Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Miracle Crusade--Jesus' Style

Have you been to healing or miracle crusades? Or the mega church events when healing is the centrepiece? They claim lots of miracles happening. Most of what I have witnessed have been very silly to be called miracles. In one case, a woman who wears glasses came to the meeting leaving them at home by accident. However, she realised that during the meeting as the preacher was praying that she was able to see without glasses. However, she travelled to the meeting without glasses and found her place in the auditorium without glasses before she received the healing prayer. Though these may sound silly, I will still not discredit miracles and divine healing. A few counterfeits cannot disprove the genuine.
However, there is another kind of miraculous power that these miracle workers exhibit. That is calling out the names of people and their problems. These come in various forms. In some cases, only the problem will be announced. Consider this example:
"There is a person who has severe stomach problem! Come forward? God wants to heal you." Sometimes one person just walks to the front. Others who have the same problem remain in their seats seeing this guy walking up. Usually, they call out most of the sicknesses in the medical dictionary. Once, a preacher called all the people suffering from "fibroids" to stand up to receive healing. Among those who stood up were three or four men. The preacher asked the men to sit down clarifying that it is a disease found only in women.
Calling out names is another tool to impress people. Here is a sampler. "Thomas! You are worried about your future! God want to tell you that all that you need is to put your trust in Him." The crowd cheers, shouting hallelujahs for the great discerning the preacher has! Once, a preacher came to the city where I presently live. There was a mixed crowd of Christians and non-Christians. In the state where I live people of other faiths who become Christian usually do not change their names. So, it is difficult to tell if a person is Christian from their names! The preacher started calling out names during the service! All the names he called out were Christian names. So, that evening, God bypassed believers who carry non-Christian names.
The way of Jesus is different. When the woman with bleeding touched him, he asked who touched him (Mark 5:24-34). Was Jesus ignorant of this woman touching him? Certainly, not. Why didn't Jesus announce her sickness, her name and ask her to come forward so that the crowd may believe?  The answer is simple, he had no need to impress others by his miraculous powers. He had passed that test in the very beginning of his ministry when the Devil tempted him. Spiritual gifts are not for impressing people, it is to glorify God. Next time when you go for a miracle crusade or watching a Christian TV channel don't get discouraged that the preacher did not address you or your problem. Don't get excited as well if that happens. For two reasons: God knows you and your problems well. Second, if the preacher does that, it is not he but the Holy Spirit who enables him to do that. So, return the glory to God.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Walking past the poor and needy.

He used to smile at me and I was prompt in returning that smile. Our relationship ended there. However, one day, I just watched him closely as he walked towards me. The trouser and shirt that he wore did not appear to be made for him. It seemed obvious that it was old clothes altered to fit his body. I noticed that sign of poverty and pondered over it. I never bothered to ask his name.
I wanted to buy him some new clothes that fit him. But had my own apprehensions: will he accept it, will he consider it as too much patronising? What if my judgment of his financial situation was wrong? Will it be taken as an insult? I didn't bother to find out more about him and thus put it all these questions to rest. A few months later he just moved away and I never saw him again.
A few months later I heard the story of a young man dying of cancer. I was told that his family is poor and they cannot afford the treatment. Some people started raising funds to help him. I also made my contribution to the fund. The community that he and me were part of were diligently praying for his healing.
Still a few months later, I was told that the sick young man passed away. They had a memorial for him. As they projected his recent photograph on to the screen I was shocked! That is the same person who used to smile at me wearing old clothes.
He was really poor, could not afford proper clothes and medical treatment. When he walked past me, I ignored him. I feel guilty. There are poor among us, but we just look through them. Never, try to find out anything more about them. It is not just the desire to do good but doing it is important.

IS LIFE TOO HARD? Cast your burdens on Jesus by yoking with him

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