Reflections recorded in my Gratitude Journal from August 11-21, 2014 are the trials, struggles, challenges and torments of the heart, soul and mind while I was preparing and undergoing Open Heart Bypass Surgery 3 years ago at the National Heart Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 11, 2011 to August 21, 2011. More details can be found on http://www.hearttalk.com.my/dr-charles-lee/
August 21, 2014 at 6.30 am – FAITH’S Checkbook – Charles Spurgeon
AWAKEN THE DAWN – NIGHT OF WEEPING, JOYOUS DAY
For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. – Psalm 30: 5
INTENSIVE CARE UNIT – 21 August, 2011: AN UNCONSCIOUS NIGHT
All is well with my soul. This is the first and only night in my 62 years of life that I had no consciousness of what was happening to me. Under general anesthesia, intubated, totally unconscious, I was now in the hands of God in the Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U). Yes, I SEE YOU! That was the ‘sign’ I had waited patiently for assurance that my God was watching over me. I was safe in the arms of my Lord. There have been many nights where one of our children had been unwell and I have sat through the night watching over each one when they were kids growing up. How much more our God watches over us: Psalm 121:4 Behold, He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
At 11 o’clock in the morning I heard the voice – “Hello Charles…open your eyes…take deep breaths…we are taking out your tube…breathe…breathe…take deep breaths.” I have heard these words spoken to many of my own patients after surgery countless number of times these past 30 years…now it was my turn to hear those precious words – breathe…breathe.,,breathe. Every breath is by the grace of God. Immediately I asked for my eldest son Jeremy, my armour-bearer (read reflections Aug 20) to come. Soon, the rest of the family. I share this picture with you because it reminds me of how precious life is. I had to learn how to breathe again. I had to learn how to teach my lungs how to inhale and exhale. Baby steps taken for granted all these years. In His favor is Life! AWAKEN THE DAWN is a journey of remembrance to love mercy, act justly and walk right before God.
There have been times of chastisement in my journey to make peace with God. I have taken many turns in life, wrong turns that have grieved God’s Spirit. I know it and I can feel and sense the Lord’s displeasure and anger at the plague within my own heart. If I had asked for more grace, more blessings, more mercies I know the Lord would have given it. Yet, it is so easy to forget God’s grace and mercies in our life and remembering my journey this past one week 3 years ago in August 2011 has rekindled the flame of repentance to seek God and live and walk right. Do you feel the same way too? Do you agree how easy it is to forget His blessings and live in rebellious hostility before a Holy God because of the plague in our own hearts? Thank God for the Cross of Christ!
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S Checkbook, 21 August 2014: A “moment” under our Father’s anger seems very long, and yet it is but a moment, after all. God is ready to pardon, and He soon puts aside all remembrance of our faults. When we faint and are ready to die because of His frown, His favor puts new life into us. Our weeping night soon turns into joyous day. Brevity is the mark of mercy in the hour of the chastisement of believers. The life and the joy, which follow the anger and weeping, more than amends for the salutary sorrow. Tears are dews that mean us as much good as the sunbeams of the morrow. Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace and make the vision of His favor more precious. Come, my heart, begin your hallelujahs! All is well.
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46: 9
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard
Yes, all is well…with my soul. In His favour is life (Psalm 30: 5). We look back at our own life’s journey only to take courage to move forward in the light of God’s glory. We all have scriptural verses that we hold on to as milestones as we grow in every measure of grace in our walk with the Lord. For me, it is Psalm 118: verses 17 to 18. This Psalm was read by both Derek and Ruth Prince at the Shavuot (Pentecost) Conference in Jerusalem in May 1996. It has been my reference point at each crossroad I meet in my journey to make peace with God – to stop and take stock of the spiritual condition of the plague in my own heart and seek the favor of God in my life. I pray it is will become yours too, Amen!
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death. Psalm 118: 17-18
August 20 at 7.10 am – My Utmost for His Highest, FAITH’s Checkbook
“Come to ME,…and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.
Day of Open Heart Bypass Surgery, National Heart Center, Kuala Lumpur: Saturday, August 20, 2011
Be Still, and Know that I am God: Psalm 46: 10
D-Day had arrived. It was 5.30 am in the morning. I was ready and this time I was at rest IN God. No words can describe the depth of emotions, thoughts within the innermost being of my soul. No words. At defining moments like this, the only response of the Spirit is to stay silent. The nurses came in to do the last check list call – and the moment they put on my wrist band bearing my name, I knew only One name mattered now, the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. Faith is a gift from God. God has allotted to each a measure of faith ( Romans 12:3) and how I prayed for more. Ear phones plugged in to the music of ‘This is Our God’, I was then wheeled off to the Operation Theatre. Just before leaving my room, with my family around me, we prayed for the grace of God to take over this part of my journey. I called each member of the family, my wife and 3 children and handed to each one the letter I had written the night before with strict instructions to read it carefully while the surgery was going on. Then, lying on my bed and ready for this ‘journey’ to the operation theatre, I started looking for the ‘sign’…Lord, where are you? “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” asked Elisha (2 Kings 2:14 – see reflections on August 11,12,14)
THE ‘SIGN’ – THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD REVEALED
The ‘journey’ from my room in the ward to the Operation Theatre seemed like forever! As I got closer to the Operation Theatre, I could hear the sound of my own heartbeat – it seemed to get louder and louder. THEN SUDDENLY I SAW THE ‘SIGN’ I HAD PRAYED SO HARD FOR THE WHOLE WEEK!! A ‘sign’ like what the LORD gave to Jonathan, that the LORD was with him and the LORD will deliver him from his moment of trial in 1 Samuel 14: 10. I looked up and there above the door was the ‘sign’: INTENSIVE CARE UNIT …I…C..U..AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD REVEALED TO ME JUST THEN: I SEE YOU!! As a plastic surgeon, I had visited the Intensive Care Unit on many occasions before when major cases were admitted for close monitoring. Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.) This was it!. This was the ‘sign’ I had been waiting patiently for. The Lord’s eyes were on me! That is all I needed to know. My God was watching over me. I kept repeating the words over and over again…I SEE YOU!! I SEE YOU!! What a revelation! What a faithful God! The Lord’s refusals are never denials. Jesus was there with me. His eyes were on me and I entered the Operation Theatre completely at peace and at rest in the Lord’s hands. THIS IS OUR GOD. There is no other God but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Jesus of Nazareth. How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me!
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28
Oswald Chambers writes in today’s reading on August 20th, 2014: Christ-Awareness: Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once, asking Him to re-establish your rest. Never allow anything to remain in your life that is causing the unrest. Think of every detail of your life that is causing the disintegration as something to fight against, not as something you should allow to remain. Jesus says. “Come to Me…and I will give you rest,” that is, Christ-awareness.
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’s Checkbook: August 20, 2014: Deliverance Not Limited: The rapid succession of trials is one of the sorest tests of faith. Before we have recovered from one blow, it is followed by another and another until we are staggered. Evil may roar at us, but it will be kept at more than arm’s length, and will not even touch us. We may have as many troubles as the workdays of the week, but the God who worked on those six days will work for us until our deliverance is complete. With our loins girt about us, we will meet the six or the seven troubles and leave fear to those who have no Father, no Savior, and no Sanctifier.
The surgery took 4 hours. I was in the hands of the Master. As I look back these past 3 years and marvel at the faithfulness of God in my life and in that of my family, I can only stand amazed in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth and wonder how He could love me…a sinner condemned unclean. Only by the grace and mercies of God am I here today to write this Journal and give an account what this past week has been for me 3 years ago – God’s faithfulness to protect, provide and preserve my life for His glory. I thank God for my family, my mum, loved ones, friends and colleagues who kept me in their prayers because I know it is their prayers that reached the throne of grace and kept me safe in the arms of Jesus of Nazareth. Thanks be to God. Amen!
I Stand Amazed (Charles H. Gabriel -1856-1932)
Charles Hutchinson Gabriel was a writer of gospel songs and composer of gospel tunes. He is said to have written and/or composed between 7,000 and 8,000 songs. ‘My Savior’s Love (I Stand Amazed)’ was published in 1905.
- I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!
- For me it was in the garden
He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.
- He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered and died alone.
- When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.
August 19 at 6.50 am – My Utmost for His Highest
COME TO ME
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,…” Matthew 11: 28
Pre-operative Assessment and Preparation for Open Heart Bypass Surgery, National Heart Centre, Kuala Lumpur: Friday, August 19, 2011
The week from the date of diagnosis of my coronary heart disease on August 11, 2011 to this date of admission for surgery, Friday August 19, 2011 was now over. It was now time to get admitted and to have my family…”Come to me”. My wife and 3 children were anxious, worried and concerned but our faith in the Lord was strong. I gathered my three children together in my hospital room and shared my heart with them. It was a deeply emotional and difficult time for me because I knew in my heart, as a doctor, there was a small risk that a severe complication could arise and I may not see them again. But as a family, we stayed together in faith. I spoke about all the things that mattered in life – the most important being to love God wholeheartedly and to surrender ALL to Jesus. Only God knew the heaviness in my heart but my heart was totally surrendered to God. There was no where else to go but to God in prayer and supplication for grace and mercy. When the day of battle arrives, the Lord is faithful to have the dearest ones in your life walk with you. Remember how Jesus came along side the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? Their faces downcast. Luke 24: 17 As their father, I had to be strong.
My ‘Armour-Bearer’: A SIGN FROM GOD
…his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” 1 Samuel 14: 7
I searched the Scriptures for a ‘sign’ that God was with me this night before surgery and the Holy Spirit led me to 1 Samuel Chapter 14: The Philistines had assembled to fight Israel with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. When the men of Israel (six hundred of them) saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and pits and cisterns. Jonathan, son of King Saul, decided on his own to check out the outpost of the Philistines. He told his armour-bearer, “Come, let us go over to the outpost…Perhaps the LORD will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or few.” His armour-bearer said, “Go ahead, I am with you heart and soul.” Jonathan wanted a ‘sign’ that the LORD was with him and victory was theirs. When they confronted the Philistines, the LORD did give Jonathan a ‘sign’: This was the sign: Should the Philistines call out and say “Come up to us”, it meant that God was with them. The Philistines did call out and Jonathan said to his armour-bearer: “CLIMB UP AFTER ME; THE LORD HAS GIVEN THEM INTO THE HAND OF ISRAEL.” The Philistines fell before Jonathan and his armour-bearer.
CLIMB UP!: I spent the night reading the Scriptures and held on to 1 Samuel Chapter 14: 7. I had been down deep in the valley and hiding in a cave the past 1 week. I felt the whole world on my shoulders. Despite my faith in God, still my lips were dry and my heart was beating fast because I was afraid. Never ever felt like a patient before surgery, and that too major surgery, and this time it was me. But the message from God was clear – CLIMB UP! My armour-bearer was my eldest son Jeremy. He had just graduated as a doctor and the Lord had prepared his life for this moment…to be my armour-bearer. Jeremy never left my side the whole day. He sat with me and made sure I did all my breathing exercises the night before surgery. He never left my side. I could hear his heart telling me: “Dad, I am with you heart and soul”. He sat on the bed with me and together we watched a video of Hill Songs Concert ‘This is Our God’. This song became my theme song throughout my stay in hospital. The message was clear: “Climb up” – The Lord our God will deliver you – “This is Our God”.
THIS IS OUR GOD
I was now alone in my room with my Lord. Now came the most difficult moment in my whole life. It is at final cutting moments like this when you write down the things most dear and precious to you for those whom you love the most. After the Lord’s resurrection, when the eleven disciples met Jesus in Galilee, Jesus gave the great commission that was closest to his heart: Go and make disciples of all the nations…Matthew 28: 19. I wrote 4 letters – to my wife and 3 children each – I poured out my heart and soul. I thanked each one for all they had been, done and meant in my life. Especially to my 3 children I wrote all what I expected out of them as children of God. It was difficult holding back the tears but I know the Lord’s Spirit was with me. We should always ‘Give Thanks to God’ before the trial, during the trial and after the trial…always in everything, give thanks because He is our God, Jesus of Nazareth.
“COME TO ME…”
Oswald Chambers writes in today’s reading August 19, 2014: Self-Awareness: It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking the Lord to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him. Never allow anything that divides or destroys your oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. And the only solution is a very simple one – “Come to Me…” The intellectual, moral, spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words.
“Climb Up”…yes Lord, but…I still was hoping and praying for a visible ‘sign’ like the one God gave to Jonathan. So I prayed that in the morning of the surgery, the next day 20th August, 2011, the Lord will answer my prayers and He will give me a ‘sign’ that the Lord is with me and my family. Never ever give up praying the desires of your heart because God is faithful even to the faithless. Amen!
August 18 at 7.30 am – A Taste of Torah – Keren Hannah (his-israel.com); Ken Boa Reflection Ministries (www.kenboa.org)
A COVENANT OF LOVE
16 / 08 – 22 / 08 Ekev – Because Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25; Isaiah 49:14-51:3
(A Taste of Torah: apcod.wordpress.com/a-taste-of-torah-august)
Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which He sware unto thy fathers:…And He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee:…Thou shalt be blessed above all people: Deuteronomy 7:12-13
A Covenant of Love: What motivates covenant? With God and with Christ is love (Deuteronomy 7: 9; John 15: 12). I have always pondered on this eternal fact: Even before the creation of the world, there was love because God is Love (1 John 4: 8). Let us stop and think about this for a moment. Before there was the sun, moon and stars, there was love. Eternity is full of love because God is love. If there is another thing I lack (the first being lack of total devotion to God – August 17 reflections) is the continual debt I owe to love God with all my heart, and soul, and mind, my family and friends. This failure and weakness to love beyond myself is because of the plague within my own heart and this journey ‘to make peace with God’ is to allow the Holy Spirit to search my own heart and reveal those areas that are offensive to God.
God’s love is agape love, unconditional love. The Old Testament concept of covenant love: between God and Abraham, between Jonathan and David (1 Samuel 23:18) has “oneness” as its root meaning and always made before the LORD. This is best expressed in the words of Jesus Himself when the Lord declared to the Jews, “I and the Father are one” John 10: 30. In the New Testament this concept of “oneness” is expressed as its root meaning in the word ‘koinonia’ meaning “Fellowship”.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard
This is a powerful and true statement because it is so difficult to maintain an eternal paradigm of living in covenantal love with God and neighbor (family and friends) because we do not think much of eternity. The concept of covenant love is always eternal. I know that I would have lived my life in the fear of God and walked right before a Holy God if I had the end in mind all the time. Because the children of Israel could not see the ‘end’ in sight of crossing the Jordan into the promised land where God would dwell with them, take care of them, feed them, protect them and watch over them, what was a 11-day journey took 40 years in the wilderness. Why?…to test their hearts if they truly loved God and would follow His commandments. ‘Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. Deuteronomy 8: 2’
Keren Hannah writes in ‘A Taste of Torah’: Ekev, fittingly carries the confirmation of God’s covenant with His people, “It will come to pass, ekev, because of, your hearing these social ordinances and carrying them out with care, that the Lord your God will keep for you the covenant and lovingkindness that He swore to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 7:12). The word Ekev compares with the Hebrew word for heel. In the light of the context, we could say that the blessings of God follow on the ‘heels’ of our obedience. As we willingly heed and obey His commandments, statutes and ordinances, our focus should not be on the rewards to be reaped; rather our joy should stem from hearing the Word of God and wholeheartedly applying it to our lives for His glory. As loving children, we do this in order to please our Father in heaven. Then, He assures us, His blessings will follow.
In The Weight of Glory, C.S.Lewis says: We are all immortal creatures, destined either to live an eternal, resurrected existence with Jesus Christ or destined to successfully have avoided God and His claims and to live in a Christless eternity. These are our only options.
May God grant us the grace to obey our Lord’s command to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength because, ”ekev‘, if we follow these ordinances of right living, this pleases our God and Father in Heaven to bless our lives and ties with one another in Christ Jesus. Amen!
“Bless be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.”
Rev Dr John Fawcett wrote this hymn in 1772 to convey his sentiments and that of his wife to the poor people of a little village church in Wainsgate, England where they had chosen to live. He was supposed to move to a larger church but the love and affection of the people for the Fawcetts compelled him to stay and serve them. And that he did for the rest of his life – 54 years in all.
- Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
- Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts, and our cares.
- We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
- When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
August 17 at 6.30 am – My Utmost for His Highest
ARE YOU DISCOURAGED OR DEVOTED?
“…Jesus…said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.’ But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich”. Luke 18: 22-23
It is difficult to not feel discouraged and in despair when faced with the challenges and perplexities of our daily life’s journey and at the same time stay totally devoted to the Lord wholeheartedly. In my life, it is a struggle. 3 years ago today, I was so deeply shocked, saddened, and feeling so deeply discouraged when I learnt on August 11, 2011 that I had advanced coronary heart disease. I still lacked one thing: Total trust and commitment to wait upon the Lord wholeheartedly. At that point in time my only thoughts were myself, my family, my clinic, my finance, my possessions, and my future. In my mind was I wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus? The truthful answer was…No. I was holding on desperately to my faith in Jesus of Nazareth but my heart and soul was not totally and unconditionally devoted to the Lord. I can recall only ONE other occasion in my life when I was faced with a similar degree of discouragement and lack of total devotion to Jesus until I was forced to surrender my life and family to the Lord Jesus. My soul was downcast, I thought I was finished financially when the Lord said clearly to me: ‘Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.’ It broke my heart. I was deeply sorrowful but the outcome was transformational because it changed the course of my life. On this occasion it ended with my heart and soul totally devoted and sold out for Jesus!
It was August 1997, 17 years ago, and the great Asian financial crisis had just occurred a month earlier. We had just moved into our own brand new home in Austral Park, Kota Kinabalu. I remember taking my eldest son Jeremy to the plot of land when we first purchased the property and I planted a flag in the center of that empty plot of prime land and I said these words: “This is my piece of land. Mine! I did it!” and said a prayer thanking God for it. The financial crisis hit me badly and even though we had 3 properties in hand, I heard Jesus say something very difficult and unyielding to me: ‘Sell all that you have…and come follow Me!’ It was painful, it was humiliating, to move my family out from our newly possessed home of a few months only but God was bringing us out from there to bring us in…into His Kingdom to serve Him only. The plot of land we surrendered measured 10,000 sq feet and our new home till today measures 1300 sq feet of condominium space. This loss was my eternal gain. It changed the course and direction of my life forever. The rest of the journey is now HIS-story. From total discouragement to wholehearted devotion to serve God only.
“We were slaves in Egypt…But God brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land He promised on oath to our forefathers. Deuteronomy 6:21,23
Oswald Chambers writes: Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all. Jesus did not show the least concern that this rich young ruler (in Luke 18: 22-23) should do what He told him, nor did Jesus make any attempt to keep this man with Him. He simply said to him, “Sell all that you have…and come follow Me.” Jesus spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone. This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart. He went away sorrowful and discouraged. The words of Jesus simply shook him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. I wonder what we will say when we finally make up our minds to be devoted to Jesus? One thing is certain – Jesus will never throw our past failure back in our faces.
Have I ever heard Jesus say something difficult and unyielding to me? Yes! “Sell your house and …come follow Me!” Follow Me!: Total devotion to God requires total devotion of our heart, soul, mind and body to the will of God. Self-indulgence, inappropriate affection and cravings for the sinful desires of the world and all its passions can empty us of the full pleasure of seeking after the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord. Are you discouraged or devoted? What are you devoted to? Where does your devotion intersect with your desire? Its a struggle for me because of the plague in my own heart but by God’s grace…I will finish this race to make peace with God.
This is my prayer that despite how discouraging our worldly circumstances may find us in, may the grace and mercies of God continually draw us close to God and together stand at the foot of the Cross of Christ and plead for more wisdom from the throne of grace to stay totally devoted in both heart and soul to serve God wholeheartedly. Amen!
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,…Philippians 3: 8, KJV
Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon build the sanctuary of the LORD God: Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. 1 Chronicles 22: 19
August 16 at 7.00 am – My Utmost for His Highest
DOES HE KNOW ME…?
“He calls His own…by name…” John 10: 3
Does He know me? Does Jesus really, really, really know me? I must honestly admit that despite all the visible miracles of God I have been a witness to since February 1995 and despite all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me and my family over all these many years, there have been instances when I have asked myself: Does God really know what I am going through? Is God really there? Does he know my struggles? I know the many times I wanted to ‘throw in the towel’ and give up doing the APCOD Consultations on Discipleship these past 14 years since 2001 because of the arrows thrown and inflicted against me personally. Does He really know me…? And it is in these situations when I know I have quenched and grieved the Holy Spirit in questioning whether God’s presence is with me. As I have shared my journey these 5 days from August 11 to August 15, 2011, here I was AGAIN in Kuala Lumpur, looking for a visible ‘sign’ of assurance that God was with me during the trial and difficult time I was going through while waiting for the scheduled date of my open heart surgery on August 20, 2011. Even after experiencing and seeing the extraordinary provisions of God to enable me to direct 4 International Discipleship Consultations in 4 nations since 2001, the question remained: Did I really know my Jesus of Nazareth? Did I really know God and place my whole trust in Him to be with me during this dark and lonely walk with a cloud of uncertainty over me. When the tyre hits the road and all things seem to come to a dead end, it is at times like this when we need to ask ourselves if we really know our Lord Jesus more than just our personal Savior but as the One true living God who keeps His covenant of lovingkindness and faithfulness with those He calls His own…by name?
Oswald Chambers writes: When I have sadly misunderstood Him? Is it possible to know all about doctrine and still not know Jesus? A person’s soul is in grave danger when the knowledge of doctrine surpasses Jesus, avoiding intimate touch with Him. In John 20: 14, 16, Jesus called out to Mary by her name and immediately she knew it was the Lord because she had a personal history with the Lord. She turned and said to Jesus, ‘Rabboni’ John 20: 16.
When I have stubbornly doubted Jesus? John 20:24-29 Have I been doubting something about Jesus? When the disciples said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord” (John 20: 25), Thomas doubted saying, “Unless I see…I will not believe” John 20: 25. Thomas needed a personal touch of Jesus. When His touches will come we will never know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious. “Thomas…said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” John 20: 28
When I have selfishly denied Him? John 21: 15- 17 Peter denied Jesus several times and yet after His resurrection Jesus appeared to him alone and restored Peter publicly in front of his friends. And Peter said to the Lord, “Lord…You know that I love You”. John 21: 17
From a heart of stubborn doubt and selfish denial to a heart full of abundant grace and mercy, it was the Apostle Peter who, on the shores at the Sea of Tiberias, on hearing these words “It is the Lord” by the Apostle John that it was Jesus the risen Lord standing on the shore waiting for them…yes, it was Peter who quickly wrapped his outer garment around himself and was the first to jump into the water and the first to run and embrace his Lord, Savior and Master. John 21: 7 Jesus said, “Repent and believe…”. Mark 1: 15 There is no faith without repentance.
I know that waiting for a visible ‘sign’ to assure me that Jesus was with me through this trial and struggle of uncertainty was a result of stubborn doubt and selfish denial. How I wanted to hear the words and see a visible ‘sign’ and say, “It is the Lord!” but the Lord’s denials are not refusals to walk with us and abide with us and meet with us at any time in our own journey of having misunderstood the saving grace of God. The one true sign of authentic discipleship to Jesus is intimate oneness with Christ alone – a knowledge of Jesus that nothing can shake.
Does He know me…? Yes, He calls each one of us His own…by name. Amen!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17: 3, KJV
August 15 at 7.30 am – FAITH’s Checkbook – Charles Spurgeon, A Taste of Torah – Keren Hannah
A NAME GUARANTEE
And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13
This morning I just sat at my desk and prayed. That is all I wanted to do. I thought of the time this week 3 years ago in Kuala Lumpur waiting for the 20th of August, my D-Day for heart surgery and what a season of distress it was and my soul had found relief only in and through prayer. Just being called a ‘heart patient’ was traumatic. Suddenly sitting amongst a sea of heart patients at the National Heart Centre was also traumatic. The station nurse would call my name: Dr Edward Charles…room 141…I would carry my large file and quietly go into the room to see the Cardiologist while all eyes were looking at me…a doctor…a heart patient? But all I could do was …pray. “Lord Jesus…please walk with me…please.” No one will know nor understand the walk is a lonely and deeply painful walk because the future was uncertain and I was afraid. Me of little faith! I was still looking for that ‘sign’ that God was with me. I knew the Scriptures…I listened to all the songs for encouragement and strength but I still wanted a ‘sign’ that all will be well. And in the midst of all the uncertainties I was facing…I prayed.
My only vocation during this one week was…to pray. I was not on holiday…I was not attending a conference, I was not at a Christian retreat…I was waiting to undergo major open heart surgery. Who to talk to…but to God. It is at times like this when we are in the valley or at wit’s end when prayer is all we can and are called to do. And the Scripture teaches us to give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you and for me. Give thanks…YES, because if God did not intervene, I would be no more and this Journal would not have come to pass. It is only by the grace and mercies of God that the Lord meets us at every turn of our journey in this life.
Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18, KJV
August 15: FAITH’s Checkbook: Charles Spurgeon writes: Not every believer has learned to pray in Christ’s Name. To ask not only for His sake, but in His Name, as authorized by Him, is the high order of prayer. We would not dare to ask for anything in that blessed Name, for it would be a wretched profanation of it; but when the petition is so clearly right that we dare set the Name of Jesus to it, then it must be granted by faith.
Prayer is all the more to succeed because it is the Father’s glory through the Son. It glorifies His truth, His faithfulness, His power, and His grace. The granting of prayer, when offered in the Name of Jesus, reveals the Father’s love for the Son, and the honor that God has put upon His Son. The glory of Jesus and of the Father is ONE and the grace magnifying one magnifies the other. The channel is made famous through the fullness of the fountain, and the fountain is honoured through the channel by which it flows. The answering of our prayers honours the Lord and so we will pray without ceasing in the wonderful Name of Jesus.
Keren Hannah writes: Moses urgently proclaims to the people of Israel: “And now, O Israel, hear the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you today … so that you may live and possess the Land” (Deuteronomy 4:1). When we truly hear Him our response involves every aspect of our lives. “Sh’ma Yisrael—Hear O Israel—the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might…” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). To achieve this goal, Moses exhorts the people to “…fear the Lord your God” and to “…teach [His Word] to your children” (Deuteronomy 4:10).
Let this be our plea from our hearts in this sweet hour of prayer this morning: Dear Lord, the LORD our God, The LORD is One. And we shall love the LORD our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind and with all our strength. Amen!
William W. Walford, a blind English minister, was the author, and this hymn ‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ was written about the year 1842. It was recited to Rev. Thomas Salmon, Congregational pastor at Coleshill, England, who took it down and brought it to New York, where it was published in the New York Observer. He memorized a huge amount of the Bible which he quoted verbatim in his sermons. Mr. Walford besides preaching occasionally, he employed his mechanical skill in making useful articles of bone and ivory. And he prayed.
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
August 14 at 6.30 am – My Utmost for His Highest
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him” Hebrews 12: 5
In his book The Life God Blesses (A Must-Read), author and pastor Gordon MacDonald asks the question: Are we prepared to weather the storms of life? How does one prepare the soul to meet the challenges we face as Christians called to ‘Walk in the light as children of the light’? He draws repeated reference to the areas ‘below the waterline’ that no one can see except God. Until a ship is brought into the dry dock, only then can we repair those areas below the waterline that are so important to keep the ship afloat and avoid any shipwreck.
A Slice from The Heart: A Doctor’s Journey to Make Peace with God: When I started this blog a month ago on July 8, 2014, I knew deep in my heart and soul and mind that it was time to ask God to seek out those innermost dark areas of my life ‘below the waterline’ that quenched the Spirit of God and only God can see and examine and convict by His Spirit the plague in my own heart 1 Kings 8: 38 (read ‘About me’) . I had reached a stage in my life’s own journey where I recognized that God had engineered crisis after crisis after crisis to bring me back to the same point in my life to deal with those dark areas of the soul that needed repentance and restoration. This day August 14, 2011, this week 3 years ago, the Lord Jesus, my ‘Elijah’, was preparing me for major open heart surgery and heal my physical heart – my advanced coronary heart disease. When I looked at my coronary angiogram report on August 12, 2011, I was shocked how over many years this silent killer disease had eaten away all 3 of my major arteries to the heart. The 3 major vessels looked like 3 moth-eaten threads and I was living by the pure grace and mercies of God alone. I was in Kuala Lumpur waiting for the scheduled date for my heart surgery, walking and talking with my ‘Elijah’ Jesus of Nazareth through the dark night of the soul that was ‘living under the shadow of death’. I was scared, I was worried, I was lonely, my soul was downcast and I had only Jesus to hold my hand. Still there was “no tangible sign” God was with me and I was desperately looking for one sign every day as I walked and talked with my Lord while preparing myself for the 20th of August, the day of my heart surgery.
Today, 3 years later I had finally come to my own “Jordan” (Gratitude Journal August 11) , to my own “Jericho” (Gratitude Journal August 12) and now to my own “Bethel”. God in His mercy and grace was now dealing with ‘the plague in my own spiritual heart‘ – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life 1 John 2: 16. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6: 23
Oswald Chambers writes in the August 11 reading of ‘My Utmost for His Highest’: 2 Kings 2: 11-23
Alone at Your “Bethel” (2 Kings 2: 23): At your “Bethel” you will find yourself at your end but at the beginning of God’s wisdom. Stand true to God and He will bring out His truth in a way that will make your life an expression of worship. Put into practice what you learned while with your “Elijah” – use his mantle and pray (2 Kings 2: 13-14). Make a determination to trust in God.
In Jerusalem, during the Shavuot (Pentecost) Conference in May 1996, the Holy Spirit inscribed this verse of Scripture in my heart during the message by Derek Prince: I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but has not given me over to death. Psalm 118: 17-18 It is only now, after 18 years, that I am beginning to understand the (full) meaning of ‘chastened me severely’ and I must allow the Lord to continue to chastise me so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own but that which comes from God through faith in Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3: 7-12)
Oswald Chambers in today’s reading of August 14 writes: It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God; we do it by despising the discipline of the Lord, or becoming discouraged when God rebukes us. Being set apart from sin and being made holy through the process of sanctification is the work of God, the Holy Spirit. “Don’t be blind on this point anymore. Until now I have not been able to reveal this to you, but I’m revealing it to you right now”. When the Lord disciplines you like that, let Him have His way with you. Allow Him to put you into a right-standing relationship before God. Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me – sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me. But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where I will allow Him to sanctify me completely, whatever the cost.
Charles Spurgeon writes in FAITH’S Checkbook: August 14: Chastisement Not Forever – In the family of grace there is discipline, and that discipline is severe enough to make it an evil and bitter thing to sin. The LORD will chasten His best beloved servants if they cease from full obedience to His laws. Let us humbly cry, “O Lord, ‘show me wherefore thou contendest with me‘ Job 10:2.” The punishment of sin is everlasting, but the fatherly chastisement of it in a child of God is but for a season. The depression of the spirit will pass away when the chastisement has had its intended effect. The rod may make us smart, but the sword will not make us die. Our present struggle as the result of unholy conduct is meant to bring us to repentance.
How much more personal can this meditation on God’s Holy Word and remembrance of God’s grace and mercies in our lives be for us this morning? Starting this blog and writing these conversations with God has richly blessed me to come to the Cross in penitence and plead for His mercy and more grace upon my life.
I pray it has been a blessing for you too to walk with me along this ‘Journey to Make Peace with God‘ and allow the Lord to search both your heart and mine so God can have His way in us all in order that our whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. THE ONE WHO CALLS YOU AND ME IS FAITHFUL AND HE WILL DO IT. AMEN!
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; Avoid every kind of evil. May God Himself, God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:19, 22, 23-24
Please pray and sing this wonderful hymn with me this morning and be blessed:
(Adelaide Pollard was forty-five years old when in 1907 she visited a prayer meeting, where she was inspired to write her most famous hymn. It was a simple phrase from a simple but sincere prayer that impressed her. For in offering her prayer, an elderly woman omitted the usual beseeching of the Lord to shower blessings upon her and the prayer meeting group, but instead she told God that it didn’t matter what he brought into their lives, but “Just have your own way with us”. As Adelaide left the prayer meeting that night the phrase from that prayer, “Have Thine own way”, rang in her mind. On the way home she formed the lyrics in her mind and before going to bed that night, she wrote the words on paper.)
- Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
- Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
- Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
- Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
August 13 at 6.30 am – My Utmost for His Highest
“DO NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT”
“Do not quench the Spirit” 1 Thessalonians 5:19
The definition of the word “quench” in the English dictionary carries two meanings: to satisfy a desire eg to satisfy (one’s thirst) by drinking ; he only pursued her to quench an aching need OR to extinguish (a fire) eg firemen hauled on hoses in a desperate bid to quench the flames.
The word “quench” when used in Scripture is speaking of suppressing fire. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a baptism of fire dwelling in each believer. The Holy Spirit is a person and when we receive the baptism of the Spirit of God, there is a fire that fills our heart, soul, body, mind and strength waiting to express Himself in our actions and attitudes. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” writes the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:19). The fire of the Holy Spirit burns within our heart, soul, mind and within our innermost being that when we do wrong through our own self-indulgence, we suppress or quench the Spirit of God and we do not allow the Spirit of the living God to reveal Himself the way He wants to. As disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, when we put on the shield of faith, as part of the armor of God (Ephesians 6:16), they are extinguishing the power of the fiery darts from Satan and we are protected from all harm and evil.
However, there is ONE place where the fire is not “quenched”. No firemen can extinguish these flames. Jesus gave this warning in Mark 9: 42-48, NIV. I type these verses of Scripture so the Word of God will speak to my own heart as well:
“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where:
“’their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”
“’their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’” Jesus spoke of the eternal judgment of God where the eternal flames of fire burn in hell for those who cause to continually sin and quench the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus quoted this verse of Scripture from the last words of prophecy from the prophet Isaiah regarding the judgment of God upon those who reject and rebel against God:
“…all mankind will come and bow down before Me,” says the LORD. “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against Me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” Isaiah 66:24
As I write (type) this journal at 5.30am this morning, I know the Holy Spirit is speaking to me personally. The Spirit of the living God possesses personality and only a person can be grieved. Jesus our Lord is fully human and fully divine and therefore His Spirit is grieved, because He too is grieved when we sin. The Apostle Paul writing to the Church in Ephesus: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, and that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 Two days ago I had a misunderstanding with my wife and I responded in a rage of anger. I know that unwholesome words were spoken against her spirit and my daughter Sarah was listening in the room. I had grieved the Spirit of the Lord in both of them including my daughter. I know it because when I asked Sarah to come and join my wife and I for prayer as my wife was leaving for another city by flight and on her way to the airport, Sarah stood next to me but her body was turned away from me and she could not look at me in the face. I know deep in my heart and soul I had quenched the Spirit of the living God in both my loved ones by my actions and words. Yes, the plague in my own heart continues to wage a war against my soul and only Jesus my Lord and Savior can and will heal me if I truly repent and spread my hands towards the living God and beg for mercy.
The Apostle Paul explains further: We quench the Spirit by living like the pagans (Ephesians 4:17-19), by lying (Ephesians 4:25), by being angry (Ephesians 4:26-27), by stealing (Ephesians 4:28), by cursing (Ephesians 4:29), by being bitter (Ephesians 4:31), by being unforgiving (Ephesians 4:32), and by being sexually immoral (Ephesians 5:3-5). I know I have quenched the Holy Spirit many times by acting out in a sinful manner, whether in my thoughts or both in my thoughts and actions (deeds) repeatedly.
Oswald Chambers writes: Suppose God brings you to a crisis and you almost endure it, but not completely. God will engineer the crisis again and again. But if you continue to grieve His Spirit, there will come a time when that crisis cannot be repeated, because YOU HAVE TOTALLY QUENCHED HIS SPIRIT. But if you will go through the crisis, your life will become a hymn of praise to God. The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze – so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will NEVER hear it. The sense of warning and restraint that the Spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways. And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it, and your spiritual life will be impaired. If you have put your “hand to the plough” and are walking in the light, there is no “looking back”. Whenever the Spirit gives you that sense of restraint, call a halt and make things right, or else you will go on quenching and grieving Him without even knowing it.
I started this morning reflection by giving two meanings to the word: quench. The second meaning is – to satisfy a desire eg to satisfy (one’s thirst) by drinking . This is my prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please grant me the grace that I do not continually quench your Holy Spirit by my carnal ways of the flesh but help me to satisfy ALL my desires to quench my thirst for Your Holy Spirit and to be continually filled by Your Spirit so my life will be lived from a heart that seeks after Your heart every moment of the day.
Jesus Himself stood and cried on the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles, saying:
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7: 37-38, KJV
August 12 at 7.45 am – My Utmost for His Highest
RESTING IN GOD
“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Matthew 8:26
‘…for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.’ Psalm 57, KJV
August 12, 2011: Preparation for Open Heart Bypass Surgery: As a diagnosed heart patient with advanced coronary heart disease, for the first time in my life I was now experiencing what it is to be a patient! Living under the shadow of death was real for me. King David, a man after God’s own heart, at a time of great trial and despair focused on the God of his forefathers when he wrote in Psalm 57, KJV: …for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
As a doctor we see patients every day that at times we become numb and insensitive to the feelings, anxieties, worries, uncertainties, doubts that patients face especially when one has to undergo a life-threatening major operation such as open heart bypass surgery. The thought of having to use a saw to open my chest was scary. The thought of my heart being stopped was even more scary. What if I do not wake up? What if I start bleeding and there is not enough blood because I was a B – ve patient and this is a relatively rare blood group! What made it most difficult for me was because as a doctor I knew too much. What I did not know was how to rest in God. I was a witness to the miracles God had done before my own eyes. On August 6 in my Gratitude Journal I shared the miracle of the healing grace and power of God to heal a 2 year old child suffering from deep scald (hot water) burns. It was a miracle and yet I did not know how to rest in God. Despite all the blessings and all the miracles, my faith was as small as a mustard seed! I had reached my “Jericho”.
Oswald Chambers writes: Alone at Your “Jericho” (taken from My Utmost for His Highest August 11 reading of 2 Kings 2: 13-15): Jericho represents the place where you have seen your “Elijah” do great things. Yet when you come alone to your “Jericho”, you have a strong reluctance to take the initiative and trust in God. But if you remain true to what you have learned while with your “Elijah”, you will receive a sign that God is with you.
“Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” asked Elisha in 2 Kings 2:14.
28 years in the wilderness, 19 years after the baptism of the Holy Spirit on February 22nd 1996, I had seen God’s presence through 4 APCOD Discipleship Consultations in 4 nations and yet I was scared, unsure of how my surgery would go, worried about the finance of my clinic…my family…my daughter Sarah…the cloud over my head was getting bigger and bigger. There was no sign from heaven that God was with me on earth! I felt alone and scared. Me of little faith! Everything seemed to come against me all at the same time. Where now was my Lord?
Again Oswald Chambers writes: When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the ones who are reliable. Yet our trust is only in God up to a certain point, then we turn back to the elementary panic-stricken prayers of those people who do not even know God. It is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crises will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking, yet without breaking our confidence in Him. We can only rest in God when there is total oneness with God. And this oneness will make us not only blameless in His sight, but also a profound joy to the Lord.
I was totally and emotionally exhausted and so weary of my own self just trying to get ‘my house’ in order. But as I continued to walk and talk with my “Elijah” Jesus of Nazareth each day, I found new life and strength and joy in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. Although there was still no ‘sign’ that God was with me during this crisis, I held on tightly to my faith in Jesus and continued to sing my favourite worship songs to my Lord: Blessed be the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!
One of the most original and famous works in all of literature, the world’s first psychological “autobiography” is ‘Confessions’ by Augustine of Hippo. It will be his testimony of God’s interaction with a soul that has found rest in its Creator. Heart bursting with the reality of God, he addresses his manuscript directly to the Lord as one long prayer and meditation—a prayer and meditation that will take him five years to complete. He dips his quill and begins, “Great are you, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your power, and your wisdom is infinite.” In contrast to God, he muses, what is man? Yet there is a connection between the two. Humans, such a small part of creation and short-lived as they are, still find a need to praise God. In spite of sin, each feels the longing to reach out to his Creator. Why is this? He realizes it is the doing of God. “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” – excerpts from the Christian History Institute
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” Augustine of Hippo in Confessions
And when we pray, it is a bridge between panic and peace. Joyce Gladys Lee – A Must-Watch; What is Love?
August 11 at 7.20 am – My Utmost for His Highest
THIS EXPERIENCE MUST COME
“Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven, And Elisha….saw him no more” 2 Kings 2: 11-12
Oswald Chambers writes: It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say. “I cannot continue without my ‘Elijah.’” Yet God says you must continue.
THIS EXPERIENCE MUST COME: At some stage in our Christian walk we would each have found our own ‘Elijah’. For some, God would have placed a spiritual mentor in our journey to walk with us through our experiences in the day to day life in this world as a disciple of Jesus. August 11 to August 20th would become a time in my life that I will never ever forget because it was an experience that had to come and I had to say, “I cannot continue without my ‘Elijah.’” Yet God said I must.
August 11th 2011: 3 years ago on this day August 11th I was diagnosed with Advanced Coronary Heart Disease with severe damage to the 3 main arterial blood vessels that supply my heart. I was now a registered heart patient. A CT Angiogram had been done and I was now sitting alone outside the room of the Consultant Cardiologist at the National Heart Centre in Kuala Lumpur with a large Hospital folder containing all my charts, files, x-rays and referral letters tucked under my right arm waiting for my turn to be called. The half-hour wait seemed like a slice from infinity! I saw my life go by and within the next 2 days the diagnosis was re-confirmed with a coronary angiogram and I was now booked for Open Heart Bypass Surgery on Saturday 20th August 2011. I was given 1 week to put ‘my house’ in order.
My ‘Elijah’ was Jesus of Nazareth. If there was any time in my life that I knew “I cannot continue without my ‘Elijah.’” was now. As a surgeon myself, I knew the risks. I knew that my heart would have to be stopped and connected to a heart-lung machine to pump the blood through my body. I knew all the risks involved. I also knew that death was real. Like Elisha seeing Elijah no more, I knew that the risk of my family not being able to see me anymore was also real. Complications can occur and I knew them all because I had spent a major part of my life in the operating theatre as a surgeon. My emotions were heavy and painful, my thoughts were soul-searching and deep but my faith in Jesus my ‘Elijah’ was strong. I was all alone and I knew deep within my soul that I had reached my “Jordan”. I had been through many trials and struggles before but this one was different. I was alone with my ‘Elijah’, Jesus of Nazareth, my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, my All. There was no way I could continue without my ‘Elijah’. Yet God said I must.
Oswald Chambers writes: Alone at Your “Jordan” 2 Kings 2:14 – The Jordan River represents the type of separation where you have no fellowship with anyone else, and where no one else can take your responsibility from you. You now have to put to the test what you learned when you were with your “Elijah”. You have been to the Jordan over and over again with Elijah, but now you are facing it alone. There is no use in saying that you cannot go – the experience is here, and you must go. If you truly want to know whether or not God is the God your faith believes Him to be, then go through your “Jordan” alone.
So the two of them walked on…2 Kings 2: 6; As they were walking along and talking together,..2 Kings 2: 11: Both Elijah and Elisha walked from Samaria to Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho to the river Jordan. The 9 days from August 11 till August 20 were like 9 months…9 years…each day seemed like eternity and I had never ‘walked and talked‘ with Jesus my ‘Elijah’ as much as I did these 9 days. There were so many questions: What is going to happen to my family? What is going to happen to…? What if I do not make it through? How come I did not know this was happening to my heart vessels? No chest pain…no heart attack…ECG was inconclusive…Treadmill was ‘normal’ but I only knew I had to cross my “Jordan” alone. I had to carry my own files, go through each investigation alone. Only by the grace of God did I manage to walk with my ‘Elijah’ those 9 long days. How wonderful the grace of God. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
THIS EXPERIENCE MUST COME: At some point in our journey in all our lives this experience of being totally alone with God must come. When Elijah told Elisha on 3 occasions that the LORD had instructed him to go to Bethel, Jericho and the Jordan, Elisha had only one reply: As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you. 2 Kings 2: 2,4,6 No matter when our “Jordan” arrives, the Lord Jesus has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us, even to the ends of the earth.
During those 9 days of ‘walking and talking‘ with my ‘Elijah’ Jesus of Nazareth, I saw the condition of both my spiritual and physical heart. Even though my coronary heart vessels have been grafted with ‘new pipelines’, the plague in my own heart‘ continues to be exposed by my ‘Elijah’ Jesus. Like Elisha I can only say and pray with confidence: “Lord Jesus, As surely as my Redeemer lives, and I live, Lord please grant me the grace to never leave you Lord and take not thy Holy Spirit from me, please have mercy on me.” Please pray this Psalm with me:
I will not die but live, and I will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death. Psalm 118: 17-18, NIV
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. Psalm 118: 26, NIV
BARUCH HABA B’SHEM ADONAI – BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!