Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Humble Before the Lord

Last week I celebrated the first anniversary of two events that changed my life forever. Those two events taught me some very important lessons. They taught me that God’s grace is sufficient and that I am to be humble not only before the Lord but also to act humbly as a servant.

It was one year ago that I was admitted to a local hospital with a life-threatening illness. According to the members of my healthcare team, I was within hours of dying in a most horrific and painful way. What other doctors thought was a simple sinus infection or sinusitis turned out to be a very rare infection that required two surgeries that resulted in the removal of most of the bone in and near my right sinus and the right side of my palate. During the battle to save my life, I endured medical treatments that many describe as the worst and most terrible. I underwent treatments that were almost as devastating as chemo and equally as fraught with horrible side-effects and danger. 

For weeks and months on end, I suffered through this illness and its treatment with only the love and prayers of my wife, family, friends and, most importantly, the grace and love of the Lord. Each day was a challenge to get through. I lost over 70 pounds and most of my hair. The medications that I was taking were extremely expensive. Between battling the illness and dealing with the crushing medical expenses, I felt that I was doomed and would not survive both or either of those battles.

All along the way, I tried very hard to remain faithful to our Heavenly Father. Each day was a struggle. There were moments during my treatment when I was literally on my hands and knees with tears pouring to the floor. I cried out to the Lord and asked why I had to endure all of this. I prayed for the miracle of complete and instantaneous healing, but did not realize it.

During all of this I remember the words from the Book of Job and the words of Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. Both men suffered through the hardest moments of their lives and were able to maintain their faith in God. As I remembered their words, I found within my soul the faith that would sustain me through the darkest of times.

As I continued to write and serve in our online ministry, my story was being shared with others who were going through their own problems. Some of them had medical problems like cancer while others faced financial problems. Each, when told my story, found their faith and continued their walk with the Lord. One of my dearest friends and fellow brothers in Christ Jesus described it as being in many places at one time and witnessing to all. My own doctors told other patients about my life and the illness. Each found the comfort and the strength needed to rise above their situation.

My daily walk with the Lord during my illness and financial problems took on a different meaning. I learned to humble myself before the Lord and lean completely upon Him. In Micah 6, the prophet records the words of the Lord, “3 O my people, what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me? Answer me! 4 For I brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to help you. 5 Don’t you remember, my people, how King Balak of Moab tried to have you cursed and how Balaam son of Beor blessed you instead? And remember your journey from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, when I, the Lord, did everything I could to teach you about my faithfulness.

God, through my illness, taught me more about His faithfulness and His love in the many months of my illness than I had ever learned in the many years of my life. Through God’s own words, He reminded me that He and He alone got me through my slavery to sin and through the valley of darkness that I was facing. He reminded me of His blessings and those around me who prayed for me and encouraged me to remain faithful. My spirit was lifted up and I learned what it truly meant to be a child of our Heavenly Father.

Later in Micah 6, God tells the Israelites, “8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

For me, the most important lesson was to walk humbly each day with the Lord. As I suffered through my illness, I walked humbly with Him daily and worked as a humble servant to spread His word and plan of salvation to all those who would listen. Each day was not only another step in my walk with Him but also another lesson from Him to serve.

As I served and followed His will for my life, my attitude changed completely. I forgot about my illness and the financial problems that my wife and I faced. We were able to transcend all those things and focus on God and His will for our lives. We ministered to all and prayed for all those who needed comfort and strength. In the words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians, we fixed our “thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” and only thought about “things that are excellent and worthy of praise”. Because we knew that God would provide for us, our thoughts did not linger on my illness or our financial difficulties.

After one year of treatment and two surgeries, the infection was finally eradicated. God provided for our financial needs daily. We had nothing to worry about, because we knew, according to Psalm 55, that we could give our burdens to the Lord, and that he will take care of us. We knew that He would not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Instead of worrying about tomorrow, we praised Him daily for blessings of shelter, food and clothing. We never went without and we were able to pay our bills on time. Because of all of this, I knew what it meant to walk humbly with the Lord. All that I have and am came from Him. He knitted me together in my mother’s womb and blessed me with a loving wife and daughter and with brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus who continued to pray for me.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 139, “22 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In that one year of my illness and financial problems, I learned that I am nothing without Him. He is everything to me and that His will for my life is my will. His desire for me is now my heart’s desire. I am nothing without Him. It is only through His plan of salvation through His son, Christ Jesus, that I am saved and have life eternal with my Father and Creator. My one and only duty is to love Him and to love those around me. No matter who they are, friend or foe, I am to love, pray and provide what I can to all.

These lessons came at very high cost but they cannot compare to the one lesson that I learned so many years ago. I learned that He loved me so much that He gave His one and only son for me as a sin sacrifice so that I would have eternal life and would not perish. 

As I continue my daily humble walk with the Lord, I ask that you reflect upon your own life and think of all the times that He has blessed you and given you all that you needed when you needed it. When you remember those times, I can assure you that you will be humbled by them and that you can stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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