Brother George. How are you?

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These are words that I cherish.  As often as I see Gary, he utters these sweet words to me.  Love is stirred in my heart and I remember how many hours he spent with me along with his wife Diann when I became a believer.  Gary led a Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study every Sunday morning before our church service.  As a new believer I was like a sponge.  I wanted to hear everything.  My dear friend Mark from my workplace spoke to me one critical day about Jesus and you can say the rest is history.  I was now being discipled.  Gary has become a dear friend. Then things changed on July 4, 2019.  Gary was clinging on to his life.  Gary has a massive heart attack and his brain was not receiving any oxygen.  His son Jason said, (paraphrase) “He has suffered through two cardiac arrests, a lengthy lack of oxygen to his brain, seizures, broken ribs, a punctured lung, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure, multiple medically induced comas, a tracheotomy, among other things”  Prayers began for Gary. A lot of prayers.

Over the next several days and weeks, many people joined the family in prayer for Gary’s health and healing, for strength for Diann and their sons Scott and Jason.  We prayed for their entire family for God to pour out His supernatural presence by His Holy Spirit.  Gary was hooked up to hospital devices that would lengthen his life, but the prayer for Gary was complete restoration.  Oh, I wanted to hear those words from Gary again, “Brother George. How are you?”  I couldn’t imagine not being able to see Gary and Diann in church each Sunday, encouraging others to simple believe God’s authority over all things including healing.  I’ve prayed along with them for many other people.  Believing God for the promises in His Word.  Faith rose up to a level I’ve not witnessed before.  God manifested His Holy presence and said, “It is finished”

Jason followed with this in one of his updates on his dad.  “BUT today he gets to go home. His prognosis was so grim and chances of recovery so small, BUT today he gets to go home. When he began to come out of sedation, he wanted two things: water, and to go home. The guy who’s known in medical circles as “miracle man” will get his wish today. He gets tired quickly but can do many things on his own and will continue to build strength from home. He will return to his beloved chair where this all began, only this time with quite the story to tell instead of read.”  A miracle testimony.  Gary is  the “Miracle Man”. But God…

 

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We must remember God’s promise, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV}  

Through it all, God’s been good.  Through the hundreds and hundreds of hours Gary’s family spent with him in the hospital, their strength was upheld by God’s strong right hand. The family began to speak the many promises of God.  And God delivered Gary.  God is faithful.  God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

I rejoice that Gary is alive and ready to tell the world of God’s miracle healing.  Gary’s the “Miracle Man”.  God is the giver of life and he gave Gary a second life.  I’m reminded of Lazarus.

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”  The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 ESV)

I’m looking forward to seeing Gary and Diann tonight with my wife, Nancy.  Oh what joy I will have when I hear those words again. “Brother George. How are you?”

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

 

Faith as small as a Mustard Seed

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 13:31 ESV)

This won’t be a teaching on the size of the actual mustard seed and how God would move even if your faith was that small. If you will be so inclined to allow me to just write about faith as I see it day to day from my point of view.

My eyes are focused on the promises of God’s Word, but sometimes not fixed on the promises. What I mean is that I know that the Word of God is absolute truth and the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV) But sometimes what happens is that I lose my fixation on the promise and let circumstances and my human thoughts pull me away. I think that most of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior can say we’ve done that. It’s a weakness we have because we’re human.

So many things have been happening in my life, my wife’s life, my family’s life and with my friends that it seems that it is overwhelming. It is there that I need to stop and talk with God. I do that sometimes, but certainly not every time. But even in my human inadequacies, God moves in my situation. It is there that I am consumed in His love and find myself humbled and weeping before the Lord. I ask why can’t I just give it to the Lord from the beginning. Why do I fail Him so easily?

But you see I’m not failing God. God doesn’t feel that I’ve failed Him. He is my ever present help in time of need. (Psalm 46:1 ESV) Even when I don’t realize it. It’s not about me wanting to be perfect or the one that needs to carry the burden alone. Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:30 ESV) But I would save myself a lot of grief if I would just stop and pray. If I would just take a deep breath, focus on the presence of God, settle my heart and have a conversation with God.

I believe in the Power of Prayer and that it changes everything. In fact I have witnessed so many miracles as the result of prayer. However, should we forget to stop first and pray, God has it. Really. God is faithful. We can trust in Him. The Bible says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV) We can put our faith in God. And yes, it’s true that if our faith is as small as a mustard seed, we can speak to our mountains and God will move them. I’m so glad for that.

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

Divine Interruption

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Does anyone have a childhood memory of the summer vacation trips you took? I know I do.  I remember as a child thinking ahead of the day that we would leave.  I remember pondering what we would do; each time getting more and more excited.  I would count down the days.  But there were times when something would happen and times where plans had to change.  Mom and Dad had so much on their minds, trying to get things taken care of.  I know I didn’t think of what they went through so that my brother and I would not be too disappointed.  Sometimes things happen because that’s life.  Sometimes it just can’t be helped.  The world is an ever changing thing.  Even in the 60s and early 70s when family vacations really meant a lot to me, things of this world caused things to happen.  My dad had a certain amount of vacation time to take and if plans changed, he had to try to get his vacation dates changed.  Mom was a stay at home mom, but when dad was stressed, she was stressed.  All my brother and I knew was we weren’t going when we thought we were.  It was a sad time for us and I am sure mom and dad felt bad that we were disappointed.

Sometimes the hardest thing once my brother and I got over the announcement, was just trying to understand why. We saw how hard it was for mom and dad to tell us.  They knew that we were excited.  Yet, because of circumstances beyond their control, the plans had to change.  The best thing that my brother and I could do was to simply accept it.  But in our private conversations between brothers, we were very sad and somewhat angry.

The Bible speaks about someone who had their life turned upside down due to an announcement. Something she didn’t know would happen.  The world was about to change for all eternity and she had to try to understand.  Luke 1:30-33 (NIV) shares the announcement: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  Can you imagine what Mary felt?  Certainly it was much more than a change of vacation plans.

The Angel Gabriel wanted her not to be afraid. The announcement was good news, yet an incredibly HUGE event.  Mary was not only giving birth to a son, but she was giving birth to the Son of God.

When I was told of our change of plans I had to come to a point of acceptance. Mary also had to come to a place of acceptance, but I am sure there were times when her mind was filled with the “what if’s”.  And she must have thought about the effect on Joseph.  You see Mary was a virgin.  The culture that they lived in would allow Joseph to divorce or cancel his plans to marry her because she would be carrying a child in her yet not married.

So much was going on, yet Mary said this as written in Luke 1:38 (NIV): “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” When it counted, she responded in faith to trust the Lord.

Think about this for a minute. What would you do?  If you were either Mary or Joseph.  Mary was a teenage girl who now found herself pregnant with a son though she was a virgin.  Joseph found himself in a position to now understand how this happened. That’s no small dilemma for Joseph, especially since he is obviously not the father of the child.

Sometimes interruptions in our lives come from our relationship with God. I call them divine interruptions.  They take us by surprise, yet God has a plan for us and interruptions are a part of that plan. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.” Can we do that?  Or should I ask, “Do we do that?”  I know that I struggle with interruptions.  In my perfect world, I like having things go as I plan.  I think to some degree we all do.  I think that there’s a lesson to be learned from the story of Mary and Joseph.

Friend, interruptions are a part of our lives. They happen every day.  Divine interruptions are for our good and God’s glory.  When these Godly interruptions occur, pray.  Seek God in prayer.  Speak to Him and take time to listen.  Next, put the interruption into proper perspective asking yourself things like, “How bad is it really?” and “What difference will it make in eternity?”  Then think about God’s providence and who really is in control.  God is still in control.  And finally, give thanks to God for He truly cares for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 says this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   God had plans for Mary and Joseph and their hope was in Him.  God has plans for you, too. God bless you.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Sometimes Lord I’m afraid

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Sometimes Lord, when the wind blows and the skies crash, I’m afraid.  Sometimes Lord when the world squeezes me to the point of bursting, I’m afraid.  Sometimes when I allow my doubts to rise up in my mind, I’m afraid.  I’m just being honest and open Lord.  My heart hurts and I’m shaking Lord and I wonder if you see what I’m going through.

Have you ever said any of these words?  Have you cried out to God to give you help or to calm your fears?  Have you ever wondered if God even cares?  I can tell you this.  I’ve said these words.  I’ve cried out to God for help to the point of tears.  I’ve wondered where God was.  But I will also tell you this.  God never left me.  God was always close.  God heard my cries.  God moved into my situation.  And God will do the same for you.

It seems we place God into the form of a mortal man.  We cry out in prayer to a God we believe exists, but we lower our expectations as if God was a man. As if God was limited or was unable to understand.  And this leads us to believe nothing is possible.  But I tell you that nothing is IMPOSSIBLE for God.  God is not a man.  God is a supreme being.  He is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega.  He created all things that were created.  And He loved you before you were ever born so much that He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you. (John 3:16)  Yes, for you!  So that you could spend eternity with Him.

So what is the answer?  Belief is the answer.  Believe that God is who He is; the Great I Am.  So do not be afraid, the Lord is with you.  Every instant of time.  In every situation.  Believe what His Word says, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

 

Hello it’s me

 

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Hello, it’s me God.  It’s been a rough few days and I know I’ve been trying to figure this all out by myself.  Again, I confess that I can’t.  You see God it’s overwhelming at times.  It seems that every day something new comes up and gets heaped upon my shoulders.  The weight is getting unbearable.  Yet, I think I’m superman or something.  I know you didn’t create me to be superman or any other super hero.  But I just seem to forget.

You know those white boards that we keep in our offices to keep track of things that need to be accomplished.  A visual “to do” list.  Well, when I was thinking about all of this before bed a few nights ago, I saw an empty white board in my thoughts.  And then all of a sudden the board was full.  Like there was no more room to add a single thing.  It was then I thought to myself, “That’s where I’m at.”  Again, it overwhelmed me.

I’m told God that You hear and answer every prayer.  I’m told that You are faithful and that You are able.  I’m told that You never leave my side and that You are my Rock, my Refuge, my Strong Tower.  Well, God, I really need You.  I’m at my end and I submit to You that I’m not able.  I need You to get through the next moment in time even if it’s just the next second because I have no more strength.  Help me God!  Really, help me God!

I have no more to say because I can’t put anything more into words.  So I’m turning to my faith and my hope in You.  Encourage me along the way because God I really need it.

Signed,

Your beloved.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!