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Friday, October 26, 2012

God’s Promise of a New Heart

Hold on to your hats for this story. It is amazing! And another one gleaned from a Third Day Fan friend, Robin Martin.

Robin is currently spending lots of time in the hospital with her dad, who she expects will soon be with the Lord due to congestive heart failure. Though she will sorely miss her father when God decides to take him home, she is grateful for the additional seven years she was given with him. The following is the story of how God gave her those years, and though it has elements which are bitter-sweet, they are a reminder that God, in His infinite wisdom, has His palm over our lives, and He will not allow us to slip from His Awesome Love.

Here is what she posted, along with the picture that tells it all:

To my friends of Third Day Fan Club:
7 years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, my father was in desperate need of a heart. As always in saying our blessing before our meal, we asked that God send us a message that dad would get a heart. After dinner, my now-deceased sister, was slicing the remainder of the ham and to everyone's surprise this is what she sliced into. Seeclip_image002 the picture. No other slice before it ... This slice and the next slice directly behind it had the same heart in the grain of the ham. ONLY TWO SLICES. We rejoiced and thanked God for the sign. Yes dad got his heart transplant, 5 weeks later. My sister was killed in a motorcycle accident. Our pastor said yes it was definitely a sign from God that Robert was going to GET a heart but also that Monique was going to GIVE her heart! How awesome!
My prayer for my father now... 7 years and God is paving his path to return home. Hard? Yes! Our family was blessed to have 7 extra years with our dad! Please keep him in prayer today as he will keep up his fight until his end. God bless you all as I CRY OUT TO JESUS!

Robin’s dad will be 73 in a few days—October 29th. He had his first major heart attack at 38, three more after that, three open heart surgeries, two strokes, survived colon cancer, skin cancer and a heart transplant. I’d call him a survivor!!! Evidently, God had a plan for those now, almost 73, years. We shouldn’t take any of this for granted!

God has our story written as well. It starts with His loving design of who we are, moves through the sacrifice of His only Son and ends in His Loving Embrace. I rest in this knowledge.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can You Really Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?


Romans 6

Recently, I came across an article that disputed whether a Christian could really hate the sin and love the sinner. The author (and many commenters below the article) stated it was just a twist ofbroken heart words, believing it to be impossible to have such diverse feelings between a person and that which resides within them.

My answer to whether it is possible to do both is—well Yeah!

Have you ever known someone who had cancer? My guess is you have. Have you ever loved someone with cancer? Me too. Did I love their cancer? Hmmmm … let me think. Uh, no!!! I hated it with every fiber of my being. Why? Because it threatened to destroy the person in whom it took hold. In fact, the more I loved that person, the more I hated the disease.

So, too, is how I feel about sin. Not just for “the sinner” outside of me, but “the sinner” inside me. Like allowing cancer to fester results in death, allowing sin to fester does the same (Romans 6:21). That’s just the truth.

doctor bagHowever, before you go around, spiritual doctor-bag in hand, there is one caution to this analogy. Though cancer treatment has saved many lives, there have been those who have died from its effects. Chemo is never pretty. As Christians, we should be careful before administering our idea of healing to an unwilling patient who is not able-bodied enough to endure it. Sometimes a soul needs to be nourished before we ravage the death-inducing cells.

So yes, you can hate the sin and love the sinner. Or better yet, love the sinner first—building her up. You do that enough and it may lead to a natural defense against evil. Who knows?

When do you most feel loved?

Other posts you might like:

What Will Judgment Day Look Like?

Amazing Grace—Do We Take It For Granted?

For God So Loved the World …

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do You Ever Feel Your Offering to God is too Small?

John 6:5-13

Right now, my church is involved in Rick Warren’s Bible study entitled, “40 Days in the Word.” In this study Mr. Warren recommends we try to picture ourselves as the people in a Bible passage, and ask what it would be like to be them at that moment.

This past week we were prompted to envision ourselves as the boy with the five small barley loaves and two small fish. Hmmm. Whatfish caught could possibly be going on in this young man’s mind as he handed over his basket to the men charged with feeding five thousand?

First, I’m wondering, did he do it willingly? Well, it was either that or the apostle, Andrew, muscled it out of his hands. Somehow, I’m not seeing a tussle between the men and the boy ending with a torn basket and the food splayed in the dirt, so I’m thinking he did. Though the Bible describes these items as five loavessmall, I would guess that, for a family, five loaves and two fish could be an entire meal. Yet he handed them over with no fanfare, knowing its meager proportions could not possibly satisfy the multitude surrounding him.

So what would I feel if I were this boy? Can I relate in any way?

You betcha!

Have you ever been faced with a monumental task and felt your ability to meet the needs were a useless effort? I know I have. And yet, if we give our offering to Jesus, He can not only turn it into a sustaining feast for many, but when all is said and done there will be more to spare.

Remember, your work, your ministry, is not yours alone. If you consider it such, at most it will be one meal that will leave all hungry by the next day. But entrusted to Christ, your cup will overflow … by at least twelve baskets full.

Tell us about a time God enlarged your efforts.

Other posts you might like:

What Did Moses Do Anyway?

Should You Strive To Be Only Natural?

The Man Who Inspired a Congregation ... Sorta

Friday, October 5, 2012

Can God Heal Autism?

This Devotion was inspired by Hillsong’s Healer. Click the link to see it on Youtube. 
My son has autism. What does that mean? It means he has a cluster of developmental delays that make him less functional in society without someone’s help.

 It started out as a language delay. We didn’t panic at first becauscommunicatione this type of delay ran on both sides of our family. Those members who’d suffered it were currently either financially well off or verbally advanced, so we waited for my son to do the same. His physical delays were less apparent. They ebbed and flowed with each test. Sometimes on target, sometimes behind. His social-skills remained above age level.

 We’d hoped the language would fill in one day as it had for others we’d known. But it didn’t. So, I looked into therapies and treatments and supplements to make him well. And I prayed. No, this is not one of stormsthose stories where I came to God as a last resort. We were together on this one from the beginning. He kept me calm through the storms, though some of the storms were of my own making.

 But what does one pray for as the mother of an autistic boy? The right assistance? The right therapy to fix him? Or out-and-out healing? Which prayer demonstrates the appropriate level of faith (you know, moving mountains and all that) and which prayer embodies humility, understanding the sovereignty of God’s will (His grace being sufficient)?

I still don’t have the answer to that question so I pray them all. God is BIG! Did you know that? He’s huge. And powerful! So I didn’t think it a bad thing to pray my son be healed. But it seems others did. When I asked them to pray for healing, they’d look at me with pity in their eyes as though they believed my faith hinged on the discontinuation of his diagnosis. It made me sad. Sad they thought so little of me and worse they thought so little of God.

I had an acquaintance whose non-verbal eleven-year-old began to speak after 6 weeks of treatment with a research doctor. I prayermet her the week I’d been fasting and praying for answers. But what made her story amazing is that she also had a team of people covering her son in prayer every day of that treatment. We now go to this same doctor and have gotten great benefit from the treatment, just not like hers. I could never find a group of people willing to pray big things. They worried more about me than they did my son. Sigh!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not of the name-it and claim-it church. God doesn’t always give us exactly what we want, when we want it. Though Paul healed many, he writes of those who remained sick. He, himself, carried a thorn that was a reminder of God’s beautiful Grace. All, but one, apostle was martyred for Christ. Sometimes bad things happen and God shows His greatness in spite of, or even because of, those things. God has blessed me in so many ways through the gentle gift of my beautiful boy. This young man shows love and concern like no other without uttering a word. Truly living his gift rather than just speaking it. He’s grown my daughter in enormous ways that she’d never have known had she had a “normal” brother. He brings me peace with just a gentle touch of his fingers. I am blessed.

One of the words my son can say is “pray.” And he knows when to say it. He is the one to remind me to seek my Creator in time of need. He’s recently begun to say it often throughout the day. So I do. I pray for his healing. Not because I think God WILL heal my son, but because I KNOW He CAN. It is my testament of faith in His power. And still, I know He is not only omnipotent, but omniscient. He knows what is best for me and my son’s ministry for His Glory. He has a better plan than I can even imagine, and it just may include autism.

I submit to that plan.

 He is Good! 

Mark 9:14-29

Oh, and if you are so inclined, feel free to pray for my son. I won’t mind :o)!!! Let me know and I will return the favor—Comment below.

Other posts you might like:

Jake The Encourager—by H.L. Wegley
Signs of God
Eleven Days Past Autism Awareness Month