Destitute in Delhi? Sickness? God is near

Slide1

A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

In a hot bus in Delhi, people jammed together, even riding on the roof. Destitute. Crushed spirit?

A 19-year-old girl lay in her hospital bed wondering if she would have to live much longer … a burden on her parents and her brothers.

Father, take me to be with You! My parents can’t afford many more hospital bills. They’re tired, Lord. I’m tired. I don’t want to live like this. So many medical tests. So many doctors poking and questioning. So much pain. Take me!

Crushed spirit?

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Taa…dddt, taa…dddt, taa…dddt, taa…dddt.  Silence. I look at the hospital room door. A white-haired man with black rimmed glasses smiles at me.

“I’ve been praying for you. May I come in?”

I nod.

This stranger with a cat-like smile and crutches praying for me? How’d he hear about me?

At my moment of despair, God sent me Reverend Henry. Christians I did not know were praying for me at churches I had not heard of.

That summer, Reverend Henry and I poured over the Scriptures together. He discipled me in the grace and goodness of God. Although he lived with legs ravaged by polio, his face glowed with joy.

Hospitals, doctors, and medical tests had become my way of life, but Reverend Henry showed me how to put my joy in the Lord.

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

I was finally diagnosed with Celiac, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes, a diagnosis is a relief.

In those nights when I could not sleep because of the pain, I found solace in the Psalms.

David’s spirit was crushed many times.

I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. Psalm 88:1-3

Then, he thought about his God, the Creator of the Universe, the One who had chosen David to be king, the Lord of Hosts who had empowered him to kill Goliath. David turned from his problems, his brokenness, to the greatness of God, and he praised God.

In the depths of our pity pit, God is near. He sent me Reverend Henry. He touched David as he prayed.

How has God reached through your brokenness to save you?

My prayer

Father, thank You that you are near when Your children are broken. I pray a special blessing for the men and women in the photo. Make Yourself known to them. Give them hope and eternity with You. Father, show us how we can be a Reverend Henry to others. Send us with joyful hearts. We love you, our Great and Dear Lord!

Epilogue

God miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome on November 21, 2010. I still have Celiac Disease, but that is controlled with diet. The sickness and pit drew me close to God and to my husband. God prepared me through that brokenness to do what I am doing today.

May you recognize what God is doing in your life and rejoice!

Is God working in your life … for good?

Bird

 

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. Romans 8:28

I’ve used this verse many times to “comfort” myself and others during dark times giving them hope that everything would be all right in the end. I listened to David Jeremiah today on the radio and he pointed out that maybe not everything would end up all right on this side of heaven.

And we know that God causes …

Because of our past experiences with God, because the Bible tells us that God works in our lives and others,
we trust that God causes …

all things to work together for good …

God is good; anything He causes is good. The good and the bad work together, like a cake mix. I love chocolate. Yet, cocoa is bitter until it is mixed with sugar, honey or a fruit. The chocolate works with the sweetener to form a new taste.

When I had fibromyalgia, I trusted God that He would work it for good. However, I did not know what that “good” looked like. I just knew that in the end, it would be a sweet fragrance to His glory. Indeed, the fragrance came in 2010 with a miraculous healing. God has used that healing to give others hope.

for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

This promise is conditional. You can claim this promise if you love God. If you love God, you are called according to His purpose.

Is God working all things together for good in your life? Won’t you share what God is doing in your life?

My prayer for you

Father, Thank You for this promise-filled verse. You are the One who causes all things to work together for good. Thank You for Your work in us. Thank You for the Bible, for hope, for Your promises. We honor You and praise You for who You are and for Your love.

If God is Good … Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil – A review

http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9781601425799&width=1000

If the Creator of the world is good, why is there evil? Randy Alcorn tackles an age-old question with unique insight and logic. I have asked “Why?”many times. Like Job, never an answer to the question, but a refocus on the greatness of God.  Alcorn writes:

Grace and forgiveness, both expressions of God’s eternal character, are moral goods, but without evil they wouldn’t have become clearly evident. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit don’t need compassion, mercy, grace, or forgiveness. These qualities could only be fully expressed to finite and fallen creatures.

Perhaps that is why the angels desire to look into the Gospel, 1 Peter 1:12,; the angels in Heaven have not sinned. They see God’s compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and that prompts them to desire to look into the Gospel.

Alcorn also reminds readers that we cannot understand God’s ways or thoughts. He suggests that maybe an explanation from God for the reason of evil and suffering might lead to greater misunderstanding.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

I appreciated the pithy subtitles. I frequently reread them, highlighted them and tweeted them.

True-to-Scripture, If God is Good was filled with stories of people who suffered greatly and, yet, said that their faith in God was strengthened in their time of testing. For some of the people Alcorn wrote about, their great trial was over and they understood why they had gone through the trial. For others, there was no answer, but there will be an answer in heaven.

Alcorn claims that the “Health and Wealth Gospel” perverts our understanding of evil and suffering.  He acknowledges that God still miraculously heals people from sickness and that God uses doctors and medicine to heal people. Sometimes, God does not heal miraculously or through medicine. Sometimes, God has a better plan.

When you pray only for healing, what are you praying to miss out on? Christlikeness? Shouldn’t we learn to pray that our suffering causes growth, that God will give us little glimpses of Heaven as we seek to endure, and that He would use us?

When I had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I thought that I was to shine for God through my pain, and I believe that was my purpose in that season. Two years before God miraculously healed me, God impressed upon my husband and me that He would heal me. Two years of praying for the promised healing. Two years of consuming the Scriptures and Christian books on healing, all the while, asking what God had for us to learn.

My fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were a gift from God. God’s healing was also a gift. God has given me little glimpses of Heaven through each of these gifts, directing this life’s path on an unexpected adventure that unfolds the great goodness of God.

Footnoted and hefty, If God is Good, is a resource for those who have endured suffering or evil and for those who are in the midst of suffering or evil … in other words, this is a resource for everyone who asks “Why?”

This book has been a great blessing to me … a gift from God.

Thank you, Randy Alcorn, for your diligence and commitment to this subject.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

For further information about Randy Alcorn and the book, you might want to visit these websites:

 My prayer for you

Father of Lights, thank You for revealing Your great goodness to us. We thank You for Your mercy, grace, and redemption. Thank You, for Randy Alcorn and his ministry. Bless him and give him greater glimpses of Heaven and of Yourself. Father, You are good; You are great; You are awesome.

Even if the miracle doesn’t come

 

Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold about 90 feet tall and commanded all his rulers and people to come to the dedication of this idol. At the sound of the orchestra, all the people were commanded to fall down and worship the idol. Those who did not were to be tossed into a blazing furnace.

Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego did not fall down and worship the idol. The king offered them a second chance:

O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. Daniel 3:16-18

Enraged, Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and had the three young men tossed into the furnace, killing the men who threw the three into the inferno.

Nebuchadnezzar looked in and saw four men walking in the fire unharmed. He beckoned them to come out, and only three men came out of the fire unsinged.

The men wanted God to save them from the fire, but even if He did not, they would not worship false gods. Jesus walked with them through the fire, empowered them minister to the king, legalized worship of God, and caused them to prosper.

Job wanted a healing from the boils, but even if he wasn’t healed, “Blessed be the Lord.” God gave him a deeper glimpse of who He is and restored his health, family, and wealth.

Joseph wanted to be released from prison, but even if he was not freed, he would be the best prisoner he could be. God prepared him to save the country and his family and restored his freedom.

I wanted a healing from fibromyalgia and chronic illness, but even if didn’t receive the healing I thought God had promised me, I counted my blessings. God blessed me with intense experiences of His presence and prepared me to walk with other sisters and brothers experiencing chronic illness, and restored my health.

But even if …

What is your even if?

My prayer for you

Father, You have given us so many promises, and we cling to those promises, but even if we don’t receive those promises in this life, empower us to praise You and delight ourselves in You. We trust You that You are working Your perfect work in our lives. We trust in who You are! You are the Faithful One!

 

Have you bargained with God? Hannah did.

Melk Abbey PrayersPraying in the Melk Abbey in Austria
 

She, [Hannah] greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” 1 Samuel 1:10-11

Have you wept before the Lord, asking for a miracle? Have you made a bargain with God? That’s what Hannah did. Yet, the very thing that she asked for, she offered back to God.

Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. “For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.“So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1:24-28

After Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord, God blessed her with three sons and two daughters.

When I was in junior high (now middle school), I used to bargain with God. “Oh God, make me smart. Give me that A tomorrow on the test, and I’ll live for you.”

I got the A’s, so I read my Bible diligently, thinking that was keeping my end of the bargain.

All my life, I was sickly, in and out of the doctors’ offices. In and out of the hospitals during my late teens.

Then, in 2001, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It had taken years to diagnose.

That’s when I found myself weeping and pleading before the Lord for healing. In November 2010, I gave the asked for healing back to God on November 21, 2010, when I told Him at a healing service that I no longer cared whether I was healed, I just wanted more of Him.

God healed me that night.

That healing turned my life upside down. God gave me the desires of my heart: healing, but more importantly, more of Him.

Whatever the desire of your heart is, plead, weep, ask persistently and then be williing to give it back for more of Jesus.

My prayer for you

Jesus, You said that whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for Your sake will preserve it. Thank You for including Hannah’s story in Your Word. Teach us the lesson of Hannah, and empower us to turn our lives over to You … completely … with reckless abandon. Thank You for Your gracious blessings. We love You, and we pray in Your name, Your essence, Your character.

What are you asking God for? Are you willing to dedicate it to Him?

Are you limiting God?

Ein GeddiEin Geddi

Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. Mark 6:1-6

Jesus crisscrossed the Sea of Galilee going from countryside to villages teaching, opening blind eyes, casting out demons, healing all who came to Him, and raising a little girl from the dead.

Word of this Miracle-Worker had spread throughout the region.

Jesus went to His hometown with His disciples, and on the Sabbath, He began to teach in the synagogue.

Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”

Friends and neighbors of Jesus’ family acknowledged that He had been given wisdom and that He had performed miracles, but they knew Him as the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and His sisters.

And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

I consumed the Scriptures and believed that the miracles and healings recorded in the Bible actually happened. But I had been taught that the miracles and healings were for the early church and not for today, except for an occasional miracle or healing.

Although Jesus’ hometown friends and neighbors heard extraordinary wisdom come from the lips of Jesus, they were offended … Jesus was a carpenter! Although Jesus worked miracles, His family lived in Nazareth.

I believed that Jesus could work miracles, that Jesus could heal … others.

Just as those in Nazareth, I limited Jesus, and Jesus is a gentleman; He will not cross boundaries that we draw.

It took two years of praying and Bible study after God told Keith and me that He was going to heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. During those two years, we learned to drop our expectation of the ordinary and to wait in great expectation for the extraordinary: a healing.

Three years after the Lord healed me, He is breaking down walls other people have placed on Jesus as they witness what He has accomplished in my body.

People who knew me when I was pain-riddled, still ask me how I am feeling.

I’m healed!

Still, I have other walls that I’ve placed around Jesus. I’m praying and studying to break those walls down as well.

My prayer for you

Jesus, You are all about faith, expectation, and possibility. You are our hope. Teach us to lean You. Guide us as we learn of You. Show us how we are limiting You and enable us to remove those boundaries, so that we invite You to accomplish Your great works in our lives.

How are you limiting Jesus?

Walls can’t come crashing down without the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Step out as the Holy Spirit guides you.