“I was in the kitchen making breakfast, and all of a sudden my left side got weak, and I was about to go down and I managed to hold myself up on the cabinet, and the next thing I remember is my phone ringing and waking me up.” The person calling Evelyn Cartwright was her daughter, Ebony. “I couldn’t really understand what she was saying, so I decided I would get over there as quickly as possible to find out what was going on,” Ebony recalled.
When Ebony arrived, she found her mother on her bed, unable to move. “When I got there, I could tell something was definitely wrong,” she said. “Like she was a lot weaker than usual, again, with the slurred speech."
She immediately rushed her to the ER. As it was during Covid, she wasn’t allowed to go in. “I was extremely worried that she had possibly had a stroke, and really worried about having to leave her there and not knowing what was going to happen,” Ebony said.
After running a CT scan and other tests, the doctor told Evelyn she’d had a stroke. But there was more. He said, “But did you know that you had two strokes prior to this?’ And I'm like, ‘No way. No, I had absolutely no idea.’ So this was stroke number three, not stroke number one,“ Evelyn recalled.
The hardest thing for family members was the few updates they were able to get from doctors since they had little contact with them. “Of course, I did start praying, and of course the family was involved, so I think we were all praying at the time that everything would be okay, Ebony recalled. "I definitely got a lot of peace out of it, but it was still really worrisome just knowing that we couldn't see her while all this was going on.”
Just two years before, Evelyn had another major health scare, a brain tumor, which she said God healed through prayer. “I just started thinking, 'Well, if He did that, surely He can do this. He can help me through this,” Evelyn said. “I had people in so many different states praying for me."
Evelyn would spend two days in the hospital before being transferred to rehab. “I could barely speak above a whisper. My left hand was totally paralyzed. It was clasped shut,’ Evelyn remembered. “I couldn’t open my hand and my left side was so weak I couldn’t stand up. So I was confined to a wheelchair.”
In rehab, Evelyn had to relearn how to talk, walk, and regain the mobility in her hands and arms. Not knowing if she would fully recover, friends from church, family, and even some of the hospital staff, prayed. “One of the nurses walked into the room when a friend of mine was praying for me on the phone,” she said. “And she came and sat down beside me and bowed her head and began to pray with us.”
In rehab, Evelyn not only prayed hard--she worked hard. “I really wanted to recover,” Evelyn says. “And so to me, that just goes with your faith--faith without works, you know--you need to do as much as you can do to help yourself too.”
While there, Evelyn made sure she wasn’t the only one receiving prayer. “I had a chance to pray for one aide that had a daughter that had some issues with her shoulder after she was born. So she told me that she believed God after I shared my testimony of the brain tumor with her."
It wasn’t long before Evelyn turned the corner. “The therapist came in and said, you know, you've made more progress in three days than most of our patients make in a whole week,” she says."
After two weeks, she went home showing no signs of stroke. The hospital sent her home with a wheelchair, but to date, it’s still in the box. “I don't believe I would still be here if it was not for the healing power of God,” recalled Evelyn. “He says in His Word that He wants us to prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers. So He wants us to be in health. He wants us to have good health. And He also told us that He died on the cross for our health, for our healing. By His stripes, we are healed. I just believe that healing is available to anybody that has faith enough to believe that God can do it for them.”
“I've always believed in prayer, but this was another instance to show me that the power of prayer is real,” Ebony shared.
“Since I’ve had a brain tumor and three strokes, there’s a purpose that I’m still being here. God has all the power,” Evelyn added. “No matter what the enemy says, God’s plans are greater--and God’s plans win.”
Anita’s sister, Valerie, began experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia when she was only five years old. At night, she was tormented for years with hallucinations only she could see. By her teens, Valerie became addicted to drugs which helped to keep her hallucinations away, but she spent a lot of her time on the streets. When she was forty, she went through one of many recovery programs and finally stopped using drugs and even got married. She renewed her relationship with Jesus and began taking medication to help with her mental illness. Unfortunately, the years of drug abuse took a toll on her body, and she died in 2016. Interestingly, many knew of her drug addiction, but most did not know of her mental illness.
“Our bodies matter to God,” shares Anita. In fact, she says, “The body was clearly and intentionally fashioned by God, and it’s important that we hold on to that reality.” In Genesis, God’s decision to create humanity is referenced as well as the parameters for life in the Garden of Eden. The garden became off limits to His creation due to sin. However, the Creator did plant a tree of life within you. In other words, the blueprint of God’s Garden is embodied in you. Your body gives direct access to your emotional life. It is important to become aware of your body and regulate your emotional experiences rather than warring against them.
THE GARDEN WITHIN
“My parents taught me to look for God everywhere and, in all things,” shares Anita. When Anita was just a teenager, she recalls her mom saying, “I know something is wrong and that Valerie needs more help than we can give her, but I still want to see it in my Bible.” In her heart, Anita made a silent promise to find the answer. She discovered that the intent of the Creator when He formed humanity has everything to do with our hearts. She says, “Scripture clarifies again and again that it is the heart – not the mind – that God designed to be at the very center of the human experience, and that includes our feelings.
• Heart Spirit Relationship – In 2007, as a PhD student at Regent University, Anita discovered the answer to her mom’s question. She was taking a science class and felt a need to read the book of Romans. The verse that got her attention: “For since the creation of the world (God’s) invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20 NKJV). She then turned her attention to the book of Genesis. She felt God wanted to reveal something to her in this science class. The next day they studied about neurons which look very similar to her seedling she had planted in the fifth grade. Anita began to ponder if the Creator was trying to reveal that He intentionally shaped neurons to look like plants to teach us something about how He made us. In fact, the Bible consistently uses plants and gardens to teach spiritual lessons and principles for living. She says, “The Creator gave us gardens to teach us about Him and about how He designed us in His image. The Creator planted a garden for us, and then the Creator planted a garden within us. A garden’s condition depends on its soil; the condition of the garden within you – spiritually, mentally, and physically – depends on the soil of your heart.”
• Heart Mind Relationship – Anita says, “Your thoughts don’t exist separately from your feelings. Your heart is the soil of your life. The roots of your mind are anchored there. The relationship between your heart and your mind is the same as the relationship between soil and a plant. Just as the soil is there before the plant, feeling comes before thinking.” There is a garden within each person. Seed, soil, plants and fruit are all working together in a system. So is our spirit, heart, mind, and body. Your heart nurtures your mind.
• Heart Body Relationship - Emotions begin in the body not the mind. Anita shares how as a freshman in college she developed a serious drinking habit. In fact, she almost died from alcohol poisoning after drinking a large amount of rum. Five years later, she was having dinner with a friend at Thanksgiving. At that point, she had not had a drink in two years. The sweet potatoes were passed to her, but suddenly she felt nauseous and anxious. She later discovered it was because of the rum flavoring. Her body remembered the impact the rum had on her body years before. The fear she recalled from the alcohol poisoning was engaged by her autonomic nervous system. Below she shares how emotions affect the body:
• Depression - heart health is affected by how your body responds to depression. The stress hormone, cortisol, is produced at higher levels which put you at risk for developing heart diseases.
• Loneliness – increases your risk of an early death. Human contact is a biological need. The chemical oxytocin is released with nonsexual touch (ex. Hug). It calms our sympathetic nervous system and lowers stress.
• Anger – frequent anger leads to problems in the body. Although it is not a sin to have the emotion of anger, it can produce problems in the body. For example, serotonin in the body promotes feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and optimism. When this is low it contributes to despair and anxiety.
• Fear – manifests as chronic pain in the body and can cause difficulty breathing or even produce headaches and anxiety. Ignoring this emotion can cause you to develop behaviors such as people pleasing, internal chatter, or even panic attacks.
JESUS HAD EMOTIONS
Many associate emotions with weakness, but emotions are not a sin. Jesus had emotions. In fact, He experienced emotional and physical pain just like we have. “Jesus knew the secret of the connection between our hearts and a powerful life,” shares Anita. Some of the times Jesus showed emotion publicly include:
• When Jesus stood in front of Lazarus’s tomb and wept (John 11:35).
• In the temple of Jerusalem, Jesus unleashed a whip and flipped tables (Matt. 21:12).
• On the cross, Jesus expressed his feelings of abandonment (Psalm 22:1).
After Jesus experienced these emotions, a supernatural display followed:
• After He wept, He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44).
• When Jesus demanded order in the temple, then He performed healing miracles. (Matt. 21:14)
• He endured the physical pain at Gethsemane, hundreds of soldiers were knocked to the ground from His words (John 18:6).
CULTIVATE YOUR GARDEN
God designed our bodies with the ability to be restored. Some steps you can take to restore your embodied garden include: (1) Go to bed – the body will not and cannot thrive on lack of sleep; (2) Hydrate – give your body enough water to support emotional well-being. Your body weight determines how much you need each day (drink a half ounce to an ounce per pound); (3) Eat - develop healthy eating habits to prevent unstable blood sugar levels; (4) Use your spiritual tools. Read the word, pray, and worship the Lord; and (5) Therapy is also a strategy for more deeply rooted issues. *There will be a six-week Bible study series based on the book available on March 24th.
For more information regarding Dr. Anita Phillips, please visit her website: www.anitaphillips.com. You can also purchase your copy of her book, The Garden Within, to begin living your best life today.
Cheng always wanted to play soccer with his friends. However, he was sick a lot and could barely walk sometimes. His sister recalled, “He said he felt a tingle in his heart, like someone stabbed him.”
Cheng was born with a hole in his heart. It caused a lot of health complications as he got older, and his mother left.
“He said, ‘If I didn't have this heart disease, maybe Mom would have stayed.’ She didn’t have energy to take care of my sick brother,” recalled Cheng's sister.
Cheng’s father did his best as a single dad. He worked in the city to provide for his family and save for heart surgery.
“I often called my dad, ‘Father have you earned enough money to operate on brother?’ Cheng’s sister says. “But he was always silent on the phone.”
As weak as Cheng got, he never forgot his dream of playing soccer. “Once, he borrowed a soccer ball from a classmate,” his sister explained. “He kicked it, but it had only gone a few feet when he fell to the ground. He said to me, ‘I am afraid I will have to stay in bed forever. Will you and Grandma leave me one day just like Mom?’ I hugged him and told him we would never do that.”
Then one night, Cheng fell into a coma. His Grandmother remembered, “The doctor said the hole in the middle of his heart had spread far and wide. If not operated on in time, he wouldn’t be able to breathe and could die.”
A teacher suggested the family contact CBN, and we helped make it possible for Cheng to get heart surgery.
His sister exclaimed, “He eats more than I do and grew taller, too. Now he’s powerful. When I arm-wrestle with him, he always beats me. And he has strength in his legs. He can run and play soccer with his friends.”
“I’m very grateful to CBN for your unconditional love,” added Cheng’s Grandma. "You saved my grandson.”
“Thank you for paying for my brother's surgery,” concluded Cheng’s sister. “I'm so happy for him.”
For decades now, football has been America’s favorite sport. The NFL generates nearly 20 billion dollars a year and showcases some of the world’s most recognizable players. Everyone knows their team’s quarterback and receivers. But what about the long snapper?
Will Dawson: "Morgan, for those who don’t know, what does a long snapper do?"
Morgan Cox: "On fourth down I will take the ball and snap it back to the punter. And once he punts it, I got to run down the field and try and tackle the most athletic guys on their team usually. And then on a field goal, I'll snap the ball back to the holder and hopefully the laces hit him just in such a way that he can just set the ball down and the ball takes off towards the uprights and goes through the yellow things."
Dawson: "It sounds like an important position."
Cox: "You know, I'm a little biased. I think it's pretty important."
Morgan Cox is one of the most decorated long snappers in NFL history. He’s a Super Bowl champion, a 5-time Pro-Bowler and the first at his position selected as All-Pro.
Dawson: "Patrick Mahomes, O.J. Simpson, J.J. Watt and Morgan Cox, what do all those players have in common?"
Cox: "Well, we all have been in the NFL?"
Dawson: "Five Pro Bowls."
Cox: "Oh, okay."
Dawson: "You guys are all on the same playing field."
Cox: "Okay, I don't know about that. The saying goes is, you know, you're doing your job well if nobody knows your name as a long snapper. And so I love it that way. I get to share the victories that my teammates have, you know, over the years, making kicks, making important kicks at the end of games. I know I played a part in it."
Morgan played college football at Tennessee, however, as vital as his role was, he wasn’t on scholarship. In 2010 he went undrafted in the NFL, though he signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he would spend eleven seasons. In 2021, he signed with the Tennessee Titans.
“I never wanted to be more than what I was,” said Morgan. “I mean, I knew the gifts that I'd been given. Of course, I would love to be more athletic, would love to be faster, would love to be stronger and all that stuff. When I look back on my journey, there's no real explanation for this path I've been on. I got to be on this ride because I feel God's hand.”
When he was eight-years-old, Morgan gave his life to God.
“I felt the Holy Spirit moving in my life into my heart and I wanted to accept God's gift of Jesus Christ in my heart. And I sat down one day as an eight-year-old and accepted him.
Morgan recalled, "Of course, it's a big moment right there and one that I pray for my kids as well. And so, I think it's really helped me and shaped my life the way it is and my career, how it is and how I approach things.”
Morgan approaches his playing career much like his life as a Christian.
“That's how I look at the long snapper position as a way of playing a part, even as a small part, is an important part in the body of Christ. And we all play a part in the body of Christ whether no matter what your role is. A servant leader, you know, is something that Jesus talks about, washing the feet of those others. I think my position is a humble position. Like I said before, I try and stayin the background.”
And in spite of his success, Morgan is grateful for the chance to play with some of the biggest names in sports and sees his career as an opportunity to share God’s love.
“As long as God calls me to it, that is, I still feel a calling to the ministry inside the locker room. I still feel that I have a purpose and I'm playing well on the field, that I want to continue playing. But I don't worry about what tomorrow is because all I have to do is look back at how I've gotten to this point."
"Things that happened had to fall exactly into place for me to be here. And so, I truly feel a calling in the locker room to be a presence, a spiritual presence. And so, when hard times come through the season, if I'm battling an injury, battling aches or just mentally struggling or had successes, you know, I give it to God and know that God has me here for a reason," Morgan stated.
Morgan concluded, "It’s just put me in such an amazing position to be where I am around guys that may or may not have heard about the gift of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and about God.”
CBN’s impact around the world
Daily prayers for people across the country
CBN’s prayer team prayed with over 1.2 million callers in 2022 alone, while also praying with people through email, social media channels, live chat on the website, and written correspondence.
Highlighting testimonies of God’s faithfulness
Vida Dura or “Hard Life” stories are sourced throughout Latin America and produced in Spanish to reach a region with testimonies of people who hit rock bottom and turn to God for change. CBN has a prayer center in Latin America to support people through prayer and faith resources.
Serving in the wake of natural disasters
CBN's Operation Blessing was on the ground quickly in the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, providing much-needed food, relief supplies, and medical aid. After large-scale natural disasters, Operation Blessing strives to be the first to arrive, and the last to leave, tending to the needs long after the news cameras leave.
Ukraine and Poland
For 30 years, CBN has been serving the people of Ukraine
Through CBN’s Orphan’s Promise and Operation Blessing, we were able to quickly provide valuable resources soon after the conflict began, and we continue to support Ukrainian refugees.
Projected 135 million* watched a CBN program in 2022
CBN partners are reaching children around the world with the Gospel of Jesus through Superbook, a Bible-based animation series. In 2022 alone, children in 139 countries watched at least one episode of Superbook.
Bible Reading for the Day
Read or listen to today's Old and New Testament Bible readings. Each day is portioned to give the entire Bible to you in a year. Start anytime. Scroll forward or backward if you miss any days or want to get ahead.