical prognosis and God has rewarded me for my faith and my efforts to improve.

My neurologist told me two years ago that medicine and medical technology couldn’t do any more for me, that my situation was beyond anything he or any other doctor could do.  I understood and accepted the fact he had done all he could do for me and turned all of my attention towards the GREAT PHYSICIAN, Almighty God, through faith in healing through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  I WILL be restored; I don’t know which day, but I know it is a question of “when,” not a question of “if.”  Right now God is working in me and through me, using my disability and my faith to help others.  People hear my story, see my faith, see my progress, and are inspired and encouraged in their issues.  Many people have told me that seeing my progress and my faith has helped them, and that has encouraged me.  I am SO honored that Almighty God, the Creator of all things, has chosen me to be His helper, to help spread His Word to others and to show them His love.  What He has done for others He will do for me and what He has done and will do for me He will do for others.

I have certainly not led an exemplary life, but He is still allowing me to be His messenger because I have repented of my past life and consented to do His will to the best of my ability.  I WILL be restored, not because of who I am or anything I have done or will do but because He loves me and I am willing to submit to Him as a servant of The Most High God.  I have asked God to give me another 30 productive years and I believe, even at the age of 68, that He will grant me this request if I will continue along the current path.  I am excited to be a vessel God is willing to use for His Glory and look forward to many years of serving God and telling my story of redemption through the Blood of Jesus.  The stroke should have killed me or left me a paralyzed mental vegetable as satan intended, but God has turned what satan intended for evil into something for the good of many.  Thank You, Father, for giving me the chance to serve You and Thank You, Jesus, for healing my body.  I don’t know how many more chapters will be included in this series but God will let me know when to write again, what to write, and when this series will conclude.

I submit this in the name of The Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell













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