Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 19: Little Faith

Day 19
Theme: Little Faith
Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I watched a documentary once called ‘The Face of God’. This documentary was created by a professor who was skeptical of modern day miracles. He visited many different forms of preachers, and even saw some healings here in America, yet his skepticism remained. It wasn’t until he went to Africa and saw a crippled man healed that he finally believed.

As I watched I found myself in the same boat as the documenter: Do I truly believe that God can do miracles in America? Do I believe that he can heal, and even possibly use me to be the conduit for that healing?

Asif’s leg was broken when a car hit him on a Pakistani street. In the midst of
pain, he felt a hand on his leg. He looked up to hear a woman praying for Jesus to heal him. Asif began to get angry because he was Muslim. Then a strange energy began running through his body. His leg straightened, and the bone came back into place. He eventually walked home from the accident.

Hungry to know more about this “Jesus” who had healed him, he read about Jesus’ other miracles in the Bible that the woman gave him. Asif took his questions to the mulvi (religious leader) at his mosque. “Why are you talking about Jesus?” the mulvi sneered. “How could I not have an interest in him?” Asif asked. “He healed me.”
The mulvi and others at the mosque locked Asif in a room and forced him to drink poison, thinking that if he died before accepting Christ, he would still make it to paradise. However, Asif woke up and called out to Jesus.

Suddenly a bright light filled the dusty room. Asif pledged, “This life is for you. As long as I am on earth, I will work for you.”

Since this time, Asif’s family has disowned him, and he has been beaten repeatedly because he refuses to stop telling people about his new friend Jesus Christ.
(From a Persecuted Church Blog)

Sometimes we have to experience God’s power before we’ll believe it. In fact, many nonbelievers would rather debate religion from a distance than have to deal with a personal spiritual encounter. No one can dispute personal experience. The individual is the sole expert on the issue. To encounter God is to experience his power and feel his presence. The Bible provides many examples of nonbelievers who encountered God’s power. Some responded with worship. Others resisted his power and suffered the consequences. Either way, a person is never the same after an experience with God. It is as if God is saying to a decidedly doubtful heart, “I am real. Deal with it.” How has God shown you that he is real? With whom can you share your experience?

My Missions Experience, Sarah Binkele

Growing up I read the stories of Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichel, these were my heroes. At thirteen I begged my parents to spend a summer doing missions. They felt I was too young and said no. Throughout high school and college I thought that my life would end up over seas. But that did not happen and and before I knew it seventeen years had past from that initial desire to go.

In 2008 our church planned to take a group to continue work that our pastor had already been doing in Uganda. He works with College of Prayer. An organization that does prayer and leadership training around the world. I knew that this was it, my time to go. But with my husband in seminary and two small children it did not make sense, especially financially. But with my husband’s encouragement I committed to the trip. Just a few weeks before the trip I still needed a large portion of the funds. A friend walked into my office and handed me a check, it was the exact amount that was still needed. Then at our last meeting there was a sum given that we should bring for the visa and spending money. I prayed for the money for the visa. From a source that knew nothing about my trip. I was given was a check for the exact amount that was suggested not just for the visa but for spending money as well.

Going to Gulu, Uganda caused more than a little anxiety. Having heard all about the child soldiers and the invisible children I was not sure what to expect. I was full of anticipation and expectation. Aside from the obvious cross cultural adjustment what did I have to offer?

On the tiny plane (one seat per aisle) that took us to Gulu I looked out the window at the green landscape not that far below and the Lord did a work in my heart. He took away my fear of death.

The trip was not all easy, but I didn’t care I had waited for so long I knew that there would be difficulties. I was physically sick for much of the trip. Although thankfully this did not keep me from any of the experiences, whenever it was time to do ministry I was fine.

There was so much that happened in those two weeks that has changed both my perspective and life. But in thinking about it one situation stands out. It was during the first session that I got to pray with the Ugandan women. One of the first women in my line sat down and asked that I pray for her that her chest pain would go away. I asked her when it began and she told me that it began when her son was murdered. I sat back feeling the breath go out of me, how was I supposed to pray for her? What did I have to offer? Then, I clearly heard the Lord say: Ask her if she has forgiven the murderers. What, are you kidding, there is no way I am going to ask that. As I sat there for several minutes unwilling to do this I am sure that the woman thought I was crazy, why didn’t I just pray for her chest pain. Finally after a very long argument, with the One who knew this woman and what He wanted to do for her, I asked her. “Have you forgiven your child’s murderer?” She said no. There, I did what you said Lord. Tell her that her pain will not go away until she does. Ok that is not what I want to do, I don’t know if I would be willing to do that if I were her. But I asked. Yes she said and I was was given the gift of walking this woman through a prayer of forgiveness and repentance. When she looked up her face had changed. She looked like a different person. I forgot to ask her if her chest pain had gone away. But that didn’t matter anymore. The source of her pain was what the Lord wanted to heal.

From this I learned that it does not matter what I have to offer. People’s pain will be much to big for me. I need to sit back, ask and take the time to listen to what it is the Lord wants to say to them. It took seventeen years from the time that I first desired to go on a missions trip for me to actually go. But the wait made the experience so much better because I was ready and was able to learn that it was not about me, but about what He wanted to do. When it is God’s time he will give us the desires of our hearts and provide in ways we can’t even begin to dream up.

So here is the question: Do you believe that God can heal? Can he use you to be the catalyst of emotional, spiritual or even physical healing?

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