Monday, November 17, 2008

God Can Do What He Says He Can Do

The key word here is “can”. Yes, He can do what He says He can do, but often, much to our dismay, and sometimes beyond reasons we may never know, He doesn’t do what He says He can do. This is the topic of my blogging today. How do we continue to have faith and believe God for miracles, and yet not be offended when He doesn’t answer the way that we know He can?

The following notes are from the Believing God Bible Study by Beth Moore. I highly recommend reading this book, and watching her study. I only wish I had the enthusiasm and conviction she did about this subject! Let me also preface by saying: This study came to me at a time when I needed it severely. In March of 2007, my step-mom found out she had cancer. By the time she was diagnosed, they gave her little time to live; her heart and lungs were surrounded and intertwined with tumors and it was grim. When I saw her in March, her hopes were high and so were mine. I had just started this Bible study, and I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was supposed to pray for her and believe God for a miraculous healing. My intentions were all pure… I wanted this lovely woman healed, but I also knew that God would be glorified and that this would bring my father and other family members to a deeper relationship with Him. So, during the hour-long ride to meet my step mom, my (amazing, woman-of-much-faith) sister-in-law and I talked and prayed and believed together, that this was going to be a miraculous night of healing… we FELT it. Deep inside of me, I FELT it. I was ready. I anticipated the best. I KNEW a miracle was going to occur. We prayed and believed – and then no healing. MY step-mom passed away only 3 months later. This definitely tested my faith. I wondered if I had heard wrong. But how could I hear wrong, when I know it’s God’s desire to bring healing and perform miracles?! Not only that, but how could I let my other family members down who were sitting there with me, possibly thinking I was crazy for this outrageous faith? How does this make God look to them!? My faith was partially devastated, especially the part where I was going to step out in faith and start believing God for healing miracles. In addition to this recent blow to my faith, in 1995 I had the experience of watching my mom believe God for an amazing healing of her cancer, and yet she passed away too. (That’s a short sentence to describe my mom’s battle, so read more about her story here.)

And so begins the purpose of my Blog. At the time my step-mom passed away, I had already begun the “Believing God” study, which was part of my confidence in praying for her healing in the first place. However, after she passed away, I was devastated, and God knew just what I needed for my diminished faith. The next Chapter in the series was called: “Believing God can Do What He Says He Can Do.” WOW! I needed this, and it was so life-changing and it was God speaking to me right where I was in my weakness. [He’s so good like that!]

So, everything below this paragraph, are pieces [literally, taken from here-and-there to piece together my point and encouragement to you] from Beth Moore’s study, and even though it’s long, I encourage you to read all of it, and let God speak to your spirit. Maybe it’s a crushed spirit He will be speaking to. Maybe it’s a confident and assured spirit. Either way, be encouraged, and soak in the goodness of our God.

Psalm 77:14: “You are the God Who performs miracles; You display your power
among the peoples.”

As supreme as they are, accreditation and glorification are not the only reasons why Christ performed miracles. Christ also performed miracles:

  • Because He saw Great faith;
  • Because He saw great need;
  • Because He was moved with compassion
  • Because God sovereignly appointed it;
  • For reasons beyond our understanding.

There other possible explanations as to why God chooses not to intervene with a miracle in an earnestly seeking Christian’s life. God often uses difficulty and suffering to complete His good work in us. We can clearly see the role of suffering in the New Testament from the Book of Matthew to the Book of Revelation. Don’t get the feeling that we signed up for suffering when we received Jesus. Beloved, we live in a fallen world where every human being suffers to some extent. The difference is that our suffering need never been in vain. As we allow God to minister to us in our fiery trials, He is glorified, the church is edified, and we are qualified for greater reward.

When believers think of miracles, our thoughts often turn to miracles of healing. When you consider the prevalence of sickness and disease, no wonder some our most fervent prayers are for physical healing. Although I pray that you and I will learn to think far more broadly than miracles of healing, I am very aware of our desperate hope in this area. The need is overwhelming, and the seasons are rare when I haven’t joined other believers in earnest intercession for God to heal someone physically.

[Beth goes on to shares the story of 3 different people (Rick, Belinda, and Becky) who were diagnosed with “incurable” diseases, only to be miraculously healed by God!] Each of these people believed that God is in the business of healing if it is His sovereign desire in a particular case. Each of the 3 would have testified to God’s love and faithfulness even if He had not granted physical healing. Each of them believed that God continued to compel them not to accept the diagnosis. Each of them was surrounded by numbers of others who were willing to pray big prayers and believe God would physically heal them until He said or proved otherwise. However, each of them still received the treatment prescribed to them by wise physicians.

In contrast to these healings, we see other great men of faith who did not receive what they prayed for. 2 Timothy 4:20 says, “Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” Can you imagine how frustrated Paul must have been to leave Trophimus sick after he had seen so many others miraculously healed? Surely Paul prayed over him with all his might, and he certainly wasn’t short on faith!

In addition, take Moses and Elijah as described in James 5:14-18. These two men experienced our same feelings and passions. They also had insecurities, fears, disappointment… They were like us... Elijah was flesh and blood who chose to believe God. Because he did, many of his prayers were powerfully answered. Keep in mind that Moses and Elijah were tremendously used by God, but neither got everything he asked. Just the same, we are not likely going to get everything we ask. You will be hard pressed to find anyone in Scripture who did. Including Christ. Check out the Garden Gethsemane. What if these men of God hadn’t asked anything because they couldn’t have everything? Can you imagine the loss?

“We can’t let our fear that God may not affirmatively answer our prayer keep us from praying!”

Lastly, John’s lifelong devotion to God and his calling is unparalleled in Scripture… He poured out his life like a drink offering for one purpose: to prepare the way of the Lord. In many ways this partnership of sorts started well. In John 1:29-34, John was certain that Christ was the One for whom he prepared the way. From a windowless cell, however, things did not look nearly as clear. Imagine John’s predicament. If he had been wrong about Jesus, he had either sacrificed all for nothing or missed the real Messiah. And if he had been right? Then Jesus had the power to free him from prison and death. He simply wasn’t using it. Have you ever had a time when none of your multiple-choice answers were good options?

John experienced the most excruciating dilemma any devoted child of God ever faces. If I may pickpocket Edwards, surely no pain is like the searing of the heart when “your God has not lived up to your expectations.” Even writing these words makes me want to sob. I have loved my God so much. He has far exceeded the expectations of this simple-minded former pit-dweller that I can hardly bring up the subject. But I must. Why? Because all of us called to faith will have this knife-sharp experience in some form and at some point. I will not dare avoid this subject and insult some of you who have lost loved ones… to disease or accident, having pleaded with God to deliver them. I’d go so far as to suggest that the deeper we have loved God, the deeper the potential for devastation when He doesn’t intervene as we know He can.


Matthew 11:6 says, “Blessed are you if you are not offended because of Me.”

Beloved, our God is a God of wonders. Will we not ask because we are afraid of being offended? Embarrassed? Disappointed? Or will we ask, knowing that He is able, but trusting that He is good even if He doesn’t act? Blessed are we if we are not offended with Jesus.

…In all honesty, we just do not know why God physically heals some and not others. But, we can know without a shadow of a doubt that the issue is not a lack of divine love or kindness. Many eternal factors are involved that we won’t understand until we see Christ face-to-face.
Until then, we must not lack faith for the healing of many because we do not see the healing of all.

"His ways are beyond our ways, but they are always good, always right, and
always for the kingdom.”

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm a winner - and so are some of you!

I got a blog award from the very fabulous Penny Lane Designs! You can read the nice things she said about me here. She's family, and a best friend, so she had extra pressure to say something nice. :)

Here's a little about the award: The "UBER AMAZING BLOG AWARD" is given to blogs who: inspire you, make you laugh & smile, give amazing information, are a great read and/or have an amazing design.The rules of the award: Put the logo on your blog and/or post, nominate a minimum of 5 blogs, let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog, share some "link love" and link the post back to the person's blog that nominated you.

And now, my list of nominees {in no particular order}. Drum roll please.... and please forgive me, because I don't know a lot of bloggers yet.

1. Living in His Arms: This is my amazing, sister-in-laws blog. She is one of those tender-hearted people who is so in-tune to what God is speaking to her. I love reading what God is doing in her life. She is amazing and always knows just what to say to brighten my day. Thanks for always sharing your heart, Jenni!

2. Living in the "Nutt" House: This Blog belongs to an old friend from high-school and even though I must admit that we haven't really kept in touch since those days, I do enjoy catching up on her family outings and what God is doing in her life through her super cute blog.

3. The Purple Pea: The Purple Pea is a friend from work. I enjoy reading her blog and seeing how she has turned her great house into an even greater, chic home! If it wasn't for reading her blog, I wouldn't have fallen completely in love with the amazing show, "John and Kate Plus Eight."

4. Journey Josh: Also a friend from high school. I love reading Josh's blog because he always takes those everyday happenings, going to the gym, writing a paper, etc., and creates a parallel to our relationship with Christ. I always like to hear how these things correlate - very creative and very inspirational.

5. Ok, seriously - I only know 6 bloggers, and 2 of them have already been tagged, so I'm stuck at 4. Sorry!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Words of Love

I came across a couple verses this morning while I was reading my Bible that really hit me where I am. I wanted to share them with you, and hope that they encourage you like they did me.

In true Shanen style, I’ve given them in a few different versions, and encourage you to read, and soak in, all three.

1 John 3:18-20

(New Living Translation)

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

(The Message Translation)

My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

(Amplified Translation)

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). By this we shall come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we are of the Truth, and can reassure (quiet, conciliate, and pacify) our hearts in His presence, Whenever our hearts in [tormenting] self-accusation make us feel guilty and condemn us. [For we are in God's hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him].

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A few things I am learning about commitment…

Here are a few quotes that I heard recently regarding “Commitment.” I think these are all important to remember in many areas of life; marriage, work, and personal goals/passions, just to name a few.

1. Commitment starts in your heart
2. Commitment is tested by action
3. Commitment always precedes achievement

I know these aren’t life-changing quotes, but they were really good for me to hear today.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fun Idea!

Ok, one of my friends directed me to this awesome website where you can get very creative with your pictures…Photofunia. You MUST check it out! I can’t quit playing with my pictures now!

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Monday, November 3, 2008

My Verse of the Week (or maybe Month!)

Ephesians 6:10-13 (New Living Translation)

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

I also love it in this translation:

Ephesians 6:10-13 (The Message)

A Fight to the Finish

10-12And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

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