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Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor’s bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter.

That did it! “And what do you want?”, the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice, “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages.”, he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother.”, Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone.

“He’s really, really sick and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you, the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money”.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents”, Tess answered barely audibly, “and it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “a dollar and eleven cents-the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

“That surgery”, her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost …………. one dollar and eleven cents …….. plus the faith of a little child.

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. …. Author Unknown

 

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Amazing Faith!  

Jesus did many miracles and wonders during his public ministry on the earth.  People marveled and were astonished at His work.  Here is an occasion Jesus marveled hearing the faith of a centurion and said “I have not found such faith with anyone in Israel” Mat 8:10

The centurion was a military officer in the Roman army who could have let many obstacles to stand between him and Jesus – pride, time, money, self-sufficiency, power, race etc.  But these barriers did not block him in approaching Jesus for help.

The compassion of centurion towards his slave servant who was paralyzed and about die is remarkable. He sets his priorities right notwithstanding his position and power he wanted his servant to get healed. He acknowledged that Jesus is the only source of life and reach Him for the help and the healing.

The centurion considered his power and position inferior to the power of Jesus. He acknowledged the worth of Jesus and accepted his unworthiness.  He said “Lord I am not worthy for you to come under my roof” Mat 8:8. 

Jesus marveled at the faith of Roman centurion who exercised his whole hearted faith in Him.  He said “Lord, you just say a word and my servant will be healed” Mat 8:8. Amazing faith!!!

 

Being fervent in the service of the Lord is what is required of a believer who is a child of God (Romans 12:11). These days many are being active in the service of the Lord. Many are involved in activities that show themselves to be spiritual. But are all these activities honoring the Lord? We cannot judge them, but we must analyze our motives of being involved in activities. Paul asks us to build with care on the foundation already laid that is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11). We should build on this foundation with materials that will last when tested with fire on the last day. These will reveal the quality of our work. Three of the materials which last portray Jesus Christ and three which will be burnt portrays man.

Gold speaks of the divinity of Jesus, Silver is related to betrayal and thus the redemption of man and precious stones displays His Glory. Wood, hay or straw all speak of man and shows that they easily and quickly are burned with fire. Only ashes remain when they are burnt. What do we learn from these? Our foundation is already laid and we must build using GOLD- proclaim Jesus is God, SILVER- Just as Jesus was betrayed, suffered, we too must be able to undergo persecutions and sufferings for Christ and PRECIOUS STONES-don’t do anything for personal glory. Are we doing these spiritual activities for getting a name in Christian circles, to be recognized, and thus wield a proxy power?

Who is like the Lord our God, who raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy out of the ash heap? Psalm 113:7. Our God is a merciful God who has compassion on the righteous and the wicked alike. His blessings are received by everyone. He helps us in our time of need not based on our faithfulness to Him but because He is merciful. When we cry for help, it doesn’t matter who we are and how we lived for Him, He will definitely be with you to carry you through any difficult situation. We are the recipients of His mercy and faithfulness but we often forget to appreciate Him. 

The children of Israel cried out when they were in bondage and were going through great suffering in Egypt. God heard their cry and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God looked upon the children of Israel and He acknowledged them. Exodus 2:23-24. When we cry for help God remembers us through Jesus Christ and the covenant He made with us that “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” “I am the same yesterday, today and forever”. Amen.

Are you proud of your strength? Bible says “the joy of the Lord is my strength” Nehemiah 8:10. Human understanding of ‘strength’ is based on our ability to communicate, leadership qualities, financial set-up, friendship circles, family background and so on. But those areas of strength are not permanent. Those God given abilities can be misused for our personal gain and enjoyment. Samson was granted supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies. God took his strength away when he used the God given strength for his personal enjoyment. Solomon’s strength was in God given extraordinary wisdom. God was displeased when he misused his wisdom for his personal gain. Your area of strength is useful only when you channelize them for God’s glory. Our strength is not based on our abilities but by having the joy in the Lord.

Do you have something in your private life that separates you from the love of Christ? Your doubts and fears, worries and disappointments, discouragements and loneliness, sickness and crisis and so on could be the reasons for separation. Moreover, your wealth & prosperity, position and possessions, business and popularity, family and money, bad habits, entertainments and secret sins also could be the reasons for separation. 

We are pressed by the attractive world with various needs and demands that surpasses the love of Christ. Our love for Him has deteriorated to the level of doing certain external activities for the gospel of Jesus, attending Church activates regularly, giving tithes, reading the Bible and praying. And the Lord looks at you and says “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. Mark 7:6. 

Our priorities have changed. Our focus is on the material things that gives us temporary enjoyment. We have placed the world and things of the world as parameters to know the blessings of God. We have been taught to love the world and the things of the world by prosperity preachers. But the Bible says “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them”. 1 John 2:15. 

Settle the things in your private life that separates you from the love of Christ. The word of God warns us “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place”. Revelation 2:5.

The consequences of our sins not only affect us but also evidently reflect in our homes and churches as well. For instance, the children of Israel had enough reasons to celebrate over the victory at Jericho, as it was a display of the strong and mighty hand of God at work. It was immediately after, that the children of Israel had to face a great defeat at Ai because Achan hid some spoil in his tent (Joshua 7:20). Joshua inquired with the Lord the reason for the defeat and the Lord said to him “Israel has sinned” (Joshua 7:11). He does not say Achan sinned, but Israel. Did Israel collectively sin? No, but God views the sin done by an individual and as the sin of the entire nation. This is a fearful truth…the reason we are facing lack of joy and fellowship in our homes and churches are because of the hidden sins in individuals. When God judges, the punishment would be collective. Punishment is both of the group and the individual. 

The reason for the lukewarmness in our churches and discords in our families are because of the unconfessed sins in us. The only way to restore and renew true joy is by accepting our mistakes and confessing our sins, individually and collectively, so that spiritual blessings and revival will follow.