Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Heaven Invades Earth

I have just returned from the D.R. Congo. Upon returning, I have been asked the usual question, “How was your trip?” I know in advance that this question will be asked. I ask the same question of my husband every time he returns from a trip. The problem is you are never quite sure how to answer. There is the short answer, “It was really good.” But you are always left feeling like it deserves so much more than that.

A year or so ago I went to Sudan. Before leaving I kept thinking of the people I would be visiting. I knew that they very much needed a visitation from the Lord. They needed Heaven to invade earth. The sickness, disease, and devastation that I encountered left me feeling so hopeless. My friend and I prayed faithfully for each person who came to the medical clinic, laying our hands on and praying over 1,000 people. I struggled with why we didn’t see more healings and deliverances. Yes, I understand we will not always “see” what God is doing. I accept this. Nevertheless, since then I have been seeking God on this issue of healing. Not because I NEED to see it, but because there are desperate people in desperate conditions who need intervention. AND I KNOW GOD IS THEIR ANSWER! Yes, I know the whole argument that God does not heal everyone and God will heal whom He chooses. I accept even this. (I am hearing the arguments in my own head.) However, I am convinced that God wants to do more than what we in the western world have seen. And I am also convinced that in HIS SOVEREIGNTY He chose to use HIS children, HIS sons and daughters, to be agents of HIS saving, delivering, and healing grace to the world.

So upon leaving for Congo I told the Father, “Lord, I will pray again for all whom you place before me. I will pray knowing you are a loving good God. I will pray that Heaven invade earth right there in the middle of D.R. Congo. I will keep praying even when I don’t see with my natural eyes.” So with that in mind and heart, our team set out for the vast country of Congo.

After one particular service our team decided to have a prayer time for any and all who wanted prayer. As soon as our team leader announced we would be doing that, I felt a certain fear rise up in me. The fear was, “Oh no, what if I don’t see it!? Is it dependent on MY belief, MY faith!? Do I know the right formula!?” And then the father whispered, “Joy, just pray.” Oh, so simple! So that is what we did, we prayed. I have to tell you that the Father was so sweet because He did indeed let us see!

One older lady hobbled up to the front of the room on her cane. Through a translator she conveyed that she wanted us to pray for her somewhat paralyzed body. The translator could not understand her very well because her speech was slurred. She had trouble with her left ear, left side of the face, (it was a little contorted from paralysis I assume) her left arm and left leg. We were pretty sure she had had a stroke. We prayed for her. We prayed and asked God to reverse all of the effects of the stroke and heal her. We prayed against any spirit that would possibly be binding her to this sickness. We prayed that as it is said and done in heaven that it would also be done here on earth in this lady. She walked back to her seat. I didn't think about her again. After the service I walked toward the back and she stopped me. She began to talk and point to all of her body parts that we prayed for. I thought to myself, "Is she telling me what I think she is telling me?" I grabbed the translator and she began to tell me she felt NO pain!! She was talking, something she had not been able to do for a year. She threw down her cane and began to dance in order to SHOW me she was healed. I must have had a look of unbelief! :) I was so excited! Mark, our team leader, said he was watching her when she walked to the back and he could see her face starting to vibrate. He literally watched it go back to normal. I was so happy for that woman. You should have seen her face! She was praising God! I feel the enemy whispering in my ear as I write this, "So what, what is the big deal...he does that all the time." But I resist that lie! It is a big deal. A woman was set free. Hallelujah! Heaven invaded earth!!!! For me personally, I thank you Jesus! You do do it! You DO want US to be your agents on earth to bring your kingdom! Not just the kingdom message of salvation, but the kingdom message that you rule! You have authority! Keep me abiding in you.

Sons and daughters of the MOST HIGH GOD! We are His glory, the outward manifestation of His nature. I find myself wanting to clarify and explain with such things as, "It's not what we do but what He does....we don’t do it, God does it...God gets all of the glory, be careful not to take any for yourself...etc”. OF COURSE all of this is true, and more than that, it is ABSOLUTELY true. However, the truth is we ARE called to be the glory of God and while we always give Him THE glory, may we never let the enemy use these truths against us. He will twist these truths intending to shame us, keeping us from WANTING to do, and DOING great things of God.

Many times we stumble over what we DON’T see God doing. We give up and quit, settling for the old adage, “God is going to do what God is going to do.” Perhaps, but Jesus in His own words said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons… they will speak with new tongues… they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.” Who was Jesus talking to when He said go and do these things? I believe that would be us. It is hard to argue with Jesus. Let’s resolve, regardless of what we see in the natural, to never quit praying for salvations, healings, and deliverances. Let’s resolve to take the kingdom of God to a desperate world, praying that His kingdom come, that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

When All Is Shaken, The Kingdom of God Remains

For me, one of the worse days of the year involves taking down the Christmas decorations and dismantling the tree. This is the declaration that the holidays are over and that a return to normalcy is called for. It is not that normal is so bad; it’s just that it’s so normal.

This year after putting the tree out on the curve, I went back inside to consider all the implications of a return to normalcy. On the way inside, I grabbed the mail to find I had one gift that had just arrived in the mail. My wife, not to be outdone, had ordered me a yearlong subscription to “Everyday with Rachael Ray”, and my first magazine had arrived! As the gloom rolled away I settled into my favorite chair by the fireplace, opening up this newfound treasure. My new magazine was filled with post holiday tidbits that were sure to inject life into any situation.

The magazine included over 300 recipes. There was special attention given to family dinners that could be accomplished for less than $10.00 (helpful of course in tough economic times). I read about the newest and latest colanders. The advantages and disadvantages of each could be determined, and direction on how to obtain them was given. After some time with Rachael, I got up from my chair with a much better disposition about facing the New Year.

I am realizing that the difficulty in facing this New Year is not rooted in the normal or in the distance from the normal. In fact, it probably has more to do with uncertainty.

A surface glance into what lies ahead in 2009 is filled with seeming uncertainty. It appears the body of Christ has been moved into a period where everything that can be shaken is being shaken.

The reminder of the familiar and the comfortable that the holiday brought this year has now officially given way to unfamiliar territory and uncharted grounds. When all that can be shaken is shaken, what remains is the Kingdom of God.

We need not fear this even though there is an unknown dimension to it as we navigate uncharted territory. Fear is not necessary because we know that the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of peace, joy and righteousness. As we move into 2009 not knowing what it will hold, we can move with hope knowing of the essence of the kingdom that will remain.

In fact, at Answering the Call I am seeing that even in the midst of this sort of spiritual transition most things remain the same. The ultimate vision is the same even if the process is altered. The heartbeat of ministering to the world’s most oppressed continues to pound.

Even in the things coming up over the next 2 or 3 months I see this common vision. At the time of writing, there is an Answering the Call team ministering in East Congo to victims of that brutal war. We believe that God will heal and deliver many from the enemy’s grasp there as we worship, pray and lift up the name of Jesus in incredible darkness. Women and pastors are being taught scripture in the form of stories that will be shared in surrounding villages where it is impossible for those from the west to go.

In February, plans are being made to travel into Northern Sudan with the good news of hope and forgiveness through Jesus. Pray for those preparations and particularly for the procurement of visas that will make this possible. We need God to navigate this very complex and difficult process. In fact, it is impossible without Him.

In April, we are excited about a conference and retreat that is scheduled for “Christian Workers” in a very sensitive country in the Middle East. I believe it to be the first of its kind in that area, and I am convinced that it will bear fruit in that different part of the world. Please pray for this retreat and specifically for the finances to carry it out.

So you see, even in all of the shaking, there is much that remains.

May God bless you by strengthening what remains.