Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Experiencing God in Challenging Times

July 5th, 2017

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5 NIV)

Dear friends and readers,

Many of you know what is going on with me in these last few weeks, but also many are unaware of the physical challenges we have been facing in the last few days. We believe that the Lord will ultimately heal me completely and restore me to being fully engaged in ministry. But for the last few weeks it has been difficult to function and write these studies daily – I will explain. So my silence has just been due to a physical problem, and I will be back on the net soon.

For several weeks now I have been planning to have knee replacement surgery, and it was performed here in Stuttgart, Germany, 20 June, at an excellent orthopedic hospital. The surgery went well and my initial recovery progressed fine.

However four days after the surgery I suffered a seizure. The doctors will be studying the reasons for this – perhaps they will find something, or perhaps not. But it means that my brain was deprived of oxygen for a very brief time, but long enough to send me into this seizure. I woke up in the emergency room at the hospital completely confused and unable to remember what I was even doing in the hospital – I remembered my name but that was about it. Within hours full consciousness was restored.

In the following days they discovered I had also experienced a pulmonary embolism – or a blood clot in my lung – and also had pneumonia. Due to a heart attack three years earlier, I sustained some minor damage to my heart – nothing that would prevent me from functioning normally but no marathons! So all of these things are being considered together and we are praying and trusting the Lord for healing, as well as for a full restoration of my health and ministry – and full restoration in our life together, my wife Lana and I.

I stayed an extra week in the hospital treating these problems and on high doses of intravenous antibiotic for the pneumonia. After two weeks they were able to send me to the rehab I was originally scheduled to be in. I lost some ground on knee recovery due to more serious concerns. Orthopedic doctors know (or should know) that when it comes to make a decision for the benefit of a patient that the heart, brain, and lungs are more important considerations than the knees. But hopefully I am not too far behind – my knee should recover just fine.

Currently, due to my knee pain, it is very uncomfortable for me to sit in a chair. Lying down or reclining are much preferred. This means that I will not be writing much for the next couple of weeks. But I did want to rejoice in the salvation of the Lord and to invite you to pray for me and for my recovery.

I often read “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman, and have really been blessed by these devotions the last few weeks. Today’s, July 5, especially spoke to me. Perhaps it will be an encouragement to you as well.

I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness…And I will give her her vineyards from thence (Hosea 2:14-15).

A strange place to find vineyards–in the wilderness! And can it be that the riches which a soul needs can be obtained in the wilderness, which stands for a lonely place, out of which you can seldom find your way? It would seem so, and not only that, but the “Valley of Achor,” which means bitterness, is called a door of hope. And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth!

Yes, God knows our need of the wilderness experience. He knows where and how to bring out that which is enduring. The soul has been idolatrous, rebellious; has forgotten God, and with a perfect self-will has said, “I will follow after my lovers.” But she did not overtake them. And, when she was hopeless and forsaken, God said, “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”

What a loving God is ours!

We never know where God hides His pools. We see a rock, and we cannot guess it is the home of the spring. We see a flinty place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain. God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs.

In these past days I have discovered many hidden pools of God’s grace that have restored my soul. What matters most in life is not whether we are getting our way, but whether we are experiencing God in whatever way He has provided for us.

Thank you in advance for your prayers. Blessings in Christ to you and yours!

Evening Devotionals, Healing for Today , , ,

God Brought Me Out

April 28th, 2016

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1-3)

How often these verses from God’s Word have spoken to our hearts! Have not we all, at one time or another, in one way or another, felt overwhelmed with troubles and sorrows – as though we were thrown into a miry pit of clay, with no handholds, no footholds to climb our way out. If God did not help us, no one would, nor truly could. But then God does act, and He releases us from the prison of our circumstances and from the greater prison of our poor imaginations.

Deliverance from dire circumstances: In this day and age, we are more likely to be treated for depression than to be told how to get out of our difficult dilemmas. It is essential to remember that not all problems are in our minds only, or even mostly. There are physical and material problems that bring us down – the threat of a law suit, the diagnosis of disease, the unfaithfulness of a spouse, the failure of our child, the loss of a loved one, the sudden requirement to move away from friends to a new and unknown place, the betrayal of friends, the constant taunting of enemies, the burden of debt, a difficult boss or colleague, etc. Is it only in our hearts that God brings victory, or does he also deliver us from the miry pit?

Let us be clear on this issue. God does deliver from dire circumstances, and this deliverance is not only in our hearts.

As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14)

Thank God he promises more than only emotional help. He is, as the psalmist wrote, “A very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). The scholars who have sought to translate this Psalm 46:1 passage are struck at the emphasis of the original Hebrew, that is so very deep and profound that the thoughts are difficult to get across in a succinct way. God’s help has been found to be constant, and is continuing to be found to be constant. His help is more than we would imagine, so that his deliverance is greater than we had hoped. As great and magnificent and wonderful as God is, so in these terms, in this manner, in like-character, he displays his help to us.

Never hesitate to ask for physical deliverance from your problems. God is not ashamed to be our God, neither should we be hesitant or ashamed to bring any matter before him in prayer. Often we have not simply because we have not asked him. He is ready, willing, able, and desirous to deliver us, to heal us, to redeem our circumstances, to save our lives from danger, if we would only ask him (James 4:1-3).

Deliverance from hopelessness: Yet no problem exists only in the material or physical circumstances. They each find their way into our hearts – even those that are mostly physical. I do not only need to be healed in my body; I must also be healed in my soul and spirit. We see it quite often that we are delivered out of the miry pits, but still feel trapped inside them.

Many people who come from abusive homes, for example, who have been delivered from them, still live their lives in fear of being returned to them. Many who have been healed of disease still live like they are yet sick. And these are those who have been delivered physically. How much more is this true of those who have been entrusted by God with long term difficult burdens to bear.

The track of this deliverance is beautifully laid out in the psalm, and we can see the assurance growing in his heart at each stage:

  1. First, the assurance that God heard his prayer. Assurance that God cares and listens is gained through faith in his Word that tells us so. This is the victory of our faith, that when we pray we do not look upon the matter as still forlorn and us as forsaken. God is active and He cares. He is our Shepherd who tends his flock lovingly and faithfully. “He inclined unto me” – does not that have the ring of compassion in it, like a mother who knows the sound of her baby’s cry, like a shepherd who recognizes his sheep by their bleating.
  2. Next God brought him up out of the dire circumstance – physical deliverance.
  3. He set his feet upon solid ground so that he would not slide back down. The deliverance was full and complete.
  4. He established his steps – what he could not do before, now he is able to move and follow. “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
  5. He put a new song in his heart – God not only delivered him, but God told him of his deliverance, and assured him of his victory. The greatest victory in our hearts comes not through the lifting of the oppressive circumstance alone, or even mostly, but through the assurance of God’s faithfulness. “A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover, as the love of the Giver” (Thomas a’ Kempis, The Imitation of Christ).
  6. “Many will see it and fear” – a Christian should not provoke pity from people, as though we are the forgotten and mistreated of the world. There should be something enviable about us, something admirable and desirable in the freedom, joy, peace, victory, and love in which we live our lives.
  7. “Many … will trust in the LORD” – but the great goal of our testimony and of our life, is not merely to be impressive in ourselves alone, but to lead people to Christ.

A man told me once, “I am a broken man, but I am not sure you can trust any man who has not been broken.” What he meant is that our sorrows and difficulties, our troubles and tribulations, even our failures, have a way of kicking our legs out from underneath us, until we learn to stand upon the solid ground the reality of God. No human knows only victories in his life; we all have our failures and set backs. But it is in the miry pits where we learn to trust in God, where we find and discover his faithfulness, and we allow him to write over them all a new song of praise and peace and life.

Deliverance at death: We also find in these words a very visual description of our death – out of the miry clay of the grave God shall raise us from the dead and clothe us with a new glorified spiritual body, and put a new song in our mouth. Death comes for us all, but so does the resurrection from the dead – the righteous raised to life and the unrighteous raised to judgment and hell. We are righteous not because of our works, but because of our faith in Christ and his payment for our sins, and in his resurrection. The heart of the Christian faith is the constant hope of the resurrection. We need not fear whatever the world throws at us because we know Him who is resurrected – who is the resurrection and the life.

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