Golf course green overlooking intercoastal waterway, Boca Grande, Florida; BJ Gabrielsen photo.
I usually try to start every day by reading a portion from the Bible using three different daily devotional booklets. From these, I try to glean one specific thought from God’s Word to remember and to hopefully put into practice that day. In these modern days in developed nations, God speaks primarily through His Word due to its availability through various media. However, in areas of the world where the Bible is not readily accessible, one hears today of God or Jesus appearing to people in visions, miracles or by other supernatural means. Today’s readings were extraordinary to me. First, I read a devotional in “Today in the Word” from Moody Publishers. It focused on Matthew 9, about Christ’s compassion and how He revealed His divinity to the people of His day by healing their diseases and most importantly, forgiving their sins. As I have described elsewhere in this website, God or Jesus have only spoken to me in dramatic fashion on few occasions. But one such occurred on January 11th, 2004 when in response to being anointed with oil for my prostate cancer, Jesus told me to “reach out and touch the hem of His garment.” At tines, I question if it was Jesus who spoke to me or whether it was my sub-conscious exercising wishful thinking. Today, I read Matthew 9 about the woman who touched Jesus’ garment and was healed of her 12-year hemorrhagic condition. In verse 21 she said, “if I only touch his garment, I shall get well.” In January 2004, Jesus had told me to do the same thing. But did I believe it would be effective in my case since I still showed signs of prostate cancer by having a positive PSA reading? Upon reading v. 21 today, I again humbly but fervently asked Jesus to give me the same faith this woman had, namely that “if I only touch His garment, I shall get well”. Then secondly, I opened the April 10th, 2014 devotional from “In Touch” by Dr. Charles Stanley. It was entitled “Looking Beyond Disappointment”. The Biblical reference was from John 11:3-6 which described Jesus’ raising His friend Lazarus from the dead after delaying His appearance for several days. Since 2004, I had sensed that God had told my wife and I that I was not to die from prostate cancer but that my condition, even with a rapid PSA doubling time which worried my physicians, was to glorify God and Jesus in some way, perhaps through this website. In today’s devotional, the words of John 11:4 leaped out from the page again where Jesus said of Lazarus’ death that “this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” The Lord had given my wife and I the same message several times before but I had often doubted its application to me. Then thirdly, I read the April 10th Anchor devotional from Haven Ministries. They cited Deuteronomy 6:1-9, specifically verses 6-9 where God was strongly telling the Israelites to record in writing the words which God had told them and how He had delivered them many times. God specifically says in these verses, “and these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and you will bind them as a sign on your hand….. and you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” In summary, first God reminded me today of the words spoken to me in January, 2004 to “reach out and touch the hem of His garment.” Then, when I asked Him to verify it and give me the faith to believe He actually said it, He reiterated to me John 11:4, a verse which God had given us earlier, where He says that Lazarus’ premature sickness was not to cause his death but to glorify God. Then lastly, He tells me to write this down which I am now doing on this website blog. I am writing this to extol God’s and Jesus’ ability to heal and treat diseases and more importantly to forgive our sins and provide eternal life especially at this Good Friday and Easter season. I am also writing this to remind myself of God’s and Jesus’ personal message when future doubts may arise in my life. May God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice become very personal to each of us.