Sunday, January 25, 2015
Some traveling missionaries from a different religion just came by the house to "turn us" their way. Whenever that happens we offer the story of my supernatural healing as a testimony of our deep faith in the One True Son of God. And, whenever that happens, the missionaries smile, say a few nice words, then become awkwardly silent. Every time.
People of all faiths have praised the Lord for doing this work in me year after year, I witness it all the time. But there's something about people who show up at my house on mission to convert me from my "false doctrine" that keeps them from seeing His glory in it. I want to tell them that their lack of appreciation for what He's done is the single most telling sign that the Holy Spirit does not dwell within them. I will try harder to pray for their ears to be truly opened so that one day we can fully discuss it and praise the Lord the way He deserves.
Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
He deserves praise for what He did for me when He cast the cancer out of my body. But He also deserves praise for making the sun rise today. For blessing me with children, no matter how frustrating they can be. For providing the money to buy food. For being there when no one else is. For forgiving every single sin I have ever committed. For knowing the bad, ugly, evil thoughts that fester within me, and the real condition of my heart, and loving me anyway. But as I get wrapped up in my minor problems and feel suffocated, angry, fearful, battered, or alone, I don't remember the sunrise. I am burdened by the kids. The bank account is too low. I don't recognize His presence.
The gospel message is SO SIMPLE, why is it SO HARD to live out? Going back to the Old Testament, there were only 10 Commandments. Ten simple laws, that spawned numerous iterations because the people couldn't distinguish between the black and white. No matter how many experts weighed in on what the laws meant, people kept breaking them. Day after day. Finally, the Lord sent His only son, who was fully God and fully man, to live as a sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for all the sins we would ever commit. Jesus abolished the law with His death on the cross. Now we have no law, and still we can't behave. I can't even make it through breakfast without feeling sorry for myself. By lunch I have judged everyone I've interacted with. By dinner I've spent more time complaining to or about God than praising and petitioning Him put together. And it isn't until after dinner that I really let loose. Right before bed the guilt sets in and I start confessing my sin and planning what a great person I'll be tomorrow.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
This stuff isn't easy. If it was, we wouldn't need a thousand pages of the Bible. We wouldn't have to read, "do not be discouraged", because life would be so easy we wouldn't be tempted to lose heart. And we wouldn't dare to cast our cares on Him and receive the relief that comes from trusting in the Holy Spirit instead of ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
If you're feeling like a failure, know that you aren't alone. If you can't think of anything to praise God for, thank Him that Swarna had been told her cancer returned, but she trusted in Him and the Pet scan came back clear. Praise Him for having mercy on Mindy, who did not know Him before her diagnosis, but proclaimed His name before she passed away. Praise Him because His promises are true and His mercies are new each day. He might not have answered you yesterday, but that doesn't mean He won't do it today. Keep praising, keep praying, keep reading His promises.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
I wonder what Paul's third heaven is (2 Corinthians 12:2). I feel like I'm caught up between worlds myself. I'm looking out, not really part of this one, but the other one I'm floating in so vague and unclear. I'm pretty sure the other place I'm stuck in isn't a heaven of any sort though...
I talk and write about Him from my scarlet viewpoint. I'm a worthless, double-minded, forgetful sinner, looking up to the One who Knows. The One (the ONLY ONE) who sees my empty pockets and the filthy rags I cover myself with. But when I lift my eyes to Him He meets my gaze and smiles. He scoops me up with both arms, because it is not the things I can offer, but my self that He wants. He doesn't ask where I've been, but receives me with joy!
His love is true. His Word is true. His Son is real and His testimony does not change. He made the heavens and the earth. He created life out of nothing, and continues to do that each day. He gives us days and numbers them. He gives and takes away, and He heals our broken hearts and our broken bodies.
His love knows no bounds, so why does it tarry so? Three of our beloved sisters who were once healed are now suffering with their original disease. One is too many! Where is our Rescuer right now? The enemy wreaks havoc and evidence of his destruction is all around, like an untouchable villain on the war path... while the unanswered prayers of the saints plead in unison as a soundtrack of this tragic story. This is a great opportunity for them to grow in their faith, I know. It is a special privilege for us to persevere in prayer, yes. God will not allow anyone who trusts in Him to be put to shame (Ps 95:1-3), true. But it is impossible to go on with the same confidence when you were once testifying about His healing and then the cancer comes back. The natural thing for all of us to do when we are re-diagnosed (or it recurs/spreads, depending) is to quit. Quit boasting of the Holy Spirit's power. Don't dare to ask for and expect another miracle; We remember that God numbers our days and agree with the doctors that that number is small. It is easiest to accept it and thank Him for the good days we had. Because it took every fiber of our being to beg for healing, to believe it, to rejoice in it, to live life as a healed person, to testify about our healing, and then to get the bad news. How can we face the naysayers who never believed in the first place? How do we quiet the mocking whispers that taunt, "It was all a sham. You were never healed. Your 'God' never healed you." Or, if we continue to stand strong with the truth of the original healing we remember, "I never knew anyone else who was healed even once, twice could never happen.". So we crawl under the covers. We hide our pain, embarrassment, and cover our shame with makeup and smiles. But our questions and doubts continually plague us until we water down our faith with weak, political sounding niceties that leave no doubt that the miracles we experienced will be rarely remembered, the once vibrant testimony and faith we had dissolve.
I think of the Tennyson quote, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." In my flesh I think the opposite is true for healing. It feels like it would be better for all of us to have never been healed at all than to go through the agony of having been healed and then "lose" it. But somewhere in the depths of my dark, wounded soul, as I struggle to crawl back to the foot of the cross, I find the truth: It is better for these ladies to have been healed, to experience the faith-building freedom from such a huge answered prayer, yet to struggle with the disease again, than it is to have never experienced that at all. It changes us. It's incomprehensible. It allows us to "know" Him in a way that we could never get to before. And it provides an incomparable testimony that glorifies Him and continues to spread long after we are around. Moreover, it is better to have been healed because it was His decision. He has the plan, He did it, and His way really is the best way. It will strengthen their faith in some way to deal with their new problems, whether it is to enjoy as He heals them again, or to be dealt with in other ways. And finally, it may be true that it is impossible to go on after a bombshell like this, but the truth will ALWAYS remain: "All things that are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27, that was on the cake we ate to celebrate my own healing, by the way).
So, what more is there to say? John 10:27-28, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." The Rescuer came before, and He will come again. We don't know when. Maybe it will be today. Please pray for the power of the perfect Holy Spirit to show Himself within these women's bodies. Pray for their faith, strength, and total healing.
I might have posted this before. It's my favorite song. I thought I was the only one who had discovered it, but I guess when I was in my lala land it was released to the rest of the world. Anyway, the hyperlink will take you to the song itself. I wonder if anyone could really hear this song and not be moved. Like, lock yourself in a dark room with no distractions, close your eyes and listen to it, and if you aren't moved, send me a detailed note so I can try to understand.
Oceans by Hillsong United
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and you won't start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine