August 25, 2021
The following is a testimony from Mark Warren about his life’s journey as he is Growing in Christ. Mark is a faithful husband and member of East White Oak Bible Church, and the story below details his battle with ALS and his sincere devotion to the Lord and his family. Growing in Christ represents becoming mature believers growing in, through, and towards Christ. (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:13-16, Psalm 92:12-14)
From Mark Warren:
Susie and I got married June 4, 1983. I was diagnosed with ALS in June of 1984. We moved to my home state of Minnesota in the summer of 1985. I stopped breathing and went on a ventilator on October 8, 1988, and we moved back to Susie’s—and now my—home state of Illinois on July 1, 2000 in our sweet hometown of Normal on Beech Street.
Growing In Christ / Boasting In Weaknesses
“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:1-4).
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:18-19a).
Biblical Insight is Amazing and Humbling and Enlightening. It also brings Peace and Rejoicing and Strength with Boasting in Weaknesses. Fresh Insight into very familiar and foundational Scripture has been happening for me as an answer to a precious prayer in Ephesians 1. As the eyes of my skull continue to weaken, yet the eyes of my heart are Enlightened – Fresh Insight – In Christ Alone! (We had a precious Fresh Insight discussion in ABF July 18th.)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, . . . His inheritance, . . . the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:18-19a).
For when we who believe are weak, we are strong in Christ and Growing in Christ!
What is the Divine purpose for which God has called me to be filled with Glorious Hope while still living with weaknesses … with difficulties – with ALS? It is for all to be for Christ’s sake, to bless the Lord at all times, to Proclaim and Embrace the Joy of the Gospel – the Good News of God’s All-Sufficient Grace and His Perfect Love which casts out fear – and makes me rejoice in sufferings and well-content in the vastness of my weaknesses, for I can indeed boast about my weaknesses, “so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” This is Empowering and Enlightening, “for when I am weak, then I am strong” – only through Christ in my heart forever!
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
SO – the solid basis for boasting in weaknesses must be – “My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice.” I cannot boast about being humble, yet I hear my soul boast in the Lord and I rejoice in the Lord. The ears of my heart hear that Lord-boasting – ultimately about the Majesty of God in His Perfect Love in sending His Perfect Son to live a Perfect sinless Life and humbly being the One and Only Perfect Sacrifice for sinners like me and you by Perfectly paying our sin-debt in full by dying on Calvary’s Cross — then rising from the dead and becoming the Perfect Savior to those who humble themselves by confessing that we have no hope in life without believing and Growing In Christ! “In Christ Alone my hope is found!” Only HE delivers me from all my fears! This Precious Message of Perfect Love and Perfect Salvation is simultaneously Enlightening and Humbling, which leads to an Eternal Life of Rejoicing – ultimately humble, yet exalting Jesus-boasting!
FROG – F R O G – Fully Rely On God!
FRESH – F R E S H – Fully Reliable Enlightening Salvation Hallelujah!
Let’s live FROG-FRESH!
The following are lyrics from In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) CCLI License # 562389
“In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all — Here in the love of Christ I stand.”
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28).
…so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” (1 Cor. 1:31).