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November 26th, 2011

Story : Then Sings My Soul

Then Sings My Soul

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for me. (Ps 66: 16)

It was the Divine Mercy hour. Wednesday of the Holy Week of 2011, 20th April. I was with Shalom TV’s “Divine Mercy Prayers” and later with “Vachana Deepthi” from Divine Retreat Centre. I had spent the morning preparing for the Good Friday Service with some special devotions and hymns. At 3.35 pm and here comes a gripping pain in the centre of my chest. I thought the pain would decrease and vanish and so continued listening to Vachana Deepthi. But soon, the pain was increasing in intensity and the area of pain was slowly growing larger in the thoracic area. I was all alone at home, but with the Lord by my side.

My first response was to praise and thank the Lord for this predicament in keeping with Psalm 34:1 and Ephesians 5:20, which say, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth”… “giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. As I worshipped, I asked the Lord, as to how to handle this… and without any delay, the answer came in a counter question – “What will you do or tell someone else who has this problem?” Immediately, it flashed upon that “inward eye” that I normally speak the Word of God to such people, to edify them and give them confidence to appropriate the promises of our covenant-keeping God. Isaiah 55: 11 and Psalm 89: 34 came to my mind and I vocalized them in prayer. I received my answer as promised in Psalm 50:15, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Having received the Divine Counsel, I began speaking the Word of God to myself beginning with – “Johnson, do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me”. (John 14:1)… Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)… I am the LORD who heals you. (Exodus 15:26)… You shall worship the LORD your God … and I will take sickness away from among you (Exodus 23: 25)… The LORD will turn away from you every illness… (Deuteronomy 7: 15) and I also began to pray (not say or recite) Psalm 91, with great focus on Verses 1-3; 9-10; and 14-16. Psalm 103:1-5 and Psalm 23:4 were also greatly consoling and comforting. I was confident of the Lord’s mercy, protection and healing because my prayer was as our Saviour Jesus Christ taught us in Mark 11:24. “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Meanwhile, I had called my elder brother residing nearby and had asked him to take me to a nearby hospital which he did, in less than five minutes. At the hospital, the doctors gave me certain first aid medicines and injections after assessing that I was going through a heart attack and rushed me to the Cardiac ICU. Even as the staff were connecting me to various cables and leads, I was experiencing the healing touch of our Lord Jesus Christ and His ever-abiding covenant promises, which are “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), because the author Himself is alive “with us always, to the end of the age” (Mathew 28:20), for He is our “Immanuel” (Mathew 1:23) and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And if He cured “all” who were sick and cured “every” disease and “every” sickness (Mt 4:23-24; 8:16-17; 9:35) to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 53:4 (1Pet 2:24), then He will heal me too, for He does not show partiality (Acts 10: 34; Rom 2: 11). The Chief Cardiologist evaluated me and gave his opinion that I look normal and apparently there was some “natural canalization” of the blocked arteries, but nevertheless, there is a need for better evaluation. Praise the Lord ! Yes indeed ! He sent His Word and healed me and delivered me from destruction… (Psalm 107:20).

Soon I was shifted to another hospital for better evaluation and treatment, but I kept saying that all is well with me because I felt so and was convinced that the Divine Doctor Jesus Christ was in control. However, I landed up in the new specialist hospital and many tests were done and after four days they gave their verdict : “There are no risk factors for the patient – no hypertension, no diabetes, non-smoker, non-alcoholic, no stress, not quick-tempered, but the few blocks in the arteries indicate ‘triple vessel disease’. However, the patient is active and is asymptomatic of a heart attack or even the blocks.” Why look at the storm, when you can focus on the Creator and Sovereign Lord? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body.” (Proverbs 3:5-8). They even asked me as to how this heart attack could have taken place – it is mysterious ! And I answered them that just as its occurrence is mysterious to you, you will see that the recovery will be miraculous, for my Lord Jesus Christ had said so.

Throughout my stay in both the hospitals, I was flooding myself with the Word of God and drenching myself in the power of God and the Lord took me to His promises in Exodus 14: 13-14, which I paraphrased — “Johnson, do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today; for the sickness (Egyptians) that you see today you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” On the day I received these promises, my prayerful wife, a woman of great faith, came upto me and said that while praying, she received the instructions as in 1Corinthians 16:13, which says, “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” That was confirmation enough from the Lord that the purposes of His finished work on the cross was manifested in me for the greater glory of God…By His stripes, I am healed ! Praise the Lord ! “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God ?” (John 11: 40)… he was sick (born blind) so that God’s works might be revealed in him”. (John 9: 3).

The Lord was using this incident to increase my faith, to improve my prayer life and to move me to greater levels of service in His Kingdom, which began even as I was in the ICU… “He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit He prunes to make it bear more fruit.” (John 15:2). I used my time to share the Good News to the fellow-patients and all those who believed went home unscathed and healed by the Blood of Jesus, because – “All things can be done for the one who believes.” (Mark 9:23). He is the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for Him ? (Jeremiah 32: 27).

I am now back at home with greater zeal for the Lord and doing all my routine work better than before, in all humility and total submission to the Lord, bringing to fulfillment Romans 8:28 – “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

– – – written by M.L. JOHNSON, CHENNAI

October 25th, 2011

Weakness Can Be Strength

Weakness Can Be Strength

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move.

“Sensei,”(Teacher in Japanese) the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched.

Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.

“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.” The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

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“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

When it comes to life, for some folks their biggest strength becomes their biggest weakness. For example, as Jesus said about the wealthy man, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24. The eye of the needle was referring to a door in the wall of the city (as it was commonly called) which was too small for a camel to go through, meaning that it was impossible for a person who trusts in his riches—or his fame, personality, power or position—to get into God’s heaven.

On the other hand, when we acknowledge our weaknesses and know that we need to depend on God for guidance, wisdom, discernment, and deliverance from temptation – this can become our greatest strength.

Prayer: Dear God, please deliver me from the sin of pride and help me always remember to be dependent on you for guidance, wisdom, direction, power to overcome temptation, and for my eternal salvation. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

September 27th, 2011

Trust God But Tie Your Camel

Trust God But Tie Your Camel

There was once a man who was on his way back home from market with his camel and, as he had a good day, he decided to stop at a Church along the road and offer his thanks to God.

He left his camel outside and spent several hours offering thanks to God, praying and promising that he will be a good person in the future, help the poor and be a righteous man.

When he emerged it was already dark and behold – his camel was gone!

He immediately flew into a violent temper and shook his fist at the sky, yelling: “God! How could you do this to me? I put all my trust in you and then you have done this to me!”

A passing believer heard the man yelling and chuckled to himself. “Listen”, he said, “Trust God but, you know, tie up your camel.”

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Let go and let God.

Letting go and letting God be in control does not mean that we sit around and do nothing, but rather that we act on the promises of God and live them out.

Trusting God means both that we wait on him for guidance and direction – and it also means that we get going in the direction he points us in. Trusting God means waiting on him for direction, and it also means using the minds and gifts that he has given us to head in that direction.

As long as we head in that direction in his strength and not in our own, as long as we continue to trust him along the way and even let him make mid-course corrections, we can be confident that we are trusting him and walking in his power and not our own.

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