The ultimate cure.

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My heart yet turns to water when I see a loved one’s pain.
For often in their crisis my carnal help’s in vain.
I can’t heal a heart that’s shattered, can’t render good for ill.
I feel their disappointments, their stress and pain ‘tis true.
But my humble words and efforts ebb like waves upon the shore
The only intervention is the Love that’s evermore.
I turn unto His presence and lay them in His hands
Entreating His assistance, knowing He understands.
My burden then is lifted. I trust Him to perform
Those things that I am lacking in perfect, perfect, form.

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Thank God he didn’t make me beautiful.

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I realised in early adolescence I was not to be one of those beautiful types with delicate bones, perfect features and bushels of shining curls. While I looked reasonably OK, my too round face and slightly saggy chin ruled out any such notions.
My self-perception, regarding looks, later became very confused. I was told often I was beautiful, but photos always brought me back to reality. Mirrors were the most confusing of all, a casual glance might depict me as surprisingly beautiful or jarringly ugly. It’s only in my latter years I’ve come to understand. You see it’s Jesus coming through, lighting up my plain face that transforms it – beauty of a different kind.
If I was naturally beautiful it wouldn’t be so noticeable. What is so nice about “my realisation” is it means anyone can be beautiful regardless of their actual physical appearance. How many times have you seen a plain (even ugly) person transform into beauty when they fall in love? I’ve seen it often, love itself, being a part of God, transforms. Not only that but this kind of beauty doesn’t fade, has no need of creams and face lifts (in fact these things tend to reduce it). If anything, it grows more apparent with age. So, if like me you don’t rate high on the physical looks scale, remember God’s love makes us all beautiful!
I chose this recent photo from my daughter’s 40th birthday party as somewhat of an example. My kids got so many compliments of how young and beautiful their mother was, some even commented directly. It all depends on how you look at the photo you see, the round face and “turtle effect” saggy chin are there, but I think the photo also caught something else. The couple I was talking to were wonderful people who I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with (as were many at the event). Forgetting my less than perfect self among such a glittering assortment of good looks I was fully engaged in conversation with them.

me party
Noticing the same effect in others, when happily relaxed with friends, or simply in love, I’ve termed a phrase, “their light’s come on”. Even more wonderful we can turn on other’s lights by sharing love, especially God’s love. Though I’d have liked to be beautiful I’m thankful God made me the way I am so I could understand this. There are no “ugly” or “plain” people in God’s eyes, because He loves us all. He even chose that kind of body for Himself – “there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isiah 53:2).

 

Does God have favorites? (miracle seris)

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Does God have favorites? It can seem that way sometimes. How come some Christians experience a “charmed life” packed with miracles while others, while living godly lives, seldom if ever experience personal manifestations of God’s power?

For example, people sometimes ask me to pray for things saying, “God answers your prayers”. My assurances he can hear them just as well fall on deaf ears. They are convinced, God is more inclined to answer the evangelist/healer/pastor/prayer warrior’s prayers. Perhaps they think there is some special formula they don’t know or that God reserves such power for “specially anointed” people.

The answer is of course God loves us all unconditionally and wholeheartedly – even those that reject him. God is always there, just a breath away, like an indulgent father wishing to smoother us in blessings. It is not God that creates a distance but us. Children are usually naturally close to God but, as adults, we tend to drift away, our simply faith extinguished by the business of life. To see His power manifested in our lives, we must know him intimately, closer than father, friend, even lover. People see God manifested in someone’s life, but miss the joyful hours spent in study and prayer, the constant communion that brings faith and miracles. But God loves us all regardless of how close we are.

An illustration of this happened not long ago with someone whose faith was weak having been through a couple of very traumatic years. He developed this attitude as he saw Jesus’ care manifested for his wife, but not so much for him.

He had a serious accident crushing one of his fingers beyond repair. The doctors told him they would give it a week, but he’d probably lose the finger, even if not he would have no feeling or movement in it. God took this opportunity to show his continuing love. On his return the doctors were astonished and could not explain it. Comparing the new and former x rays they declared it was impossible, as if it was not the same finger. Not only did he not need to have it amputated but it healed totally. He now has full use of it – no sign it ever happened.

For me the greatest element was not that God did a tangible miracle, but that He showed His personal love for him also – he had his own miracle to remind him that God loves us all.

“Everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.”

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Long ago whist at college my daughter’s class was asked by an atheistic teacher.

“Whoever here believes in God, stand up.” Only she and a Muslim girl dared to stand.

“And why do you believe?” He continued. Their answers were very similar, they had both seen God work in their lives and miraculously answer prayer. Not to be put off he announced.

“Well you, pointing to my daughter, are Christian, but how come this girl is Muslim says the same thing?” She couldn’t answer and came home troubled. I had never considered the question and had to pray for the answer. It came instantly.

God loves all His children whoever they are and whatever faith they embrace. If someone prays with a pure and believing heart He will answer (even if they call Him by another name). My daughter was content with that answer. For me however it triggered other questions.

I’ve never believed that if someone hasn’t received Jesus they’ll burn in hell for eternity – though a common fundmentalist doctrine, that just doesn’t jive with all I’ve known of God. What about all those that never had a chance to hear? Rather I’ve found Him to be far more loving, more merciful, going to far greater extremes to redeme His children than I could envisage. I think not to know Jesus maybe means to miss out on the fulness of life He brings right here and now, the joy, the freedom, the healing, the solace.

It is my personal belief that, rather than God as a stern judge dealing out rewards and eternal punishment at death, we, in a sense, judge ourselves. When God is revealed in all His splendour we either run to embrace Him, cringe in guilt and shame begging for mercy, or run in fear or rebelion. To come before God drenched in sin is perhaps akin to someone drenched in gasoline confronting a fire. God is always loving, forgiving, but we can only come into His presence naked and humble (one cannot pretend with God) we cannot bear His presence with any taint of sin or subterfuge.

It says “God looks on the heart” we must be careful to do likewise. A self-righteous, holier than thou Christian may further from God than a big-hearted atheist. Perhaps some of the “saved” may find themselves raised, not to glory, but to “everlasting shame and contempt” for their lack of love toward humanity, and the shamed single mum who loved too ardently find,  she that loves much will be forgiven much. Perhaps that’s what it means about the last being first and the first last.