Sunday, July 15, 2012

Do not forget the less fortunate in your own backyard

Do not forget the less fortunate in your own backyard. Sometimes we are so busy with our own lives that we fail to notice those in need around us.

When you lose hope and faith has drained from you

In 94, when I was diagnosed with leukemia, I sat in the hospital bed feeling utterly hopeless and drained of all faith. While flipping through the Bible, God revealed to me a verse in Mark 9: 23,24

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The background of the story was that a father had a severely demon possessed son. It was an "impossible" situation for this father. What I really liked was the father's reponse to Jesus : “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I believe that this statement was the flintstone that resparked his depleated faith.

Many times we are faced with "impossible" situations in our life and we feel totally drained of faith. Remember, we can always turn to God and admit to Him that we have hit rock bottom, our tank is empty and we are running on fumes. May God give you a new spark to relight the fires of your faith!

Visited an eight year old boy suffering from leukemia this week with fellow believers, and prayed with the family. I shared with them how this passage of Scripture sustained me through the next two years of chemotheraphy.

Even now this verse sustains me with a new "impossible" situation that reared its ugly head in my life this week. The Lord reminded me of this same verse as I prayed for this family, and I guess it was for me too. Instead of staying down and depressed, my wife and I began praying and confessing the Word, getting our church elders and close friends to pray with us.

I feel at peace now. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strengthen yourself in the Lord

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 NKJV)
While David and his men were away, the enemy swooped in and destroyed their home and carried their wives and children away captive. In the midst of the despair, David turned to the Lord and strengthened (hung on) himself in the Lord. After that he was a changed man, pursued his enemies and recovered all that was lost.
When you have hit rock bottom, come to your wits end, hang onto God. Even if it feels like the last rung on the ladder. You will find strength to fight back and recover all that was lost! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Every testimony has a test in it

The word "testimony" starts with the word "test". If we go around telling people how good and easy life has been for you, it's called bragging...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving past the outer courts

"Sunshine" theology such as the health and wealth Gospel, effortless Christianity etc is increasingly gaining in popularity. While I personally believe in the miracle power of God, the favor of God, healing, excelling in the marketplace, I feel that such one sided thinking could be a stumbling block for many Christians as they mature in the Lord.

As you walk longer in the Lord, gone are the days when we get an instant response from God every time we prayed. The silent periods gets longer, our hearts get vexed, our faith is stretched to breaking point. Conflicts and trials start to increase in intensity and frequency. We seem to be putting out one fire after another... A loved one in the family dies, we get sick, businesses flop, there is a divorce( 50% of Christian marriages fail in many parts of the world).

The Old Testament describes the tabernacle in 3 parts.

1) The outer courts
2) The Holy Place
3) The Holy of Holies.

This can be used as an analogy to describe our walk with God in the New Testament. If we want to move from the outer courts and get closer with God. We will go through "refining" by God.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 1:6, 7 NKJV)

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19 NKJV)

As we get closer to God, the trials get more intense and last longer. But rest assured, God delivers us out of them all!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Remember the goodness of God

So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided." (Genesis 22:14 NIV)

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." (Genesis 32:30 NIV)

In the Old Testament, when men of God had an encounter with God, they would name the place to remind them of God's goodness. So when they passed a certain area, they would recall what God had done for them.

When you are faced with a trial in life, look back at your milestones. Remind yourself of the goodness of God. If He could do it in the past, He is more than able to do it again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No trial = No testimony

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11 NKJV)

If we did not run the marathon, there is nothing to testify about. If we did not scale the mountain, how can we point the way for others? We overcome the devil by what Jesus did on the Cross AND by the testimony of our trials.
  • Believing in "Effortless Christianity" is naive. Such beliefs leave the believer wide open, weak and unprepared for life's challenges and an easy "push over" for the enemy.
  • We have been redeemed by the work of the cross, but we still live in a sinful broken down world.
  • Bad things still happen to good people and Christians too, though it is not their fault. The world will only be redeemed after Christ's 2nd Coming.
  • So do not see your trial as a burden, but view it as an opportunity to fight back at the devil.
  • "No devil, you cannot oppress me anymore. I overcome you with the Blood of Jesus and with my witness of God's goodness! "