Thursday, May 26, 2005


Good day to you and thank you for visiting my blog...I do receive many emails/articles...thot i would blog some of them, those i think may be of wider interest to you...i may at times add my comments..

the article below caught my attention, as this week, i witnessed the passing away of a sister in Christ...she was diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago, and chose to only rely on divine healing, deciding after a deliberate process of consideration with her husband not to seek any medical her case, the good Lord has chosen not to divinely heal her but to bring her home...her husband shared at her wake last night that an hour before she was due to go, a visiting pastor by her bedside saw a vision of Jesus and revealed to the pastor (and i think, she also) that He has come to bring her home in an hour...they had one final hour of prayer and worship together, and she went when the hour was up...i know some among her friends and spiritual leaders wondered whether this decision of hers was wise or mere foolishness, as it is commonly known that such early detection of breast cancer has a very good chance of cure and survival...humanly speaking, it would seemed so, but who is to say really whether this course of events is good or bad...Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of those who loved Him...we may not understand fully all the whys...i am sure this sister and her husband must have weighed their options carefully and the hope that God will heal her in a miracle...but this was not to be...Jesus came instead to bring her home...leaving her husband and her four sons to continue here...i pray that her example of faith, courage and strength in the face of possible death will inspire them to greater faith and to live their remaining lives in faithfulness to the God that this sister has sought to honour and glorify. May God bless them and you as you reflect on this. Be edify.
Pastor Paddy
I keep meeting people who are exhausted with waiting for God to move. I have tasted that exhaustion myself, as a pastor for 10 years. Sometimes God was moving in the church and I couldn't enjoy what he was doing because I was expecting him to do something else. Sometimes when God worked, it didn't feel like a move of the Spirit. Sometimes when God spoke, we locked ourselves into an imagination of how the word would come to pass -- and then God did things differently.


In II Kings 5, we find the story of a miracle that was almost aborted because of false expectations. You remember the story of Naaman the leper, a successful and accomplished military leader in Aram. Naaman's wife had a Hebrew servant who said Naaman could find healing if he would turn to the God of Israel. Naaman went to the king of Aram, who sent him to the king of Israel for healing. The king of Israel knew he could do nothing for Naaman, but the prophet Elisha sent this message: "Send Naaman to me."

Naaman arrived at Elisha's door with a great retinue of horses and chariots. Elisha sent a servant to say, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."


Naaman was mad as a hornet. "I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not the Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" He went away in a rage.

Have you ever felt Naaman's rage? We imagine how God is going to move, and then he does things differently. If he tells us to go here, we'd rather go there. If we expect the man of God to lift his hands over us and speak a great prayer, God sends an unanointed flunky with a word we don't like. If we expect to be received with dignity, God meets us in such a lowdown way that we have to humble ourselves to meet him.


You know how Naaman's story ends. After he had ripped and snorted for a while, he wore down and someone had the nerve to try to reason with him. If God had required him to do something great, would he have done it? Naaman said yes. Then since God had required him to do a small thing, mightn't it be worthwhile to give it a try? Again, Naaman said yes. He dipped seven times in the Jordan, and came up healed.


Faith and expectancy work together. Naaman expected to be healed. But if he had not overcome a false expectation about how God would heal him, he would have missed his miracle.

False expectations often involve a mental picture, a scene we imagine vividly. Naaman had played an imaginary video of how God would heal him. What mental pictures do you have of how God will move? What will a prophet look like


These pictures may or may not be realistic. It's not wrong to have mental pictures of what we expect God to do, but it's vital that we not bind God to the pictures. The prophet may be better dressed than you are, with a word of grace and restoration. The revival may occur in a nursing home, not in the church; revival may cause the preaching to be more anointed than ever; revival may cause the opponents not to drop dead but to drop out and go home Here is a simple test to help you discern whether your mental pictures are a true or a false expectation. If your mental pictures are helping you find God, they are probably pictures God has given you by revelation. But if your mental pictures are frustrating you and leaving you with the feeling that you never quite seem to meet God, put your mental pictures on the back burner and choose a lower, less dazzling route.


The trouble with the beatitudes is that they don't look fulfilling. Who wants to be poor in spirit? Who wants to mourn? Meekness doesn't look so hot, and the only times I've ever hungered and thirsted for righteousness were when I looked at myself and thought I didn't have any. And on and on the list goes, with each trait seeming negative rather than positive.


But every negative thing about the beatitudes is a setup for God to do something. Each involves a reversal. The beatitudes show us realistic expectations as we look for God to move. They are pictures of how God works. I'm not going to write an essay on the beatitudes, but I do want to look at three.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Naaman had to become poor in spirit before he could receive a healing -- he had to humble himself and act on a command that didn't make sense to him. He had to overrule his preconceived notions about spirituality to meet God.



And that's the nature of God's power. Often we feel dull and stupid while God is using us. Only later do we learn what God did. Telling about it later is much more exciting than being there when it happens. I'm sure that's how it was for Naaman, dipping seven times in the Jordan.


Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I used to assume that Jesus was talking about mourning for sin. But now that I've been a Christian for some years, I know otherwise. People go through a lot of trouble over the years. He was talking about any mourning for any reason.

Some of us have prayed for more of God, and instead of getting more of God we've gotten into a mess. The mess may be our own fault, or it may be someone else's. But for those who mourn, Jesus has promised comfort -- and the word he uses here is the same word he used in his promise of the Holy Spirit. The Comforter will visit those who mourn.


But he won't necessarily visit us on our own terms. Sometimes we try to dictate how we expect God to comfort us in our suffering. Lord, don't let the church split! Don't let the divorce go through! Don't let my father die of cancer!

There is nothing wrong with praying vigorously about tragic things that are happening in our lives. David prayed and fasted for the life of his dying child. And then the child died -- and David had the grace to get up and go on in God. Why? Because as long as the child was alive, David's prayers may have made the difference and saved the child from death. But once the matter was out of David's hands, he turned to God and allowed God to comfort him in other ways and in other areas.


Sometimes we become people of a single issue, and the Comforter visits another area of our lives. Joseph's attention was on getting out of prison; the Spirit of God was busy making him into a prophet. We tend to do the same, locking our expectations on one area while God is working in another.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. "Persecution" is the translation of a Greek word which means "being hunted down." Sometimes when we take steps forward in God, we stir up a satanic backlash. As the church has grown more alert to the tactics of the enemy, we are hearing teachings about satanic retaliation.


If you've vowed not to move in God again in one way or another, take a few moments to renounce the vows. Tell God you believe he's faithful and true. Let go of your expectation of how God will bring his word to pass, and let him do it in his way and in his time. Meanwhile, if you've managed to stir up a satanic backlash by pressing into God, be encouraged and dance for joy. Jesus says you're becoming a person of prophetic stature.


The Bible is full of stories of people who suffered from false expectations. Joseph never expected his brothers' rejection when he told them his God-given dreams. Moses never imagined God would walk him through forty years of exile when he tried to respond to the call on his life. Naaman was angry when his healing did not come as he had expected. Israel rejected many of the prophets because, although they wanted God to speak, they didn't like what God had to say. The crowd in Pontius Pilate's courtyard shouted "Crucify him!" because their Messiah did not come to free them from Rome as they had expected, but from sin and death.


Some of us have suffered rejection, confinement, and because we have set out to follow God. Some of us have been angry with God's ways and words. Some of us are waiting for God to change the world around us, and we don't want to face the fact that before he changes the world, he wants to change us.


First, we can choose to turn our attention and affections away from what we want and towards what God is doing. Let God set the agenda. It was natural for Joseph to want to be freed from prison, but God was making him into a prophet. If you're trying to do one thing and God is giving you success in something else that you don't even care about, take another look at the success God is giving you. God knows something you don't know. He's setting you up for a more fulfilling day. Enjoy what God is doing, even if it doesn't get you out of Joseph's prison right away.


Second, we can make our peace with God's timing. The Bible pattern is that before God uses anyone in a great work, he first does a great work in us. You expected to be in a ministry by now, and nobody recognizes your anointing. It won't hurt to slow down and let God work in you. Stay sweet. Lay your hurts and disappointments before God and let him heal them. Your day is coming, but you don't want to be bitter and angry when it comes. Let God purge you now, before a lot of people are looking at you.


Fourth, we can expect God to show up in ways we don't like. God is good and his ways and words are good, but often something in us finds fault with what God says and does. I Corinthians 2:14 says the carnal minds resists the things of the Spirit. Expect this battle to take place, and plan to let the Holy Spirit win it. Welcome the battle as an opportunity for deeper surrender to God.

Finally, we need to remember that God is for us, not against us. Are you in a mess right now? Or a wilderness? It's not the end. God is walking you through this dark place -- and the key word is "through." It's not your final destination. A day will come when you'll be able to look back and say, "God was faithful to me in my darkest hour." He lives in you; you're more than able to overcome.

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