Here’s a guest post from a friend, Melanie Clark. She tells us how God intervened in a special way by healing her eye.
I am thankful that I could see the beauty in the places we went. (During a recent family vacation).
Nearly 8 years ago, I woke up to a red spot in the middle of my vision of my right eye. It got bigger, and everything started turning black. My eye doctor got me in immediately, and took a 3D scan of my eyeball, which showed bleeding into the retina. He immediately was able to get me an emergency appointment with a retinal specialist at Mercy (hospital), and I had hours of testing, an angiogram, all kinds of fun things. They determined macular hemorrhage – a blood vessel in the macula of my eyeball had burst.
While I was there, an older lady was told she was permanently losing her vision, and there was no cure. Her cries were heart-rendering, and I kept getting teary-eyed thinking about the possibility that I would no longer see my kids’ faces. How I cried out to God desperately to let me have sight, so I could watch my kids grow up.
My life group prayed earnestly with us, and God provided the miracle. The bleeding stopped, and the only damage was a slight squiggle in the center of my vision when I am looking at a computer screen.
A year after that, at my annual eye appointment, my doctor told me how lucky I was to have my vision. He told me another patient had the same exact thing, and permanently lost her vision, and the bleeding was starting in the other eye, too. Since then, I have heard of others who also lost vision.
God has not always answered all of my prayers. I have not always seen miracles. But this one is so precious to me. I thank God for my sight, to stare at my kids until they tell me to quit, to see the beauty of creation, and to give glory to God that something that we often take for granted, like being able to see, is something I can rejoice over on a daily basis.
My oldest son, Steve’s first teaching job was at a school for abused children. Leadership told him, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Some of these abused children grow up to be abusers themselves.
Trying to save a drowning person could get you drowned.
We’re often dangerous to others when we are hurting. You men, when your wife is pregnant, agree with her. She’s dangerous. If she says 2 + 2 equals 10, you reply, “I always thought that.”
Don’t tease her about her weight or how she walks. If you do, you deserve what happens to you.
Agree with her. She is right. Always!
Everyone Deals With Hurt
Every one of us has been hurt. No exceptions. How you react to that hurt or brokenness determines a large part of the quality of the life in our heart and between our ears.
I don’t think the goal for those who love Jesus should simply be healing from hurt. We need to live from a place of redeemed brokenness. Are you living out of your pain or God’s work in that pain, redeeming it and changing it into a vessel of blessing?
When you live out of your unhealed hurt there is:
–A constant low-level pain. We can’t forget what happened and it eats at us. We lash out to protect ourselves or to get even. The people we strike at aren’t usually the people who hurt us. Anger!
–Constantly a “limp”, not from a healed wound but a hurting wound. When I was a kid I stepped on a thorn and pulled it out. I thought. The foot remained sore and got infected. Finally mama “operated” and found the head of the thorn still in the foot. When it came out I got well.
–Our vision of the future is colored/compromised by the past and our thoughts are constantly drawn behind us instead of living in the moment and hope of the future. If we’re not careful our hurt becomes our identity and without it we don’t really have a reason for living. It we’ve suffered a great loss, a period of mourning is natural and healthy. But one day we begin to live again. There will always be a scar but scars are healed hurts.
It’s different when God touches you life and you begin to live out of “healed hurt”:
–There is understanding. “I’ve been there. I’ve hurt like that. Still do sometimes.” I can minister by identifying. The word compassion comes from Latin. It means to “suffer with.” A healed hurt gives you the ability to understand and identify with another’s suffering.
–There is power. I believe God’s power that healed us stays with us and we can use it to heal others, especially those who go through what we are going through. I went through a terrible experience when I was a teenager. More than once as a pastor, I’ve listened to people tell me about going through the same experience. I was able to counsel with the word that God gave me and pray with real fervor because I felt their pain. There is connection.
–I think this hurt is parallel to the Cross. Jesus identifies with us because He was there. I felt He spoke to me once from Isaiah 53 and said that when I hurt He felt the very same pain that I feel. He carried our sins, sorrows, afflictions, sicknesses and pains on the cross. Tell Him about yours. He already carried it for you. He knows.
No Excuse For Hurting Others.
Your pain might be the reason you hurt others but there is no excuse for hurting others. Get help. Get healed.
How do you get healed? (Easier said than done, huh?)
–We admit we need healing. Doctors can help those who don’t come to them.
–You come to the Lord Jesus. You let Him redeem your heart and life. He heals, not only from sin but also sickness, doubt, pain. It starts here.
–There is power in the “cross process.” (Eph. 1:19) I’m not against psychology and counseling at all but there is a limit. With the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus working in our life there is no limit to the healing and redemption of our hurts.
–Every day we look into His glory. ( 2 Cor. 3:18). He changes us daily. Sanctification should be in process for everyone of us.
–We use the healing processes He put in place. We find a Christian friend to talk with, a mature Christian to talk with, even a professional to talk with, especially if this counselor is a Christian.
–We become a channel of healing to others. It’s so easy to spend our lives gazing at our belly button. “Poor me.” Do something! Quit griping. Quit waiting for someone to choose you for something great. Choose yourself. Do something! God’s Spirit has already chosen you.
–We get in his Word and prayer. You might respond, “I don’t have time to pray or read the Word.” You know what? I walked 500 miles. That’s the equivalent of walking from Springfield, MO. to Chicago, IL. Did I mention that I didn’t do that in one day? It was usually about 2 ½ miles four or five days per week for a year.
If you read the Bible 10 minutes a day each day of the year you will have spent 60 hours in the Word! 60 hours! Same for prayer. I call it the ten-minute revival. Anyone who doesn’t have 10 minutes (or two times ten minutes) is WAY too busy and will probably soon drop dead from a heart attack.
If we feel it’s important we will do it, won’t we? And if it’s not important, we’ll just surf the Internet some more or binge watch something ignorant.
Let’s get before God, let Him heal our hurts and them let Him redeem those scars so that they are a blessing to others.
“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” A. W. Tozer
“Take FULL responsibility and confess it to God. He promises to forgive sin that we confess (1 John 1: 9)
“STOP doing it Proverbs 28:13 tells us that we find mercy when we CONFESS and also forsake our sin.
“Ask for forgiveness from anyone who has been hurt because of your bad choice.
“Put some protection or limits in your life that will help you not to start again. Get guidance from spiritual people for help, solutions, and accountability.
“Start spending time each day in prayer, reading the Bible, and listening or reading spiritual and biblically sound teachings. “
If we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we are in Christ; we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). God forgives us and He purifies us.
From there, God begins a work of sanctification in us — that is, He sets us apart for Himself. It is a lifelong process. And yes, we are always tempted, but the power to obey the Word of God and resist the devil is there.
Often the Holy Spirit shows us things in our life that are not pleasing to God. So we try to change, but it seems like nothing changes. The more we try on our own, the more we fail. In the end we are like the man described in the Bible who tried to please God on his own but was unsuccessful.
” For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? … “(Romans 7:19, 22-24, ESV)
The solution to this problem? “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)
But, how “by Jesus”?
When we repent of our sins and give ourselves totally to Jesus, believing that He is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, and that He rose again, God is making a change in our life. The potential for change is there. The power to change is there, but we must make take possession of what God offers us.
” You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
“12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.. (Romans 8: 9-14)
In short, in your own strength you are not able to overcome sin, but if you truly give yourself to the Lord Jesus by faith, the strength is there to overcome all kinds the sin. He will help you. He has given you a new spiritual heart.
And if you fall, do not be afraid to repent by asking forgiveness from God. How many times will He forgive you. The number of times needed. (1 John 1: 9–2: 1) “Lord, I pray for my friend. I pray that he will repent of his sin and turn to You with all his heart. The sin in his life is overcome in Jesus’ Name. Our Lord has already conquered sin at the Cross of Calvary. The devil is the father of lies but You, Lord Jesus, You are the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. Thank you Jesus for what You are doing in my friend’s life right now. »
2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 1: 9-2: 1)
When we’re young we often figure we need to get a bit older before we do God’s will. When we’re old we figure it’s too late. We’ve done our part. Let the young people do it.
Someone forgot to tell God about the ‘truth’ of those statements.
Lois Prater felt God’s call to missions when she was 15 years old. She went to Bible college to prepare and was already preaching but then she met this fellow and well, you know the story. He didn’t have the same commitment to the Lord as she did. But, she was going to change him. Yeah.
So, for most of her life she was a stay-at-home mom, still loving the Lord. But missions…?
Then in 1988, her husband died. And those old missionary stirrings began to rumble in her heart. Now, well into her seventies, she went on a short organized missions trip to China, then on two other trips to the Philippines. This last journey lasted a year as she preached in the churches and served where she could.
One day a desperate man came to her and offered to sell his baby for the equivalent of $40. Lois’s heart reacted. She gave the man some money to help feed his family and helped him find a job. But she knew she had to do more.
“Lord, I’m too old to go now,” she thought.
Still, in the Spring of 1991, she went home to Washington state in the U.S. and sold her house, car, and furniture with the idea of building an orphanage in the Philippines. It wasn’t easy. “I struggled, but I knew that what I was trying to do was something much more important than hanging onto [my] faded couch,” Prater said.
By 1994 land had been purchased and a building erected. At the age of 80, she became mama to what was eventually hundreds of Filipino children. She tackled all kinds of administrative problems, cultural problems, and some major health problems before finally turning the now well-established ministry over to another director when she was nearly 90.
Though she returned to the U.S. to live with her daughter she still made periodic visits to the orphanage.
Too old? Well …
Let someone younger do it? No one younger stepped up.
“I didn’t know anything about business, about building an orphanage,” Prater observed. “All along, I’ve just trusted in God, and He’s answered my prayers. I did what I could do, and God did the rest.”
But, how about those who are too young?
Well, David was probably a teenager when he cut Goliath down to size. Jeremiah surely wasn’t ready to speak to the nation at his age. At least, he didn’t think so. God thought so, though.
“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”
But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me. I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’ I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there. I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it. Don’t be afraid of a soul. I’ll be right there, looking after you.” God’s Decree.
God reached out, touched my mouth, and said, “Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered! See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do.” (Jeremiah 1:5-10, Message version)
Old? Young? We serve a God who dwells outside of time. He’s not nearly as concerned about how many candles you will blow out this year as you are.
Two things are necessary: God’s call on our life and the will to move forward in that call by faith. In obedience. In obedience!
Too old? Too young? No education?
Eighty-year-old Moses heard God’s call to deliver His people. You may feel like Him. “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!” (Exodus 4:13, the Message). His buddy Caleb wasn’t so hesitant 45 years later, “Here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day…” (Joshua 14:10-12, NKJV)
When God speaks, He’s not asking your age or your qualifications. He just wants to hear, “Yes, Lord.” He’ll take care of the rest as you go in faith.
Consulted: Herald.net Everett, Washington; Charisma magazine; Christian Science Monitor Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
Someone said that at the age of 20 we have the face that nature gave us. At 50 we have the face we deserve.
Would you permit me to launch into a flight of imagination?
What’s that noise? Hunting dogs? Oh, no!
My heart pounds double time as I race through the forest, the sound of the hounds drawing nearer all the time. Branches slap my face and briars rip my skin but fear propels me forward.
They’re baying right at my heels. I’ll never outrun them so I turn to face my pursuers—two enormous hounds bearing down on me. I brace myself, eyes squeezed shut, waiting for the impact of their attack and the pain on their knife-like teeth.
Well, they stop, raise up on their hind legs, and put their paws on my shoulders. Then they start licking me! Big, sloppy, drooly licks. I look at them and see fondness in their eyes. Wiping off slobbers, I reach to read the nametags hanging on their necks.
The one on the left is called “Goodness” and the “one on the right has a long name: “Mercy and Unfailing Love.”
Hmmm, that’s not what I expected.
You’re Being Pursued
If you love the Lord, did you know that something is chasing you? “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” (Psalms 23:6 NKJV)
The Message version says, “ “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” Here’s another rendering, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” (NLT)
The word translated “follow” is râdaph in Hebrew, the original language of the psalm. According to Strong’s lexicon, some of its various usages are: to run after (usually with hostile intent; figuratively (of time) gone by): – chase, put to flight, follow (after, on), hunt, (be under) persecute (-ion, -or), pursue (-r).
Might we translate it, goodness and mercy hunt me all day?
I spent a lot of my life ducking and hoping God wouldn’t thump me if I got out of line. Look at the rest of Psalm 23. Does this sound like a God who is looking for a chance to whack you?
I’d say He’s sent his “twins”—goodness and mercy—to slurp you with His kindness. Look what He does for you: “No lack, rest, restoration, righteous life, no fear, God’s presence, God’s power for you, provision even when enemies are there, Spirit anointing (the Living Bible sees this head anointed with oil as the way people welcomed guests in that day, “You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!), more than enough, goodness and mercy, eternal life with the Lord.”
Wow! Bring out the towels! His blessings are dripping all over us.
Here’s a song that’s been pursuing me lately:
*Goodness of God
I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never failed me
All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
‘Cause Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
Your goodness is running after, it’s running after me
With my life laid down, I’m surrendered now
I give You everything
Some of us are running from God’s blessings. Those blessings are revitalization “vehicles,” to renew and refill us. Sometimes it is a messenger with God’s purpose for our life we’re running from (Jonah) Often it’s just God wanting to love on us (our kids attract our hugs).
If you’re running from God maybe you ought to stop, turn and look. You might find that God’s goodness, mercy and love, have been trailing you, wanting a chance to show you how much He loves you.