Sunday, November 25, 2012

When God Arises

When God arises issues are no longer left to the opinions of individuals. God pronounces sentence or blessing based on the reality of where people and things actually are. That which is of God will be blessed; that which is not of God will be judged. Saul and his house will fall in battle. Eli will drop over dead. The earth will open and swallow Korah and all that are with him. Shemei will face the sword of Benaiah. Alexander the coppersmith will be delivered to Satan to receive his just wages. The plaintiffs, the defendants, and the prosecuting attorneys will all have eloquently stated their cases, but God will arise to judge. All of them will be silenced together as He gives the verdict. The builders will be dwelling in the structures they have built. Then God will arise sending the storm to expose the nature of the building material down to the very foundations to test the building and the builders.

When things become muddy, cloudy, and confused, when the enemy is entrenched and embedded in the fabric of life’s complex situations and seems invulnerable to attempts at dislodgement, when the tares and the wheat grow together and you dare not attempt to pull up tares lest you inadvertently injure and pull up wheat— It is at this time that God will arise. He will come and bring things "to a head" or to harvest. The Day of the Lord brings a ripening---wheat for the barn and for bread, and tares for the fire.

When God arises, He manifests and approves that which is of God and that which pleases Him. He also manifests, exposes, and judges that which is not of God and that which displeases Him. When God arises His enemies will scatter and wickedness will melt before Him. But the righteous will be glad and rejoice exceedingly, for in His presence is fullness of joy to those who love Him.

God may seem silent, but He is never indifferent or "gone." He observes, He is involved, and He will work all things together to the council of His will and purpose. There will come a day when in heaven they will sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
"Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of saints!
Who shall not fear You,
O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy,
For all nations shall come and
worship before you,
For Your judgments have been manifested."     Revelation 15: 3-4

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jesus Is In This Place

It was the summer of 1969. I was 20 years old. My friend Larry Rodeffer and I had just finished our second year of college at ORU and were preaching revivals during the summer in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. On this tour we held a series of meetings for 9 nights in my home community of Longs, South Carolina. We used the Ebenezer Methodist church building. Though thriving and growing now, it was abandoned with no congregation at that time, but in good condition and maintained by a family who who hoped to see church activities revived again someday. Larry and I were granted permission to use the facility for our meetings.

The little church building was filled almost to capacity with about 80 people attending our meetings nightly. The atmosphere was electric, and people came expecting to see the hand of God at work. Larry and I preached the Gospel, sharing the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was raised from the dead as Lord of all. We proclaimed that He had sent the Holy Spirit as His living Presence among us to reveal Himself. “He is here now to save and to heal,” we proclaimed. Great faith arose in the hearts of the people, and the presence of God moved over the congregation.

One Baptist lady, Mrs Bertha, came to the meetings with a very serious back problem. She complained that she was unable to do any gardening or housework because of the affliction. She stood before me praying silently and expecting something from God. I asked Jesus to touch her and laid my hands on her head. She immediately raised both of her arms straight up toward heaven, began to cry with joy, and started dancing. The Lord had instantly touched her and healed her back. She later told me how she went home from that meeting and began the next day doing garden work and house work with no pain.

As I walked into one of the meetings I saw a young man seated and wearing a back brace. He had been in a car accident and had broken his back. As I walked past him, he looked up and said, “I’m expecting God to heal me tonight.” I responded, “If you’re expecting it, you’d just as well get ready for it,” as I walked on up to the platform. When I finished preaching, Ernest came to the front for prayer. When I laid my hands on his head he began to cry saying, “I’m healed! I’m healed!”. He then went outside, removed the back brace, and began bending over and twisting around. He was healed. He went to his doctor in Loris, SC who confirmed the healing.

There were other testimonies of God’s intervention in the lives of people during those meetings. One lady was healed of psoriasis. Another was healed of a tumor. Larry and I were just 20 years old at the time and were moving in a child-like faith. We simply expected God to show up.

Great grace was present to bring forth faith in the people, and we rejoiced to see lives touched and changed. But the greatest joy of those days was the strong sense of the presence of Jesus Christ. It was as if He was physically walking among us. In one of the meetings I turned to see a little six-year old girl standing to the side and softly crying. “Are you okay? What is happening?” I asked. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Jesus is in this place. Jesus is in this place.” He was revealing Himself, even to the children.

I remembered the words of Jesus, “The world will see Me no more, but you will see Me…. And he who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14: 19-21). “

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jesus Touched the Children

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them….And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”  Mark 10: 13-16

Claire was 8 years old. She had two problems that troubled her—an embarrassing problem of bed-wetting and a wart that had been on the bottom of her foot for over a year. She had heard her brother Reuben’s story about the doctor cutting a wart from his foot and she did not want that. She determined in her heart that she would wait for Mahesh Chavda to visit to our church and let him pray for her.
Claire, along with our other children, had come to love and respect Mahesh. They had heard him tell stories of the many healings that had taken place in his ministry around the world. And  we had friends who had experienced healings in his meetings. Therefore, little 8-year old Claire decided that Jesus would heal her when Mahesh came to minister.
She entered the meeting with a child’s faith. She went up for prayer and the Lord touched her. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, the wart disappeared overnight and was completely gone the next morning, and she never wet the bed again.  

Leah was 7 years old. She was trying to go to sleep but began to cry, saying, “Daddy and Mommy, my tummy hurts!”  Laurel and I prayed for her but the pain intensified and she cried even harder. Finally I turned to Laurel and said, “We need to take her to the emergency room.”  Still in tears, Leah yelled out, “No! I don’t want to go to the hospital. Pray for me. Jesus will heal me.”
So Laurel and I laid hands on her stomach, and prayed in Jesus’ name. The pain instantly and completely left. Leah suddenly became very calm and relaxed.
I leaned over and kissed her and said, “Leah, wasn’t that nice of Jesus to touch you and take the pain away?” 
She, with eyes half closed and ready now for sleep, peacefully and quietly said, “Yeah. ‘Cause if He didn’t, He would be in trouble.” I laughed under my breath and marvelled at the simple faith of a child.   

Parents know how frightening it can be when their infant children get the croup. The croup is marked by episodes of harsh, hoarse, and dry coughing accompanied by difficult breathing. Our son Matthew was less than 2 years old and had developed a bad case of it. We were at a Bible Study-prayer meeting at my parents’ home. Matthew began to cough. His face turned red, and his breathing was difficult. My cousin Bootsie said, “You need to take him to the emergency room.” We considered this, but on the way home, faith rose in our hearts. I turned to Laurel and said, “We are going to lay him in his crib and pray over him until he is healed.” Upon entering the house, we laid him in the crib and prayed over him in Jesus’ name. The Lord touched him and he was healed the minute we began to pray. The cough was instantly and completely gone. He lay there quietly consuming his bedtime formula, and fell into a restful sleep for the entire night. When he awoke the next morning he had no symptoms at all. He was healed.

A Neighbor’s Child
 As I was leaving a friend’s house one day, He and I passed his five-year old son playing with some toys on the ground. As we discussed other things, the father showed me some sort of bone growth that was on the back of the child’s head. It was just a little smaller than half a ping-pong ball and had been there for years. The doctors had told him it was nothing to worry about. It would not harm the boy, but was simply unattractive and inconvenient. My friend and I did not focus on the child but continued our conversation.

However, as I talked with my friend, I very casually laid my hand on the back of the child’s head a couple times saying, “Lord, bless him.” Again I said, “I know it’s nothing to worry about, but Lord bless him anyway,” as my friend and I went on with the conversation about other things. Then I drove away feeling guilty that I had not taken time to pray an official and “real” prayer over that child. Instead I had only said “Lord, bless him” in passing as I talked about other things. 

I was surprised a couple days later when my friend called to tell me that the child’s growth had completely disappeared. The Lord had healed it in response to a simple “Bless him” prayer. 

 “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10: 24