And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
This week I watched an inspiring video about a pastor’s fight for survival after receiving six gunshots wounds. Pastor Tim was walking to his car in the church parking lot when witnesses heard multiple gunshots. He was hit from behind in his shoulder, hip and head. When they got him to the hospital, his wife met him there. As he struggled to breathe he admitted that he did not know what had happened and was told by his wife that he had been shot.
Over the next three months, he would go through a variety of surgeries – one, to stop the bleeding in his pelvis which could cause him to bleed to death and another to fix a hole in his colon - previously unnoticed by doctors - caused by one of the bullets, . Yet, through it all, his wife admitted that she felt at peace and knew that it was Jesus who gave her that peace. She did not even believe that her husband would die.
Two days after the incident, the shooter was arrested when he threw some papers over the White House fence accusing Pastor Tim of being the head of an alien conspiracy. Their church family, as well as their entire town, chose not to send out a cry for justice. Instead they kept a prayer vigil for the pastor and the shooter which sent a message of love and forgiveness. Pastor Tim forgave the shooter and encouraged others to do the same. Even as the shooter serves time in jail for his crime, Pastor Tim writes to him often offering forgiveness and the message of salvation. When he announced that he held no animosity against his shooter, Pastor Tim admitted that it seemed to bring healing to many. He received letters from people who were praying for him as well as those, locally and around the world, who were getting saved because of what God was doing in his life.
As I listened to this testimony, a few thoughts came to mind. One, he was shot from behind. How like the devil to attack us “from behind” where you don’t see the attack coming and so can’t defend yourself? Yet, our God sees and knows and fights on our behalf. In short, even though an attack catches us off guard, nothing that happens to us catches God off guard. On top of all that, when the enemy thinks that he has gotten us and we are down, God simply springs into action to bring the healing and deliverance that was always there at our disposal. God never leaves us uncovered or unprotected!
Secondly, it was noted that none of his vital organs had been hit. As one doctor put it, each time the shooter shot him, the bullet hit a big bone that acted like a shield to protect his vital organs. The thought that comes to my mind here is this: God was even directing where each bullet went! When you belong to God, you are covered! God will even direct the enemy’s attacks against you so that it works out for your good instead of for evil. Only God...!!!
Thirdly, the devil attempted to destroy one man who was clearly a threat to him. However, he failed. Instead of getting the desired result, this entire ordeal turned into an opportunity for many people locally and around the world to get saved and receive healing simply because the pastor publicly chose to forgive his assailant and encourage his church and town to do the same. How like God to take what the enemy meant for evil and use it for good to save many lives. The same is true of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. Yet, their act turned out to be an opportunity for God to save and provide for them when the world went through a famine many years later. Joseph chose to forgive them and provide a safe place for them and his entire family in Egypt where they would not suffer because of the famine (Genesis: 45 and 46). As Joseph put it: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
God is in control and once your life is surrendered to Him, He will take care of every aspect of it if you will just let Him. He knows what you need, He knows how to cover and protect you, He knows how to provide healing and deliverance when needed. He is our all in all.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as personal Lord and Savior, I encourage you to make that step now. Sometimes, life is going to hit you with unexpected attacks and challenges, but God is well able not only to bring good out of it for you but for many others as well. With God, there is always a bigger picture.
Pushing past the fear, fighting to believe
He is making waves for me
He won’t let me down, never ever leave
He’s still making ways for me
(Excerpt from “God Will Work It Out” by Maverick City Music)
God is working! Many times, that seems so hard to believe because you are not seeing anything happening, nothing seems to have changed, yet ... God is working!
I have chosen not to move from the song “God Will Work It Out” by Maverick City Music. The second set of verses begins with a reality we all face at some time or another – FEAR. I imagine that the woman with the issue of blood for twelve years faced fear (Luke 9:43-48). According to Jewish law, her blood discharge made her unclean and anything she touched as well as anyone who touched her was considered unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27). Therefore, she was not exactly someone anyone wanted to be around. Yet, she heard Jesus was coming. She had also heard about His reputation, the fact that He had healed the sick and was delivering those bound by demonic spirits. So, of course, she wanted the chance to see what He could do for her.
But, she faced a problem – she was unclean and could not and should not be out and about in public for fear of making anyone else unclean. Although the Bible doesn’t say it, I imagine she left home sufficiently covered so that no one would recognize her. Then, she faced another challenge – there would be crowds of people thronging Jesus making it difficult for her to reach Him. Let’s face it, this woman faced various challenges that could have easily made her decide to not even bother to try. Yet, she did. She made her way to him. In my mind, I see her pushing past the fear of rejection by the people, pushing past the fear of rejection by Jesus Himself. After all, she had battled with this problem for twelve years! Could He possibly really help her? What if she made Him unclean as well? The Bible doesn’t say so but, in my mind, I see a woman fighting the fear of rejection, fighting the fear that maybe she would not be able to reach Him through the thick crowd to get help, that maybe she would not even be healed ... Yet, she pushed past all of those fears. All she wanted was just one touch, not of Him, but of His clothes and she probably hoped and prayed that that would be sufficient. She did not approach Him from in front where she could possibly speak with Him and ask for His help but from behind, where He would never know, where no one would ever know. That was her plan ... but God had a greater one.
Jesus asked the question: “Who touched me?” It was a strange question to ask knowing that so many people were touching Him. But, Jesus wasn’t trying to embarrass her. God knew what she had been through, what she had to push past just to reach out to Him. She received her physical healing, but I believe Jesus may have also been trying to restore her socially, emotionally, psychologically. She was getting healing all round – in her body, in her mind, in her emotions, among her friends and neighbours. You see, she was His child. He wasn’t going to let her down when she needed Him, He was not going to abandon her in her situation either. God was interested in doing a complete work in her! She probably wasn’t anyone special. We don’t know her name or her background, we just know her as the woman with the issue of blood. But, God knew her. He knew her name, her background, her heart.
And, it’s the same with us. We may not be significant in anyone else’s eyes, but in God’s eyes we are special, we are worth the effort and the trouble. After all, Jesus came all the way to earth, exchanged His heavenly, glorious body for our debase earthly one and then on top of all of that, chose to die in our stead so that we would not have to face the punishment we deserve because of sin.
God will never ever leave you, He will never ever let you down. Sometimes, things don’t always work out the way we would like, but it’s only because God has something so much better for us. I don’t know what you are going through right now. Maybe, your situation is similar to the woman with the issue of blood. Maybe, you are dealing with the fear of rejection, the fear of never ever being able to be free from your situation. I am sure the woman faced the same fear, after all, twelve years is a long time and some of you have been going through your situation for so much more. But, I want to encourage someone today, no matter how long it takes, no matter how hopeless it seems, God is working. He will work it out for you. It’s really about trust, trusting that God will not leave you where you are, trusting that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard, it’s discouraging... But, that woman, when she saw the opportunity, pushed past every fear that might have been trying to hold her back from getting her healing. Jesus was her opportunity and she held on to the hope that He would do what no one else had been able to do for her for twelve long years!
Jesus is your opportunity. It may be taking a long time but just know, He IS working, He will never leave you, abandon you or give up on you. He is making a way for you even though you can’t see it. So, if you can’t remember anything else just remember this one thing – God is working! He has not taken a break, He is not off on vacation. God. Is. Working. He WILL work it out!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I truly encourage you to do so now. God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). He has promised never to leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5b). He has promised to hold your right hand and help you (Isaiah 41:13). God is working! God will work it out!
Before I knew my name, before I drew a breath, He was making ways for me.
Now and every day, in each and every step,
He is making ways for me.
When my heart is full of doubt, feels like faith is running out.
I’ve come too far to turn around, I know.
(excerpt from "God Will Work it Out" by
Maverick City Music) For a few days this song was playing over and over in my mind. I knew that God was speaking because it’s one of the ways that He speaks to me ... through songs. But, I am looking at the verses and the very first verse reminds me of Psalm 139 - which I shared on recently - verse 16. It is a reminder to me that before I was even aware of my own existence, before I was even born, God was setting things up, putting things in place for my arrival. That sounds like God. God doesn’t do things any old how. He is organized, He has a plan for everything and everyone, even when we don’t have a plan for ourselves. Isn’t it interesting that by the time a problem comes our way, God already has the answer to it? We are the ones who worry and stress because we can’t see the way out, we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But, God does and God can. The problem isn’t God, it’s us. Just because we can’t see the solution, just because it looks impossible doesn’t mean that it is, it just means that we can’t see it. That’s where faith comes in. It’s not based on sight, on what we can see, on what we can figure out, on what seems logical to us, or even on what we know. Instead, it’s based on WHO we know and once we give it to HIM, He is quite capable of working it out.
If the God who created us and who knows our days even before they come, can’t solve our problem, our situation, our trial then something’s wrong! Think about it. The God who created us and who knows what is going to happen even before it does (nothing catches God off guard!), has the answer and He will work it out. It’s about our trust in Him. We need to go to Him with expectation and anticipation of what He is going to do. We may not always be able to tell Him how to do it - like we love to do so many times – but we can trust that He will accomplish it the best way for us. I think about the many sick people who came to Jesus for healing. They came to Him with expectation, they expected Him to heal, they expected Him to do something good for them or for their loved one. The woman with the issue of blood did not crawl to Jesus through a thick crowd, desperately hoping to simply touch the edge of his clothes just so that she could feel His clothes. She was expecting something from Him even if she had to secretly crawl to Him to get it (Matthew 9:20-22)! How desperate are we?!!
The second part of that verse in the song speaks of dwindling faith yet realising that you’ve come too far to turn back and that you may as well keep trusting, keep believing because you know that you know that God will do something!
I have reached the point in my life where it’s God or nothing. I realize that only God can get me through those really tough and trying situations, those situations where other people may say “Give up!” yet, once God hasn’t said it I am staying put until He completes the job! It’s actually a beautiful place to be, resting in God. I actually feel the stress melting away, the burdens lifted as I simply say “God I can’t but You can.” This is the point we all have to reach. This is the point I believe God wants us to reach. He still wants all the glory for Himself because if we could do it, pride would step in and we would fall. But, when He does it, it’s well done and He gets the glory.
If you have not invited Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Saviour and Lord, I encourage you to do so now. Life is filled with too many challenges and stress but God has the answer to every problem and knows exactly how to lead us safely through every trial. We can’t but God can!!!
God loves you! No matter what you are going through, no matter what is coming your way, no matter how much you have fallen short, and we all have, this truth remains: GOD LOVES YOU!
Psalm 139 comes to my mind when I ponder this truth. It’s a psalm of David and it speaks about the reality that God knows us inside out. There is nothing about us that is hidden from God: “You have searched me Lord and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4 NIV).
God is so intimately in tune with us that He knows our movements and actions before we even do them; He knows our thoughts and He knows what we are going to say before we even say it. Yet, think about it: He even knows the negative things we are about to say or do and even those things can’t and don’t stop Him from loving us! We may feel disappointed in ourselves when we fail in thought, word or deed, but our God isn’t. He knows what we are going to do or say before we do it, yet, He loves us anyway. Think about this truth: we may like someone when we only see and hear good things about them. As soon as we see or hear something negative and, depending on what it is, if we are honest, we may become turned off, we start feeling uncomfortable around them, or we plain just don’t want to have anything to do with them anymore. Thank God our God is not like that! He already knows that our “heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked...” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV) and yet He still chooses to love us anyway! Only God...!!!
In verses 13 and 15 (NIV) the psalmist talks about the fact that we are each intricately created by God: “For you created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” God didn’t just throw arms and legs, a head and a body together, He put thought into each creation, into each of His designs. Our God is so creative and so amazing that He has been able to create billions of human beings over many years each with their own unique features, look, personality and temperament. I see a God who lovingly created me, who lovingly created you. As verse 14 says: “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Whatever God creates is good, a reflection of His love for us. We are the ones who mess things up yet, even though we may change, our God’s love for us doesn’t.
The verse that really grabs my attention, however, and that prompted this post is verse 17: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me O God! How great is the sum of them!” I see here a God who takes an intimate interest in His creation. He takes delight in you, He takes delight in me. He delights in us and thinks thoughts that speak of His great love for us. He wants us to be happy, He wants us to prosper, He wants us to make it through difficult times, He wants the very best for us. Think about it. He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die for us and pay the price for our sins so that we would not have to. I can’t think of a greater act of love! Sacrificing His best, giving up His best, so that we would not have to suffer the consequences of our own foolish actions. If that is not love in action, I don’t know what is!
I don’t see psalm 139 as simply God’s perfect and intricate knowledge of man, as some might put it. I see it as a reflection of God’s love for us. He took time and care to create and devise every tiny detail of our makeup and that shows His love for us. He knows us inside out – the good, the bad, the ugly - and yet, He still loves us. When He thinks about us, I don’t believe He focuses on the negative the way we might. His love pushes past all of that and chooses to see the potential, His very purpose ingrained in us.
Yes, God loves you, all of you. He doesn’t like the sin, He doesn’t like the negative in your life but He loves you! So, the next time the devil tries to make you feel less than or not good enough, just remember that if God took the time and effort to create you and to think beautiful thoughts about you even though you are not perfect, then it means that in God’s eyes, you are worth the effort, you are precious ... HE LOVES YOU!!!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. The last I checked, God is not in the habit of making junk. To Him you are beautiful and He has a perfect, wonderful and amazing plan and purpose for your life. Don’t take my word for it, try Him for yourself!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.