And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
While at work thirty miles away, Gary received a frantic call from his wife, Robin. She was experiencing an intense headache and felt like she was having a stroke. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance where she was then flown by helicopter to another hospital where she underwent immediate surgery.
Gary quickly drove to the hospital praying all the way. He found out that his wife suffered a brain bleed and according to her doctor, seventy-one percent of people don’t survive what she was going through. After the surgery, she was put on life support and Gary sent out requests for prayer to friends and family. Someone from his church sent him a text which stated that this was not unto death but to the glory of God. He held tightly to that word while Robin had her good days and her bad days.
One day, as Gary pulled into his driveway after a visit to the hospital, he heard in his spirit the words: “Whose report are you gonna believe?” Out loud he responded: “I choose to believe Your Word!” The next day when he visited her, Robin was showing signs of improvement. Both Gary and the doctor agreed that she was looking better. As if in agreement with them, Robin threw her right arm up over her head! Her improvement continued over the next three months. Today she is fully recovered with no serious side effects and is even back out to work much to the amazement of her doctor.
What truly catches my attention is the Lord asking Gary whose report he was going to believe, to which Gary responded without hesitation that he chose to believe His Word. Gary remembered the Word from the Lord and expected nothing less than what God had told him would to come to pass. So, in spite of doctors cautioning him not to get too hopeful, he held on to his hope in God’s direct Word to him.
I really believe that God’s Word is powerful. I believe that it cannot return to Him empty. In other words, as I like to tell God, His Word must return to Him saying: “Mission accomplished!” It cannot return to Him without fulfilling the task He sent it to fulfil. Gary knew his wife would not die because he believed that God had told him so. Even though the doctors' words were discouraging, he chose to hold on to God’s Word not theirs.
Again, it’s a faith thing. You either believe God or you don’t. The key thing is knowing what He has said to you. I have learned to delve into His Word myself and allow Him to guide me to the scriptures suited to my situation. It is not easy holding on to His Word when there are voices around you telling you otherwise.
Psalm 119:105 says: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” God’s Word is there to guide us, to light up our path showing us the way we should go. It may not always be easy especially when you may only see directly in front of you and not further ahead. Yet, it’s also about trusting God to give you only so much guidance as needed, as He takes you through that situation. God wants us to trust Him every step of the way. I think that’s why He doesn’t give us the whole picture all at once. Gary could not see the end of this situation, neither could his wife. They both had to trust that, step by step, God would lead them to a safe destination.
At times I am asked about knowing God’s voice. I think that as God’s children, we know His voice. The problem is we may not always like what His voice is saying to us. Yet, at the end of the day, God will lead us to a safe and desirable destination and we will be able to look back and say: “Look what the Lord has done!”
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God desires relationship with us, the kind of relationship where we know His voice and trust His Word to us especially in challenging situations. He will never lead us astray and will always be there to help us safely navigate every difficult path we face on the way to His desired purpose for us.
Cristina, an athlete and professional body-builder, was forced to deliver her baby by emergency C-section due to dangerously high blood pressure. She had been diagnosed with preeclampsia and doctors expected her blood pressure to stabilise after the baby was born. This did not happen. Instead, days after delivering her baby, she suffered a stroke and started to bleed. The doctors were able to stop the bleeding but told her that she could possibly die. If she did live, her mobility would be limited.
As the days passed, mobility proved difficult and she relied on her faith and prayer to help her through. She refused to accept what she had been told and prayed that God would bring her blood pressure down enough so that she could go outside. Her family, friends and church supported her in prayer and within a week her blood pressure went down and she was discharged from the hospital. Her blood pressure, however, remained elevated and caused fainting spells, dizziness, blurred vision and headaches. The doctors had very little hope for her recovery.
She desperately wanted to be the person and mother she desired to be and knew that with God’s help she could do it. She drew her strength from God and His Word. She changed her diet and started working out again. She improved slowly finally regaining her mobility and coming off her medication. It was not easy but she admits that prayer is what got her through. It took her four years to find complete healing. She is now able to enjoy motherhood and is back to competitive bodybuilding where she has won several awards. She is still off all medications and her blood pressure remains normal.
One of the things about Cristina that caught my attention, is the fact that she refused to accept or receive the negative news from doctors. She refused to accept her condition and chose not to simply lie down and die in it. She partnered with God and leaned heavily on prayer and on His strength to see her through. Yes, she struggled with her mobility and with the negative effects of high blood pressure. She was discouraged I am sure, with the negative reports from doctors, yet, she chose not to give up, she chose to keep going. I believe she simply chose to live and to live the best life God had for her. This meant that her focus was on what God could do not on the little she or the doctors could do.
I am reminded of the story of the two blind men sitting at the side of the road (Matthew 20:29-34). When they heard that Jesus was coming they shouted to get His attention. The crowd told them to be quiet but they cried out even more loudly. They too made up their minds that they were not going to remain in their condition. The answer to their healing was coming their way and they were not going to miss the opportunity to be healed by Him! The negative voices did not stop them. Their inability to see Jesus for themselves did not stop them. They heard that He was coming and their focus was on what they knew He could do for them.
As I said last week, the faith walk is not an easy one. It can be easier to trust what we can see but it is certainly not more rewarding. God desires that we live an abundant life in Christ. No, it does not mean a perfect life and it certainly does not mean a life free from sickness, disease, pain or disappointment. But, when we choose to partner with God, we can live the best life He has for us. We can have the confidence that God will always have our back and give us the strength we need to make it through tough times and seasons.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God does not want us to live a limited life. He wants us to enjoy the best he has for us. And, with Him in it, all the strength, support, love and joy we need will sustain and keep us no matter what comes our way.
Recently, I was encouraged by the testimony of Barbara, who battled with a painful infection in her foot. It turned out to be a severe bone infection and some months after her initial doctor’s visit, she was told she would have to amputate her foot to possibly save her life. Although her faith was strong, at times she felt discouraged. At these times God used various people including her husband to encourage her. She even heard and received a word of knowledge on her healing. The healing, however, was not immediate yet she leaned on her faith in God believing that He would do what He promised. She believed that God would heal her in His time. At one time, when it seemed like the infection was going away another infection arose. It was very discouraging, yet, she felt God encouraging her to walk by faith not by sight.
During her fourth MRI, she remembers having a peace and feeling a river of life, hope, love, healing flowing from the top of her head to the sole of her feet. She believed God had done something, God had shown up. A few days later, when her doctor looked at her MRI he found no signs of a bone infection. In fact, he had to use the previous MRI to locate where the wound had been on her foot. Today Barbara is in excellent health and is thankful for the doctors, medicine and prayers that contributed to her healing. Thanks to this experience she has grown closer to God and has learned to walk by faith not by sight. She encourages us to believe in God’s perfect timing even when we don’t see the results of our healing.
I am encouraged by Barbara’s tenacious faith in God. Even when things were not going as she wanted, and in fact they got worse, she chose to hold on to God’s promise of healing. We love to hear about God’s promises but admittedly, when they are not manifesting as quickly as we would like, it can be easy for our faith to waver. We may even find ourselves turning away from God as desperation sets in and we seek other means of healing or deliverance.
I am reminded of the story of the Syrophenician woman who insisted that Jesus cast a demon out of her daughter (Mark 7:25-30). The Lord’s response may have seemed cold as He in turn responded that He must first help His own people, the Jews: “But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled for it is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it unto the dogs” (v. 27). Her response was even more amazing: “And she answered and said unto Him, Yes Lord, yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (v. 28). She absolutely refused to give up even though the Lord of the universe had just turned down her request! She believed in what Jesus could do for her daughter and she held on to that and refused to take no for an answer. Jesus, moved by her determination and faith, did as she requested and when she returned home her daughter was delivered.
Sometimes, we have to have tenacious faith. Even though things are not going the way we expect, even though things may be getting worse, once we know that we know that God has spoken, we need to hold on to His promise and trust that in His perfect timing He will bring it to pass.
I am also reminded of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-38. The prophet Elisha had promised she would give birth to a son. It happened as he had promised. However, one day the child died. Although she held a dead child in her arms and she was distressed, she consistently told everyone who asked that it was well. She earnestly sought the prophet who prayed for him and he was restored to life. She had been promised a son and refused to accept his death. She chose to walk by faith not by sight!
The faith walk is not an easy one. The good thing is you don’t have to do it alone. God is right there on that journey with you and He is the One to bring His promise to pass. It’s about trusting His timing and expecting Him to keep His Word.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God is still the God who is able to do the impossible and He keeps His promises. He is well able to make His own Word a reality in His own perfect timing. Just trust Him.
A few minutes after working out at the gym, Pastor Mark collapsed and died. When his son arrived paramedics were attempting to revive him. On the way to the hospital, he flatlined twice. In the ICU, they were able to revive him but there was little they could do.
He was airlifted to another hospital where he could receive further care. He was put in a medically induced coma and his family told that he might not wake up. The next day was his birthday and he was barely clinging to life. As his family cried out to God, his wife felt the Holy Spirit tell her to just stand. She knew that she could stand on who God was and that He was Healer, He was in control. She did not even have to worry about the words to speak in prayer, she could simply stand. This set the tone for their belief in Pastor Mark’s healing. Family and church members prayed earnestly for his healing.
Miraculously, about 72 hours after the heart attack, the doctor called his name and he woke up. It was like a Lazarus moment that gave them hope that he was going to make it. That Sunday he was able to watch church online and encourage the members on his progress. Later that day they received the news that he had no signs of brain damage or residual damage to his heart and they expected a full recovery. He was soon back in church sharing his testimony and is now back in the gym. He believes that God is not finished with him and that He has given him a second chance.
The main thing that stands out for me in this testimony is the fact that God told Pastor Mark’s wife to simply stand. The word stand can mean: to maintain one’s position; to remain firm in the face of… It could also mean to depend on. I think all three apply here. She had to choose to stand not on her own strength or ability but on God’s.
We too have to do the same. It’s about trusting God, standing on His Word and promises especially in the face of negative situations. It can be so easy to submit to the negative we see or hear and to allow that to dictate our faith and our actions. Standing may also mean not always knowing all the details but trusting that the God who knows it all will work it all out for our good.
I love the fact that at the end of the day, Pastor Mark believes firmly that God is not finished with him. Sometimes our battle, our challenge, may lead us to believe that it’s over. The reality is that just because the problem is too big for us to handle does not mean that it’s too big for God or that it's the end. There are too many lessons God may want us to learn in that season. It may seem like the end but it’s not. God is still working, He is still fighting, He is still shifting things around and putting things in place to bring about His desired end.
It is so important to know and listen to God’s voice in those trying seasons because whatever God tell us is what will indeed stand. Every other negative word will fail but God and His Word will stand! I have proven and continue to prove this truth. Whatever God told me in challenging situations came to pass. This was how God built my faith, trust and confidence in Him.
Today, I just want to remind you to stand. You may feel like giving up, you may feel like giving in, but make that choice to stand. Don’t stand on what your eyes may see but on who God is and on His Word. God is able and He never fails. He stands by His Word and always brings it to pass. He is not finished with you. This trial is not a full stop. It’s not the end of your story. God is still writing your story. There may be more chapters to complete. There may even be more books to write but God is still the author and He decides.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. God has a beautiful plan and purpose for your life. It’s not over. He’s not finished with you. Just trust who He is and what He is able to do. He won’t fail you.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.