Friday, December 5, 2008

True faith

Note: Read or pass please feel free.

I am cancer free for 2 years now. I do believe that God gave me second chance. I believe in that Christ can heal. I asked to myself many many times that Why me and why other die. I do not know why but I know that knowing myself, not because of I am the special one. I am a person still dealing with anger, impatience and instead of love, I am still showing my fang (I am doing much better though!). I still do have my ugliness, lots of it. I believe that my God has a reason for me. May be I am one of his tools???

I have no authority to judge others. I will never ever think that those who die in cancer or accident were because of their sin. Lots of people believe in Kama but I don't because I have no eyes on other's past life. I am not a ghost or an Angel or a saint capable of seeing someone's past life. I will never believe that someone has cancer or is in bad accident and die because this someone had done a bad something in his/her past life. Sometime I do feel that I want to ask....... How do you know his past life? Are you God ? How dare you? Are you no sin at all?

John 9:1-4 said "And Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, neither had this man sinned nor his parents; But that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

After my cancer I am thinking many many things which is never come a cross in my mind before cancer. One of my thinking is..... I rather get a spanking from God, to straighten me out rather than my God ignoring me. I would be very worried if Christ ignored me.

Like my grand mama used to whack me with stick (by the way many times), think it back I deserved it. I was so naughty but Oh..... How I love my grand mama. I love my grand mama so much! My blood told me and still telling me that my grand ma ma weck me with love not with hate!

I am a believers. I love Christ. Now with my health situation, yes I truly admitted that I am more closer to Christ. I wish I was as close to Christ before my cancer as I am after my cancer.

On one Sunday morning Pastor said " In Bible said when every where Christ was teaching there were more than 5000 people following him. We do not know those followers are simply have faith in Christ or just waiting to get heal because of knowing Christ can heal"

OK....Hope you like the article that I share to you today.

written by craig
December 4, 2008 at 9:04 am

Matt 5:21-43

A Good Story What should we be making of this? Surely a good story, with effective elements included: suspense, dramatic tension as we are yanked from Jairus, made aware of the crush around Jesus preventing him from moving on to heal the innocent 12 year old girl. We might even share the sense of possible frustration that might be hinted at with Jesus when he has to stop and ask who touched him.

The second story then begins to reveal itself; a woman despised, unclean, used perhaps to making herself invisible. Her healing is instant and linked – we are told very clearly - to her faith; ‘If I could just…’ The touch – and are we therefore to assume, the healing - is the first thing that happens between her and Jesus – she grabs hold of his cloak and he heals her, almost involuntarily. The questions come later – his probing of her reasons, which strikes me as possibly a little strange; surely he knew this already? If Jesus is fully God, then why would he need to question who touched him?

We are then pulled back to the original story with the news that all this good stuff has had a negative consequence; the delay has killed the little girl. The finale is set up perfectly; fake, plastic mourners – the sort whose wailing turns to scornful laughter at a moment’s notice – a quietened room, a handful of witnesses and the words of a loving father that breathe life where death has threatened to settle.

A Good One… But Potentially ToxicIt’s a good story. It’s made for TV. And I think it has probably been the cause of pain, distress and abuse. How come?
[32] But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
How great would it be to be alive here today with the sure-fire knowledge that our faith could heal us. How much silence do we need to compile a list in our minds of the things we’d choose have healed, fixed or just touched by the hand of God if we could?

If releasing healing itself it was only a matter of believing that God could do it I’d be waltzing around healing, helping and transforming lives in a way that would make Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother look like a self-cantered slacker. The only problem would be which destination first; the hospice, the African refugee camps or right here, in this town, in this church?
If only it were a matter of believing enough to reach out and grab hold of Christ… wouldn’t our lives look different?

Life’s Not Like ThatWhy is life not like this? Do we lack even the mustard seed amount required to see God work miracles? Is it our fault? Have we messed up? Were there other people in the crowd wanting to be healed, but lacking the courage, belief or conviction to ask Jesus for themselves? Is that who we are – the ones that Jesus walked by? The ones he ignored?
I apologise now for what I’m going to share. I’m not saying it to manipulate or make you feel uncomfortable. I’m saying it because I cannot talk about faith and healing without looking back on a year scarred by grief.

The last time I spoke here I mentioned that things were about to get tough. Here’s what I said:
If the doctors are correct I might well be attending a few funerals over the coming years. My step-father last week was told he has months to live as the cancer he was treated for a couple of years ago has returned to his face and lung. He’s talking about his funeral already, wondering whether family rifts will be patched over for the occasion. His life has been a catalogue of failed relationships and I know that sadly, many of those burying him with be dead themselves. I will be left feeling empty and hollow, wondering how different it would all feel I my step-dad or either of his sons had made the choice to follow, to reach and to take part in the journey with God.

My mother is also talking about her own funeral. Her battle with liver cancer looks as though it has longer to play out than my step-dad’s, but she’s aware that the end is a little closer for her than she thought. “I want my funeral to be a celebration” she says. I don’t know quite how well this will help us grieve, but I get her point: there’s something about having lived a life that followed Jesus that transforms the way we approach the rituals surrounding death. Death, it seems, is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Funerals too, are not the best.
It turns out I was wrong. It wasn’t years, it was months and there weren’t two but three funerals. Four if you count our next door neighbour and six if you count the two frozen guinea pigs we buried on Wednesday.

MothersBoth my and Emma’s mother were women of faith. They had known unbelief and the glorious power of Christ’s redemption. Both found that in the midst of their deepest suffering – when they were young women, younger than I am today – God was there. Faith grew within them as they picked their way out of their own valleys of the shadow of death; for my mother it was the fear of being utterly overwhelmed when first facing life as a single mother. For Emma’s mum it was the grief of losing both her parents within the first few years of her marriage.
Despite the pain that drew them to take their first steps of faith, they both grew to become remarkable women. Women who found that their faith was the fuel to propel them out. They set up and ran charities, dedicated themselves to helping outcasts and underdogs and chased after God with incredible persistence and amazing results. My mum would spend hours sitting and immersing herself in scripture, scribbling notes and messages for others in her bible as certain passages jumped out. Emma’s mum would suck every last molecule of spiritual protein from the books she read, always ready to share her newly acquired knowledge over kitchen table tea.
So these women had faith. The believed that God could do amazing things – and they had the privilege of seeing such things at first hand, and in their own lives.

So, they had faith.
And they had cancer.
So they prayed for healing.
And yet they died.

Why?I know this passage was on my mum’s mind towards the end. For the final year she would chime out the phrase:
‘one touch of the King changes everything’.

Emma’s mum likewise talked about taking pleasure in being in a place where the only chance of a prolonged future was if a divine miracle showed up. ‘Wouldn’t that be great?’ she’d ask. ‘Such a sign of God’s power to confound the sceptics.’

As the realisation of death’s imminence gradually settled on both of them, they struggled. Life – shortening by the week – got hard. Why were they not healed? Was it their fault? Did they lack faith? Why would God choose to take them away so early when there were so many unborn grandchildren yet to be held, so many people yet to help, so much life left unlived. Why, when they reached out again and again, did nothing happen?

Of course, there were other parts of their brain that knew otherwise. They knew that physical healings are rare for us, they knew that God’s ways are above and beyond our understanding, they knew they could trust him, and eventually they knew it was time to go.

But not before their faith had been stripped down, blow-torched, threshed, flailed and flogged. For women who had been living examples of strength, bravery and determination, they were left eerily silent, childlike with their lack of answers to what was going on. Like the bleeding woman in the story, part of them was left face down at Jesus’ feet. Fearful? Perhaps. Confused? At times. Angry? I never heard them say it, but who would blame them? Not God, I suspect. We shield far too often from our anger…

Guilt, anger, disbelief, frustration, disappointment – are these the legacies of our prayers to God? They may not define us completely – I certainly hope not – but are there traces that could be found within us if we looked close enough?
Why Does This Happen?Why is that for every miraculous instance of healing and transformative encounter, there are many, many more where prayers for healing and restoration go unanswered? Why are there so many seemingly unanswered prayers littering our lives like cold-war satellites. Remember that quote at the start? Is that what our life is like; surrounded by the debris of unanswered prayer? Each fragment may not be much more than a spec, but given time and the continued repeats of our faith feeling not quite up to the task, do we end up obscured, bogged down or clogged up?

But the truth that I wonder about is this: it’s not doubt that is the main barrier to divine healing.
It’s God.

If I’m wrong – if it is faith alone that heals us, if it’s just about the quality – or quantity – of our prayers, then we’re into a very weird situation indeed. And God is not a slot machine any more than our prayers are the coins we pile into them.

For some, this is where the talk ends. We just need to acknowledge the disappointment, anger or disbelief that has settled within us since we told ourselves that God let us down.
For others, we might need more – an explanation, perhaps. A reason why. I don’t really know. I know what I’m supposed to say; that God’s ways are not ours, that it’s his grace that heals us, that our faith does matter – it drives us towards God, which matters more than the physical condition we’re in. Maybe we should follow James’ advice and:
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.’

Back To The StoryApparently NT Wright reads his New Testament straight from the Greek. His own translation of the lines “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed” and “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

If I just touch his clothes I will be SAVED
Come and SAVE my daughter.

He writes about what salvation really means – how it includes elements of present, physical things like healing and rescues – not just what happens to us after we die.
So when Jesus heals he’s not just handing out goodies or extra treats for the ones he notices or who should loud enough He’s bringing to the here and now elements of God’s salvation of his people.

When we pray for healing, are we perhaps thinking too small? Should we rather pray for salvation – or more of it? I’m not sure, but I know I want to find out more about that one.
One Last ThingIn a book recently I read something that made me stop. It was the line about how Moses asked God to let him be seen. God declined, saying that it was not possible. However, he’d allow him to see ‘his back’. Is that right? Can God really have a back? If so, does he have a top, a bottom and a front? Surely not – surely he can’t be limited, hemmed in or tailored?
Here’s what the book has to say:

‘The Hebrew word for ‘my back’ is achorai…. The word achor also has a temporal sense. What God seems to be saying to Moses is that you can see ‘my afterward’. You can see just what it’s like after I’ve been here. But if you knew what it was like while I was still there, that would mean you were still hanging on to a little piece of your self-awareness that was telling you it was you who was there. And that would also mean there was a part of your consciousness detached and watching the whole thing and therefore not all of you was there. There are, in other words, simply some things in life that demand such total self absorption that you cannot know it’s you who is there until it’s over. Being in the presence of God is such an experience.’

I don’t know fully why this helps, but it reminds me of something I experienced frequently this year – the sense that I was very, very small, peeking behind the curtain backstage at a grand theatrical production. I don’t know what’s going on or where I fit in, but I’m glimpsing things that I shouldn’t really be seeing.

Death is connected to life. There’s sorrow and loss and loneliness as well, but there’s a sense of being connected to God that is very, very powerful. In a way All this death makes faith easy. It makes life bigger and bolder and the colours and the tastes better than ever. It’s easy to trust God when not trusting him means losing everything. Being so fully in the moment with God is the key.

What’s hard is coming back down to earth. Finding yourself out on the edge of the crowd, a spectator in your own faith, watching- detached – as others get closer but you do not. That’s when it’s tempting to let faith become a formula – the right sort or quantity of prayers being the way to get the result. But like the woman forcing her way forward, ignoring the pain from within her body and the elbows or ankles from the others crushing forward, she existed at that moment for no other reason than to connect with God.

I suppose that’s what true faith is. And surely that is the way to be truly saved.

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