A response to the refugee crisis

Jesus and his family were refugees. When Jesus was still a baby, his parents fled with him to Egypt to escape the irrational rage of Herod. Thankfully, Egypt did not turn them away.

The news about the Syrian refugee crisis can be overwhelming. Sometimes I weep as I watch families who have lost the dignity of jobs, housing, community, now lining up for handouts, hoping that some nation will offer them refuge.

I know that the responsibility of government is to protect its people, but fear dominates the reaction of many in this crisis. With Jesus, perfect love casts out fear.

My highly talented, musician brother-in-law, Robin Dale, has expressed it far more eloquently than I do. He wrote a song (Daniel’s song) and put together this video about the refugee crisis. (Daniel was his oldest son, who, before his untimely death earlier this year, invariably showed a heart and compassion for the outcast, the homeless, the marginalized.)

 

Does healing still happen today?

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing much in the way of healing.

I’ve been in meetings where people have been prayed for who walked for the first time, or whose hearing was restored. I’ve seen arthritis disappear, legs lengthened, epilepsy healed. (It’s not that I prayed for most of these people–just that I witnessed these things first hand.)

I used to have a heart arrhythmia that would occur several times per day. Once it went on for so long I nearly went to the E.R. Although we were living here in the States at the time, I was back in London at a meeting where Paul Cain (a prophet) was speaking. In the middle of the meeting he asked anyone who had a heart condition to stand up. I, along with several dozen others, stood. He prayed a brief, couple of sentence prayer and we all sat down again. I’ve never had  that arrhythmia again!

I know Jesus still heals today.

In my current study of healing, I’ve been examining some of the conditions that Jesus healed when he walked this earth. Here are some of the definitions I’ve found from the Greek words that are used:

Noson: translated as sickness or disease

Malakion: a softness or weakness, a disease that weakens the victim, loss of muscle etc.

Kakos: bad, evil, inwardly foul, rotten, poisoned

Basanos: a touchstone used to test metals, examined by torture, torture, torment

Seleniazonemous: one being “moonized,” lunatic, epileptic

Paralutikos: paralytic (palsy)

So take a verse like Matthew 4:23:

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogs, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness (noson) and all kinds of disease (malakion) among the people. Then his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to him all sick (kakos) people who were afflicted with various diseases (noson) and torments (basanos), and those who were demon possessed, epileptic (seleniazonemous) and paralytics (paralutikos) and he healed them.

As a doctor (in a previous life) I find this fascinating. Jesus healed every kind of disease.

I long to see that happen again.

Crutches

Photo Credit: Bettina via Compfight cc

It’s time to leave the safety of the shore

A few years ago, I had the privilege of training a church in India in the principles of church planting. One of the activities we did was to listen to the Lord on behalf of the church. What was he saying to them as a body of believers? They were a wonderful group of people and the Lord spoke clearly. Yesterday, I had an email from them asking me to write some words for their anniversary and reminding me of a vision I had for them while I was there.

 

The picture I had seemed relevant beyond just their situation.

 

Here’s what I wrote for them:

 

“I remember when I was with you that I had a picture of boats docked by the shore. The wind (of the Spirit) was blowing, but the boats had not yet put out to sea. A boat in the harbor cannot catch fish. Until it trims its sails and moves out of the safety and shelter of the shoreline, a sailing boat is land bound and cannot live up to its potential of being like a live creature, responding to every gust of wind and to the direction of the one at the helm.

 

It’s time! It’s time to hoist your sails. You’ve had plenty of time to get everything ready and bring in provisions for the voyage. You are as ready now as you’ll ever be. The wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing. So experience the adventure and exhilaration of setting sail under the guidance and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  As you sail under the direction of the Master Helmsman, you will be challenged by the risks of the unknown, and you will learn to rely on the One who will not fail you.

 

Jesus is not safe or tame, but he is good. As you follow him into the deep, your boat will produce a wake that other boats will follow. As others see your walk of faith, they will desire that same voyage of exploration that you are experiencing.

 

Go for it!”

 

Sailing boat

 Photo Credit: Tim Green aka atoach via Compfight cc

Simple Grace

One of Tony’s and my greatest current challenges concerns an elderly parent. She’s been a wonderful woman of God, greatly used by the Lord around the world. But dementia has done more than robbed her of her memory. It has shrunk her world, stolen her dignity and changed her personality. It’s been hard to watch.

Amy Grant, (the singer) faced similar issues with both her parents. I recently was asked to review the new monthly devotional magazine, Simple Grace, and was blessed to find an article by her describing how she coped with her situation. With simplicity, grace, and humility, she described her walk with Jesus as she dealt with her parents’ Alzheimer’s disease.

Simple Grace is a little bit like Guideposts–short, inspirational articles on how God has worked in people’s daily lives. The main part of the magazine is a daily devotional, along the lines of  GOD CALLING in that each devotional takes on the voice of Jesus speaking directly to you. It’s not profound theology, but it’s encouraging and inspirational. I believe Jesus will use this little magazine in the lives of many.

Simple Grace

What are we thinking?

I came across a shocking statistic earlier today.

According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (2012), the cost per baptism globally is $762,000!

What are we thinking?

I’m sure these figures include seminaries, buildings, training pastors etc., but sometimes I wonder, is this why Jesus died?

I know you cannot put a figure on the salvation of a soul, but surely there is a more cost-effective model (think simple churches meeting in homes with no specially trained leaders…)

 

 

21 Martyrs

Most of us have been horrified by the events in the news recently. Churches around the nation are joining together on Sunday for a moment of silence to remember the 21 martyrs–all Christians from Egypt.  Right to the very moment when they lost their  lives, they testified to the faithfulness of Jesus. Check out this website and the following video:

We in the West have it so easy–we are barely even ridiculed for holding a Christian worldview–but it could change. In other nations where there is a price to be paid for being a follower of Jesus, one of the basic discipleship lessons is on how to deal with persecution.

It’s a small step, but let’s show our solidarity with our fellow believers by remembering the 21 martyrs.

Milad Makeen Zaky
Abanub Ayad Atiya
Maged Solaiman Shehata
Yusuf Shukry Yunan
Kirollos Shokry Fawzy
Bishoy Astafanus Kamel
Somaily Astafanus Kamel
Malak Ibrahim Sinweet
Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros
Girgis Milad Sinweet
Mina Fayez Aziz
Hany Abdelmesih Salib
Bishoy Adel Khalaf
Samuel Alham Wilson
Worker from Awr village
Ezat Bishri Naseef
Loqa Nagaty
Gaber Munir Adly
Esam Badir Samir
Malak Farag Abram
Sameh Salah Faruq