Archive for the ‘Sickness’ Category

I love that quote from the bible. It is what the angel Gabriel said to Mary when she did not understand how she could conceive a child when she was a virgin. Gabriel told her it would by the Holy Spirit and “Nothing is Impossible with God”. When I think about the meaning of this truth in my own life I am astounded as I look back over my life.

15 years ago I had been written off as someone who would not make it in this life. I had been sick for a few years and had difficulty following a basic conversation. In fact when I signed up to go on my first trip to Romania, the missionaries who had met me when I was sick, had the response of “isn’t he the guy who talks slow?” My situation looked hopeless, but with God nothing is impossible.

God helped me to recover and rebuild my life. Step by step He helped me every step of the way. It was not always easy. It required me to take some steps of faith, but over time my life was rebuilt and what I am doing now is far more fulfilling than anything I had done before I was sick. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, it can be not just comforting but also empowering to know that with God nothing is impossible.


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Psalm 100 says “Enter His gates with Thanksgiving in our hearts”.  It is easy to enter His presence when things are going well. Sometimes things do not go well for us. Things happen such as sickness, death of a loved one, financial troubles, and relationship problems. It is at those times that we really need to enter His gates with Thanksgiving in our hearts. That is because the antidote for a spirit of heaviness is praising God. It helps us to not sink into the valley of depression when things are not going well for us.

I understand how tempting it is to not want to enter with Thanksgiving. I have been though the valley of sickness and recovery and all the work of restarting life afterward. My father died this past year after we finally reconciled due to issues involving his alcoholism.This life is not easy. Jesus even told us “in this  life you will have troubles, but cheer up I have overcome the world”. That is the reason we can be thankful no matter what. Jesus is alive and overcame the world and all of its struggles.

Psalm 100 also gives the reason to enter with Thanksgiving in our hearts. It says “His love and faithfulness endure forever”. No matter what happens in this life we can rest in the fact that God’s love last forever and we will be with Him forever. Corrie Ten Boom realized this when after being held in a Nazi concentration camp and watching sister die due to the terrible conditions. She said “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still”.

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Jesus once told His disciples- “In this world you will have troubles, but cheer up I have overcome the world” Jesus did not promise to take all of our troubles away in this life. He said He has overcome the world. He defeated death through His resurrection. Think of it- the worst thing that can happen to us-death- and he defeated it. He lived in this life, faced the same problems we faced, Satan tried to tempt Him, ut he never sinned. He overcame the world.

Jesus said another thing that I think is worth remembering. He said “I am with you always even to the end of the age”. No matter what we go through Jesus is there with us. He overcame it all and HE is with us ALWAYS!! He will never leave us or forsake us. If we are experiencing financial troubles, health problems, family problems or any other struggle in this  life, Jesus has promised HE will NEVER leave us. The one who has all power will stay with us all the way, so when we feel doubt or see the insane things that are going on in this world let’s remember that Jesus has overcome it.

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There are many difficulties we can encounter in life. I have had my share of them. I know what it is like when the doctor says things like; “your liver is not working well” or “your cholesterol is too high” or “your kidneys are not working well”. I should mention that I am okay now. I write about these things to show I understand there are difficult things we experience in life and I have walked through many of them. My parents divorced when I was 18. My father was an alcoholic, so we had to work through some issues.

Why didn’t I fold up and crumble? It is not because there is anything special about me. The thought that has stayed with me is this “there is one who has all power and wants to help, His name is Jesus”. If someone has the ability to help and wants to help, I would be stupid to not ask. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble,” there is a happy thought, but that is not all, the rest of it is ” but cheer up I have overcome the world”.

The bible says to keep our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith as we run the race. That means that as we go through this marathon of life to keep our eyes on Him, much like a marathon runner would keep their focus on the finish line to keep going. Keeping our focus on Jesus helps us to not lose hope, helps us to remember that even in our darkest hours that there is someone far greater than us to help us in our time of need.

It also means that we stay motivated. For me it means that whenever I feel lazy or that I do not want to do something, that I need to remember that this life is a gift. I am only alive today because Jesus intervened. What I do with the days I am given is important. My brother runs marathons. I am sure he would tell you there are days he does not feel like training, but he pushes through those times. It is when we do not feel like keeping our focus on Jesus through prayer that we really need to. It is in those times that the training for the big times takes place. If we train ourselves to focus on Jesus, then when the crisis comes we automatically know where to go.

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In the Bible it says “the fervent prayer of a righteous person  avails much”. Basically it means that when we live for Jesus and pray with faith great things can happen. The problem many times is that we do not pray in faith. I will never forget how several years ago when I attended a small church there was a young man who had a benign brain tumor. He was having problems with seizures and had to stay at home. He parents were Christians but he had not come to believe in Jesus yet. I felt a burden to pray and fast for him and asked others to join me. The pastor of that small church told me it was probably a waste of time and my time should be put to use elsewhere. My thought was-NO ONE IS A WASTE OF TIME.

A small group of us proceeded to pray for him. I went to visit him and pray with him several times. I read from the bible to him and shared my faith with him. He came to believe in Christ. He had a surgery that was successful. He went on to become very active with Baptist Student Union and helped many to come hear about Jesus. Sadly he did die some years later of something else, but he made some very positive contributions.  His father came into the furniture store store I worked at back then. He said to me in front of every one “You made a difference in my son’s life. Thank you.”

With God there are no  lost causes. With God there is always hope. With God all things are possible. We should never give up. We should always pray in faith. It seems to me that the church in America is weak because we do not pray in faith. We trust too much in our technology or planning and not enough in the One who has ALL POWER. God still works through prayer, so let’s pray in faith and leave the results to God.

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In April 1996 my doctor said to me- “Matt you are now a healthy man. It is a miracle you did not die”. I had been sick from the Spring of 1993 to the summer of 1995. It started as low energy and ended up with me losing memory, having swollen feet and hands, and in pain all the time. It got so bad that one night when I went to the store, when I came out, I couldn’t remember what kind of car I had. During the time I was sick people kind of gave up on me. They thought I couldn’t make it in school. Inside I knew their suggestions were way off, but I couldn’t communicate very well due to being sick. They were dark days in my life. I had wanted to serve God, but there I was sick and dying and for the most part alone. Others had given up on me. It looked absolutely hopeless.

Those were also some of the deepest times of prayer for me. I felt God’s presence in ways I never had before. One time I started to pray while listening to Michael Card’s song Immanuel and felt I was taken into the presence of God for hours, only to find it had been 4 minutes.  I found out in April 1996 how bad my health was. My heart was swollen and my cholesterol was 413-doctors want it under 200. My liver was not doing well- the test was supposed to be 60 to 290 and mine was 669. My kidneys were not doing well the test was supposed to be 7 to 12 and mine was 72.5. I was headed to multiple organ failure.

One night in July 1995 I thought I was going to die. I was home alone and in a lot of pain. I went over to my bed and prayed to Jesus saying, “Jesus if tonight you want to take me home(heaven) that is okay, but there are more people who need to hear about you and more people need help. I don’t want it to end this way.” When I started to pray, I felt a spiritual darkness around me. When I finished praying, I felt a presence come in and push the darkness away, and then a hand touch my left shoulder. The pain stopped. I felt  a beautiful peace and thought I was going to heaven. I fell asleep. The next morning I woke up and realized I was still here. I had a purpose for being here, but was not sure what it was. I went to the doctor the next day and told him I was tired of feeling cold in July. He ran a test and found what the underlying cause was. It was so simple to treat. Only take one pill each  day. My Thyroid gland had stopped working.

Over the days, weeks and months, I prayed and took my pill. I made a full recovery. When I was sick, I had lost memory. Now I can remember how to greet people in 30 languages. When I was sick, I delivered pizza part-time because I was too sick to do anything else. When I was sick, I did not know what my purpose was. Now I teach English second language at a Community College and am a part-time missionary. My purpose, the reason Jesus gave me more time here, is to share His love with the nations, with people from all nations. My life is much fuller now than it was before I was sick. Prayer works when others give up hope. Don’t give up. Jesus said to knock and keep on knocking. Ask and keep on asking.

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