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Monday, April 23, 2012

Prayer moves a heart to change.......

     We had a recent testimony given at Church regarding how the Lord healed a broken heart.  Now, this was not a broken heart of the emotional variety.  But, it was a heart that was not functioning the way that God has designed it to function.  Yet, we know that by His love and grace, He can heal both the latter and the former.
     Discovering such a malfunction in a young lady was especially troubling news for both the teen and parents.  Yet, both knew and had seen God heal in the past.  And  when we harbor such truths in our hearts, it opens wide the doors of faith,  and  allows  Him what He does best
     Here is the testimony. 
      In November of 2011, my daughter after having taken a shower became light headed, dizzy, and was having difficulty breathing.  It seemed that her blood pressure had dropped dangerously low for no apparent reason. I had her sit down.  This in an attempt to relax her, allowing her blood pressure to come into order.  It worked, and it seemed to us to be just some kind of momentary episode.  We joyously went through the holiday season without a repeat of the condition.
     Yet, in January it happened again! This time not part of a singular event, but that of many smaller episodes over time.  She was becoming dizzy a lot more.  Shortness of breathe, overall weakness, and a funny hacking cough began to accompany the dizziness over a couple of weeks.  She said that when she did cough, she would be out of breathe.  It was becoming more noticeable as she went about her college studies and work day. 
     Enduring a consistent week of this behaviour, I called the doctor.  After first discussing it over the phone, she had us come in right away.  Our physician has been our daughters doctor since birth.  When she listened to her heart she heard an abnormal rhythm.  Also during the course of the exam, she notice how my daughters blood pressure readings were both high and low during the  several that were  taken while we were there in the office.  Our physician ordered a EKG, as well as a bunch of other lab tests.  When they came back,all  the tests were all normal,  except for the EKG.  It seemed to show that there was a definite abnormality in the upper right chamber of our daughter's heart.  Her suspicion was that either there was some kind of hole in her heart, or a definite blockage.
     We were no going from being concerned to alarmed.  We were sent to a specialist in Santa Barbara.  While in the specialists' office they took several EKGs.  Each one registering that indeed there was some kind of anomaly going on in her heart.  Then, to get a very precise reading on the condition they ordered an immediate ultrasound while we were there.  It was during this testing while battling fear and the unknown, my husband and I began to pray.
    It was right before all of our very eyes that as the ultrasound was being performed, a change occurred to the upper right chamber of her heart.  The heart rhythm that had registered wrong since our first doctor's visit was now being corrected. We watched as the rhythm itself changed!  After the rest of that days testing was completed, NO abnormality was found.
     We all knew that it was at that moment, God had performed a miracle on our  daughter's heart.  The following week, when any of the symptoms would begin, to reappear, we would declare that she was healed, and that there was nothing wrong with her heart because God is a God of healing.  Then  the symptoms would disappear.  We have also had our Church's intercessory prayer team praying the whole time.  I am glad that she has been episode free for over 3 months.  And the tests show there is no more anomaly.
      Jesus is a God of healing.  Sometimes, it's immediate.  Sometimes it takes time, and faith.  But either way, the scriptures tell us that "by His stripes, we were healed" It is finished.
     
    

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"He never intended for you to....."

     I have a couple of favorites quotes.  This happens to be one of them.  It 's  from the author C.S. Lewis, who is most famous as the writer of the Chronicles of Narnia.  Now, I know that there are a multitude of quotes that one could ponder  from the shear volume of his works.  But, this one is mine.  Because for me, it carries a weight of wisdom in regards to the Christian faith and Jesus Christ, himself.  It presents a dividing line that only cuts one way.  So, please take a moment  to read, ponder, and wonder...I think that it will stick with you also!

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All spirits are not created equal.......

     Last year, there was a lot of interest and hype about the coming of the end of the world and the final judgement.  It was being propagated for the most part by a group associated with the Rev. Harold Camping.  There was enough news media coverage over the course of many months, to arouse even the most skeptical person's curiosity as to ponder their personal end of days scenario.
     I did not buy into his eschatology due to scriptural reasons.  But, there were many people who did.  There were ones who were sincere of heart, and others of a more nefarious nature.  I do not fault anyone who is a sincere believer, even if they may not have thought all things through, as is required of them by scripture.   This post  though is designed to address the other part of the equation.  Where, when such events do not come to pass, the backlash can give the church a black eye.   What is even worse is when we find that the enemy of our souls has stealthly crept in to take advantage of the fervor. Here is our personal recollection of that  time, and I will let you be the judge.
     My wife and I were taking a Sunday afternoon walk. Strolling down the sidewalks of a nearby beach resort town.  We were walking and talking, when we noticed several hundred yards away on the other side of the street an "End of the World  street preacher".   I emphasize that statement because though he was associating himself with the above mentioned group, we did not consider him a valid witness to gospel Truth.  As we continued our stroll, we could hear him stop and confront, cajole, and preach to all of the people who just happened to be coming up or down his side of the street.  His car was covered with "the end is coming soon " graffiti. He seemed from all initial observations to be someone who was totally given over to his belief system.  He also fit every mental image that comes to mind, when you hear the term, sidewalk preacher complete with sandwich board.  We made a note to not to come back up that side of the street, when we were going to return from the beach.
     The sun was bright, the sky clear, a perfect California seaside afternoon.  We were lost in the moment of the day.  So much so as to not to remember which side of the street we had wished to avoid!  Yes, you guessed it.  Before we could recognize our error, we were coming right up to where the gentleman was preaching.  We thought that maybe luck was on our side, because he was already deeply engrossed in a one way conversation with another young couple who had stopped to hear what he had to say about The End.   We were close enough to hear every word of his very loud, bellicose expository diatribe as we passed.  It was as we had assumed, knowledge that we could not agree with in our hearts.
    Then it happened, he focused on my wife.  Now, she is not one to either mince words or tolerate objectionable people or things.  So with a wave of her hand, and a strength in her voice, she simply said "No!".  Now if I hadn't been  there, I wouldn't have believed what happened next.  But, I saw it with my own eyes.  The best description of what occurred is that this once forceful individual simply shrunk up and pulled back like a whipped dog.  He literally pulled back upon himself, instantly became silent, and went back to his corner.   My words fail to convey the unnatural reaction on his part to the simple rebuke.  The other couple just stood there, while we simply kept up the gentle pace of our stroll without missing a step. The man continued stand  there in complete silence, not even talking to the couple who was right in front of him.  For the first time since we had come to the town, his loud voice was not heard bouncing off the walls of the surrounding buildings.
     Then, as we were about 10 yards up the sidewalk from the man, he came back to life.  Through the corner of our eyes, we could see his reinvigorated life form moving, as he started yelling and pointing in our direction.  He was shouting, " You know the truth, You know the truth... why don't you share it?.."  It was almost as if he were taunting us, trying to manipulate us into confronting him there on the street.  This went on for 3 to 4 minutes until we were out of sight.
     Now, this is where I leave it up to you to judge.  For us, the whole story of Paul and Barnabas in Phillipi confronting the demon possessed girl came to mind.   Now, I know that for some Christians this may be totally off their mental grid,thinking  that such things just not could happen in "America"  in the 21st Century.  That is why I leave it up to you, and your faith parameters to judge.   But, the truth is that according to the Word, a Christian has authority and power over our spiritual enemy simply by being in Jesus.  Now,  though this man was "preaching supposed Bible stuff", it doesn't  necessarily  mean that he was a Christian,  nor does it discount the possibility that he  himself was filled with a demon, with the intention of bringing disrepute on the Gospel.
    Here is the what happened to Paul, if you are not so familiar with it:

Acts 16:16-19

New King James Version (NKJV)

Paul and Silas Imprisoned

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.