“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28)
This is the true story of a young beautiful woman called Lauren Scruggs. She was a fashion model. One day in 2011, she went with a pilot friend in a small private plane to see the Christmas lights from the sky. They landed on a small airport near Dallas where there was semi darkness. By mistake, she walked into the moving propeller of the plane. She survived but the accident left her without the left hand and the left eye. She was a born again Christian before the accident. The doctors told her parents that, because of her head injuries, she may have life time mental problems and depression. But God helped her recover, both spiritually and physically. She now uses an artificial hand and artificial eye. She says that God has a purpose in everything and that she is now closer to God. In the past, she was doing interviews for the fashion magazines. Now she tells people about Jesus. She says that your identity should not come from your physical beauty but from the heart. Let people see Christ in you! That is true beauty!
She wrote a book about her testimony. Listen to her words: “At first, I was angry with God; then came despair. I thought I was ugly and that no guy would ever love me and I just thought that my life was ruined… But God has healed me miraculously… He has healed my body and my soul…I think I’m seeing that this life is way bigger than me and that I think a lot of things that I held important earlier even in my career were quite shallow. II just want to use what I’ve been through to talk to young girls and let them know that our appearances are not what define us, even the insecurities that we hold onto, these don’t define us…. God has called me to just be open about what I’ve been through and just be vulnerable… God has such a different plan, and often times it’s shocking or unexpected but it’s still something really beautiful.”
This is what her mother Cheryl said: “As a mom you never dream your child is going to go through something like this. I couldn’t give her hand back to her. I couldn’t save her eye. There was nothing I could do to change it. But I did know she had a deep faith and I knew God would be our rock and Jesus would be our stronghold and that’s what we had to rely on.”
Let this young woman inspire us today. She has lost parts of her body. But she has gained a closer relationship with Christ and a higher anointing to preach His word, to encourage others. Therefore, in Christ, she is a winner! We should learn from all the experiences in life, both good and not so good. Let’s find the purpose of God in all things that concern us. Things may be difficult today. But we can gain peace, joy, wisdom and spiritual strength thru the pain today. God gives us songs in the night, in the midst of weeping! Do not look at what you have lost. Look at what God has deposited in you in the middle of that ‘loss’. Share your testimony of struggle to glory! Be sure to give all the glory to God who alone makes all things beautiful in His own time!
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Rom 8:11)
In 2010 we all read about a wonderful story of deliverance. Thirty three Chilean miners got trapped beneath two thousand feet below the earth. Their only exit tunnel collapsed. They knew that except for a miracle, they will die there, all of them. They decided to pray for a miracle, for the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. They encouraged one another with memory Bible verses. They made a survival plan: they will eat very little so that they can economize their food. Every other day, they ate two spoons of tuna, a sip of milk and a bite of peaches. For two months they prayed for someone to save them.
On the surface above, the Chilean rescue team worked around the clock, meeting with experts. They designed a thirteen-foot-tall capsule and drilled, first a communication hole, then an excavation tunnel. There was no guarantee of success. No one had ever been trapped underground this long and lived to tell the story. On October 13, 2010, the men began to emerge, singing victory songs. There was a great-grandfather… then a forty-four-year-old who was planning his wedding…. then a nineteen-year-old, training to be a miner… All had different stories of survival but all had made the same decision: They trusted someone else to save them. No one down below was foolish enough to trust in himself. No one said: ‘I can get out of here on my own…’ They all agreed from the beginning that they need help from the outside, saying: ‘We need help. We need someone to penetrate this world and pull us out.’ And when the rescue capsule came, they climbed in. They were all saved! Praise the Lord!
Their story should encourage us to trust the Lord Jesus Christ. No one can come out of the stony tomb of sin and death except by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who lives ‘outside’ this world of sin. He died that we may live. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us who believe in Him! Dear friend, this is the truth: you cannot make it on your own! You cannot save your own soul! Sin is too sinful. The wicked devil is a slave master who never let’s go of his victims. But Jesus destroyed his claim over you by the Cross. Give your life to Christ! Like these miners in Chile, you shall live to tell the story of His amazing grace and unfailing love!
(see some pictures from the dramatic rescue in Chile: the capsule arrives underground, the miners are taken up one by one and once outside, they kneel to thank God)
“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD” (Jer 9:23, 24)
Today I shall obey God’s command to boast in the Lord! Think of this: God made every snowflake different from every other snowflake. He made every fingerprint different from every other fingerprint. The stripes on the zebra are all different. There are no two alike. He made 9,000 kinds of birds and 200,000 kinds of flowers (see some in the picture). God is so extravagant! He forgives every repentant sinner. He hears every sincere prayer. He supplies every legitimate need. In Nigeria we praise this generous and creative God in a special chorus: “We go de hail-o! Jehovah Over-do! We go de hail-o!” In other words: Glory to God in the Highest!
Let me put it this way: our Heavenly Father is never unfaithful to His promises. He never gives false hopes. He never lies. He never wounds without giving healing! He never repents like men. He is never afraid, confused or weak. God is never stingy. We who know God, the believers in Christ, let’s boast about our Father who is in heaven! God is the greatest, mightiest, wisest, strongest, most kind, most loving and most patient of all! He is the most romantic Person in the Universe. He loves with an everlasting love. From everlasting to everlasting, God never changes! His love has no limits, His grace has no measure! He is the limitless God! He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth, to live among sinful men, to love them unto death. He died on the Cross that they may live eternally! They will be free to love their God and love one another.
This is my testimony: I am a child of God, a sinner saved by grace. That is how I know God. That is why I can boast in knowing God! I was a hopeless, ignorant, selfish, greedy, confused, proud and wicked person. I was a liability to my husband and to myself. But everything changed after I met the Nazarene, the Galilean! I am talking about my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ! I am born again by His Spirit and belong to the Family of God. All things became new for me! Glory to God!
Dear friend, God loves you too! Give your life to Christ! If you are already saved, let your faith rise and pray! Whatever things you are passing thru, remember this: God is greater than your circumstances. With God, all things are possible! At the name of Jesus, every sickness, lack, lust or loss must bow! Holy Spirit please take control! Father God, we give You alone all the glory! In Jesus name we pray, amen!
“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”… “(Ex 15:22-27)
The evening prayer meeting was very good. We started strong expectations. The Holy Wind was blowing in the sails of our faith. Therefore we made progress. The presence of God was strong in our midst. We declared that we have entered a season of peace (Shalom). One of the hindrances of peace is the root of bitterness. The passage we read is from the Book of Exodus (15:22-27). This story follows the great triumph and deliverance experienced by the people of God. The Red Sea opened for them and they crossed over to the other side. The same Sea closed its watery mouth and all the Egyptians drowned in it. Jehovah God proved that He cares for His people. They praised God like never before. Hopefully, in two weeks, they should reach the Promised Land. But it was not to be. Just three days later after this mighty deliverance and ‘fearful praise’, the same people started grumbling for water to drink. They found a pool of water in the desert. But the water was bitter and after swallowing a mouth full, they cried to Moses, asking for water to drink.
The word ‘bitter’ in Hebrew is ‘Marah’. The word means to rob somebody until the place becomes sore, to provoke somebody for a long time until he becomes angry. The word ‘grumble’ means to complain, to express anger or pain, to find fault, to disagree or to attack. Be careful! The people who complain about their circumstances are not harmless. They are using their tongues to attack your spirit. Their bitter words of complain are like viruses. They inject their poison into your spirit so that you can share in it. One of the most frequent arrows of complains is the lack of money. They will tell you that they do not have food to eat, or clothes to wear, or their school fees are not paid. They may describe a true situation. But as a child of God you must make a spiritual assessment. You cannot act just from your natural emotions. If you give them just money, you have not solved their problem. They will not be grateful and they will come back to you again for more money. Not only that but you have ignorantly sponsored ‘a bitter root that causes trouble and defiles many’ (Heb 12: ). You are to identify such grumbling as spiritual attacks and you are to resist these poisonous words with the shield of faith. You are to tell such a person that the only thing you can do is to pray for their deliverance. Direct their attention to the Lord Jesus. Tell them that they need Jesus as their Savior and Provider. Tell them that you are not God. If not, ignorantly, you are contributing to the spreading of spiritual poison in this land. We prayed against the bitter root! We separated ourselves from any relationship that is a source of spiritual bitterness. We prayed that we may be free form grumbling poisonous spirits. We prayed that we may enter the blessed land of Peace! We pray that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit, sweet, spiritual and strong! In Jesus name, amen!
But there is good news: in the midst of this troubled situation of bitterness, anger and grumbling, the revelation of Jehovah Rapha, God the Healer, is given. We shall continue next week…
“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones” (PV 17:22)
“And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me” (Gen 21:6)
As a pastor, I often meet sad ‘dry bones’ Christians. Their sadness is like a virus. If I am not filled with the Holy Spirit of peace and joy, their faces and their words will make me sad too. But joy is my strength and my shield. A born again child of God is commanded to ‘rejoice always’! It is true that life in this world is difficult and there are many reasons to be sad. (I live in Nigeria since 1980. I worked as a medical doctor here for about 20 years. In all my practice I did not encounter anyone who desired to commit suicide. But now, I hear now stories of people who are so depressed that they chose to terminate their lives. How sad… This is the devil at work).
If you are not saved, please give your life to Christ! This will be the best decision you can ever make! If you are born again, then have faith and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you! The first time the Holy Spirit fills your heart, it is the greatest experience. Nothing compares with it! You feel life entering your spiritual veins. You feel wisdom entering your tired and confused mind. Hope will enter and you can see the wonderful plans God has for you, you can see your bright future. Peace will come in and you feel a sense of good rest in your soul. Faith will ignite like dynamite and it will destroy all the gates of hell at once! You feel alive!!! You start to sing a new song unto the Lord!
But the greatest of all gifts is joy! I mean heavenly joy! It is the joy of Jesus! He died on the cross to save your soul and to fill you with His own joy! This joy destroys the weakness of the body and mind. Suddenly you feel strong! It is like rivers of laughter overpowering you. Once you start this holy laughter, you can’t stop it easily. It is like the Holy Ghost tickles your feet. You laugh like a baby. Your face will be wet with tears of joy. The only thing you can say is ‘Jesus… Jesus…’ You forget your name and your address. This joy is ‘good medicine’. It cures any sickness like an injection of fire in the bones. God is not the author of confusion. If He gives you the gift of laughter, it means that something good is going to happen. Fear not! Rejoice! And I say again, rejoice! Like Sarah, you will laugh supernaturally and your joy shall spread to many people.
Finally, this is my question: if you are a child of God, when last you really laughed and laughed! As we say in Nigeria, when last you laughed ‘bele-full’? When last you laughed ‘well – well’? The devil is a liar! The devil has stolen your joy! Take it back and swallow that ‘good medicine’! I know that if you are proudly addicted to sophisticated depression you will hate this letter. You imagine that your sadness is better than my laughter. I cannot change your mind. But I can pray for you that you may simply ask God for joy so that you can receive joy! Your breakthrough, your healing, your deliverance is just a prayer away… Trust God for a new (happier) beginning! What do you lose if you believe?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2Tim 1:7)
I saw this sign inside a lift, in a hotel in Lagos. In Nigeria, NEPA (electrical power) can go off at any moment. Imagine how you will feel, if you are inside the lift between two floors, waiting in the darkness. In the past, just imagining the trouble will make me afraid. To some, reading this sign, could have added to their fears. Somehow, the words ministered to me and gave me peace. I took them seriously and spiritually. I am reminded that just in case the unexpected crisis happens, I should not fear! I should not allow the demon of fear to influence my mind and pollute it with lies. I should reject fear always, no matter how tempting it is to be a sophisticated coward. Jesus never panicked! Therefore, in all situations, I should remain calm and strong for God is with me. My Christianity should be proven to be true, not only when things go well, but even when nothing around makes sense. I made a covenant with God and with my soul, that I will live a life free from worries and fears. Peace shall be my companion! Patience shall be my friend! Faith shall be my shield! The glory of God shall carry me into the forever. Prayer and praise shall be the air I breath. It is good to be alive. It is even better to know that I am saved. God loves you! Give your life to Christ today! Let us rejoice together!
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet 3:7; NKJ)
This may surprise you: Prayers can be hindered in the most unexpected places. I am talking about the area of marriage. Dear husband, if you want that your prayers should always be fast and free, you must pay the price to understand your wife. Spirituality is connected with marriage. God made that connection. You cannot separate them. I am not saying that you should study to understand all the women in Nigeria. I am saying that it is your duty to understand your own wife, especially her weaknesses, if you want an uninterrupted access to God.
I am a woman. I am a wife. I will share with you some of the women’s weaknesses. Let me say it this way: these are some of our weaknesses as women: We are too emotional. We act on impulse. Men think and make plans. We follow our ‘hearts’. Therefore we make more mistakes. We easily feel guilty. We defend ourselves too much. We talk too much. We weep too much. We are too anxious. We are over-forgiving. We forgive our enemies and they betray us again. We are too romantic and we expect our husbands to compete with the movie actors. Our hopes for our marriages are too high. We often talk ignorantly and childishly when we want to sound intelligent. We are easily distracted. It is hard to stay focused. We are too generous. We give too much and we suffer later. We are too self-conscious, especially with the shape and weight of our bodies. We are overly concerned with our clothes and the way we look in the mirror. We are easily jealous when we see others who look more beautiful … These are not things we are proud of. These are our spiritual weaknesses.
What does the Bible say? The husband must not be ignorant about these weaknesses. He must accommodate and help the wife to become a woman of God. It takes many years of painful prayers and patient counsel before the husband is strong enough not to be embarrassed by (what he considers to be) the childish behavior of his wife. It also takes many years of walking with the Lord before the wife is confident enough in her own ‘skin’ and become the woman God wants her to be.
This is our testimony: My husband and I we are married for 43 years. We have passed under many ‘bridges’ of difficulty in our relationship. We are from very different backgrounds. I cried many tears in frustration that my husband does not understand my pain. But he prayed for me. He interceded for me until the Holy Spirit helped him to love me with understanding. This is a great achievement for both of us. That is why our marriage is sweet and strong. I can confidently say this, to the glory of God: my husband understands me!!! I do not have to pretend to be another woman or to be a better version of myself. I can be myself. I can relax and make mistakes. I was slim when we got married. I am not slim anymore. But I am secure in his love and understanding. We grow together in the grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. We are a team! Our prayers are not hindered and our marriage is sweet and strong. My heart is filled with thanksgiving! May you tap from this anointing! To God be all the glory!