Oh how much God cares
Last evening was a great evening for Lori and I. Emily Vandonk and Allen Remley came over to the house to pray for me and to seek a supernatural healing for my body. All of us are fine with however God wants to take care of this thing, whether through surgery and radiation or through supernatural means (which we all prefer). Either way God is in it. I felt rejuvenated, strengthened in body, soul and spirit. Lori and I went to bed and had a pretty solid sleep. I know I slept all the way through until the alarm went off before 6 am. As I awoke, I awoke with the refrain of an old Gospel song, which my Dad translated into French and he and my Mom would sing as a duet in the late 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. It became one of my favorites. Tears trickled down my cheeks.
This morning we did our regular routine of reading/listening to the Scriptures, and in this case if was Colossians 3. We had Holy Eucharist together, we prayed as the Lord led, and then, I played the song on Youtube. Then, I really wept. These tears were those tears of something old and familiar and comforting, and it was timely, not only concerning myself, but also many others who are going through dark days, and many of these people who do not feel the nearness of God or His comfort. The Gospel of Matthew has had many an impact on the lives of people, and probably the most notable would be the life of Francis of Assisi who based his life and ministry on this passage of the Gospel, chapter 6, verses 26-34. I just want to highlight verse 26:
Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
The old Gospel song was written in 1905 and has become a staple in many churches. It was a staple in our home, and at church and camp meetings, and it was a reminder that God cares for the needs of sparrows, and He cares of each of us, no matter the situation we are in.
Today Lori and I have friends who are having difficult days, some it is in their most important relationships and it feels like life is falling apart. For some it is the loss of a loved one to the ravages of cancer. For some others it is right in the middle of the battle with cancer. Others still, they are dealing with the disappointments of an unfulfilled life and the dreariness of facing another day. We all are going through something or other and we do not have to go through it alone. We can rally around our friends and family. We can be there as a support and encouragement. We can make a meal for them. We can spend some time with them. They do not have to face whatever they are facing on their own.
One the ironies of that song is all the memories that it triggered within me, the memories were the good memories of childhood of the 1960’s and 1970’s, before I was a teenager. It brought comfort to me. The lyrics brought comfort to me as it motivated and is motivating me to go inward, into a place of quiet and rest and to be still, in the moment, and just let these memories bring healing to my heart, especially at a time of great testing and challenge like right now, with my health issues. I am thankful. I am happy. Down deep despite the pain and sorrow concerning what has happened and is happening to friends, deep down I have an unspeakable joy, that God is in this moment, not only with me, but with them as well.
Our awareness and focuses changes everything
What I have come to understand is that our true awareness, in the center of our being, when it is relied upon and sought after, our self-awareness will lead us to a place of peace, self-acceptance, serenity and gratitude. One of the things I have been learning over and over has been to embrace each moment for itself, no matter or good, bad or indifferent it may be. I cannot change previous moments, and I cannot embrace future moments. I can only embrace the immediate, that which is before me right now. I want to embrace it fully for what it is, all the emotions, all the nano seconds, all the people, all the colours, all the smells, all the beauty that is around me in that moment. I want to be focused on the people I am with in that moment, how they speak, what they say and don’t say. I want to be fully present in that moment. That moment will never ever come again. What I do with it is up to me, and I want to fully live in the moment and make it count. Our awareness changes everything.
I have come to realize that in these moments God is already there
I believe that our perception and awareness makes our worldview prophetically come alive before our eyes. How a person conceives and perceives determines their reality. I believe this to be true for all people, be they atheists, agnostics, or people of religion or faith. Your perception and awareness determines your world. For the person who sees God everywhere, there is no place, no person, no experience or encounter in which you will not find God manifest in some way. It is the same for the atheist. Where the atheist looks and sees there is no God, then that lens dominates all that the atheist will look upon or perceive.
I have come to understand that God is already present all around and about me. There is no place, and no situation, and no encounter in which God is not already present and at work. I have heard non-believers say the most startling things, and I have God at the moment speak to my spirit and say, “Listen, this is from Me to you. Listen with your heart.” This has happened over and over and over. So much so, that I have become used to God speaking to me directly through these encounters. I have gone to screen a movie, to just go and chill and watch a movie for a two hour distraction, and in the middle of the film, boom! God spoke to me. This recently occurred while watch Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies, the new Cold War film about the spy exchange, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) and Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 pilot who was captured by the Soviets. Abel is facing trial for spying which carries a maximum of a death sentence, and in repeated scenes where the outcome could be worse than anticipated, Donavan (Tom Hanks) the lawyer, confronts his client Abel (Mark Rylance) and asks him is he is worried. Each time Abel responds with “Will worrying change anything?” That was it, God spoke to me in that moment.
Will my worrying change anything that I am facing in my life? Will worrying change anything in your life? No, it won’t. So why worry? Just face what you have to face at the time you have to face it, and God will give you the grace, the strength and the wisdom that you need to face it.
Cast your cares on God
So today, I just cast all my cares on Jesus Christ. I give Him all my anxiety and concern. It is too much of a weight for me to bear. He has offered to take it. So I freely give it to Him. Whatever your are facing, God can deal with it. Nothing surprises Him. He is already in the moment. I ask you to consider giving all you concerns over to to God. Just try. See what happens.
One of the passages of the New Testament that has blessed me throughout my adult life is found in 1 Peter 5 [ESV]
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus stated it plainly how anxiety can become so consuming that it destroys the fabric of our lives. In chapter 6, Jesus exhorts us to be wise and only be concerned for today:
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I am one angry man right now and it will motivate me to action
The Scriptures speak of anger in many ways, one of which is, “Be angry and do not sin.” The Message Bible states it in this way:
26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life
Who and what are you going to put your trust in?
When I look at the ravages and destruction caused by horrible diseases, especially cancer, that run amok in our society, and I really hear the words from our medical specialists, they really do not know what they are doing. It is called medical practice for a reason. It is not a perfected science. It is the work of trial and error and the victims are the patients and their families and loved ones. I knew this when we battled cancer with our daughter Carragh and her fight with A.L.L. Leukemia. Doctors will use “doctor speak” with words like “rare form of cancer” to essentially concede that they do not know what they are dealing with, and they are trying to gather as much knowledge on the thing to determine the best protocol of treatment to follow for people. It is all trial and error and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. These are the facts that stare people fighting cancer in the face. Percentiles of success are used in order to reveal the best options. Language is always couched in a way to give you the information they want you to have and make the best possible choice available from a very non-exact science.
I am not a cynic. I am a realist. I also know God uses both the in-exact medical science establishment and the well intentions of physicians, and we do see some pretty astounding medical successes, but the carnage and the loss of life is too costly. The successes are too few. I am angry. It is war and the devil has already been defeated, and it is time he were put in his place by a Holy Spirit empowered Body of Christ! Time to take the war to the enemy! Time to take back what the enemy has stolen! Time for miracles and signs and wonders! IT IS TIME!
I am very angry
My experience, the last couple of weeks has revealed that down deep inside me, there is a lion roaring to be released and to go on the prowl and pounce on the works of the devil, such as sickness and disease, and by faith see these works destroyed entirely. People should not need life altering radical surgeries of any kind. It is my firm belief that at the root cause of every sickness and disease are demonic spirits that attack and ravage people’s bodies and minds. Yes, there are genetic DNA factors that affect all of us, and give us a higher risk of getting particular illnesses and diseases, and there as well, I believe that the prayers of God’s people and their faith in God and the work of the Spirit of God in and through them, can release healing and restoration, including changing the DNA of the body so that those diseases have no impact on people. Jesus has already won the war, but we need to win each battle, one person and one situation at a time, through the power of the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
I am angry and my anger will lead to action
So, I am choosing to become an active agent of the Kingdom of God. I am going back on “active service” and I am going to take the fight to the enemy. I wallowed about for 18 months disengaged and broken and hurt by people where I allowed the devil to put me out of action. I allowed self-pity to take root and immobilize me and render me out of commission as one of God’s people. I have repented of this action. I have asked the Lord to use me in any and all circumstances to be an agent of grace in this world.
As my friend Brad at River of Life declared over me, “It is time!” Yes, it is! It is time for all of use who are people of faith, committed to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, to operate in Kingdom life and dynamics and live out the Lord’s Prayer in our midst. The prayer boldly says, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. We are to call forth all the virtue and power of Heaven on the earth, and we are to walk in God’s power and grace, and release healing, deliverance, miracles and signs and wonders, including raising the dead, and defeating diseases like cancer. It is time!
Seize every opportunity!
I am going to take every opportunity I can to pray for people and see God set them free! How about you? Wherever you are, wherever you live, if you love Jesus Christ, His power resides in you. Reach out and touch people and call out diseases and afflictions and cast them out and call forth healing and restoration. Be the hands and feet and the mouth of Jesus, full of grace and truth and love, and change the world by changing the circumstances in the lives of people.
As Jesus said:
“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. [MATTHEW 10 THE MESSAGE]