Let the Word of God hold you!

YE1nSGFbdw“I just hung on … I saw the other fellows fall and it didn’t make me feel any too good, but there was nothing I could do about it — ’ceptin to hang on tighter.”—C.M. “Bud” Cowart

Has someone said to you, “Hold on to God’s word.” When you stand by faith for healing or a financial breakthrough, holding on can seem like an impossible task. People share advice and stories that they hope to help and encourage someone during these times.  For me, the following story helped me through a difficult time.

On May 11, 1932, the military tried to land the Akron, a helium-filled rigid military airship. Upon landing, things ran out of control. To save the ship, a military personnel dropped a lot of ballast water. The Akron shot up into the air.

“The sudden release surprised several men holding on to the mooring cable. They clung desperately to the line as the Akron shot into the sky. One man let go at 15 feet, breaking his arm in the fall. But three other sailors still gripped the cable. Thousands of onlookers watched in horror as one man, then another, fell from between 100 and 200 feet. Both sailors died instantly as they struck the ground.

Another sailor, C.M. “Bud” Cowart, hung on. Straddling wooden toggles, he managed to tie himself in.” (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Bud realized that if he tried to hold on in his own strength he would end up falling to his death just like the other two sailors. He had to get the airship to hold him, so he tied himself in. He was in the air for two hours before they could rescue him.

That is what we must do with God’s promises. Don’t try to hold on in your own strength. Most who try in their own strength end up giving up before the miracle happens. Let the Word of God hold you!

Philippians 2:15,16 in the NIV says, “Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”

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Caesar or Christ?

20180724_095436In the 90s AD, Domitian ruled as emperor over Rome. His cruelty rivaled that of Nero. He insisted he be worshiped as a god. Christians, of course, could not participate in the rituals of this emperor cult. That left them vulnerable, and that vulnerability led to persecution.

The question never left the early decades of the church or even the early centuries of the church. The question was this: Caesar or Christ?

Domitian’s edict made that question palpable, even visceral. Statues of him were sent all over the empire. On appointed days, feasts were held, and all of the populace was required to pass before the cast image of Domitian and bow before him. If a person did not bow, they were taken to the colosseums and ripped apart by wild animals.

“When the question is put to us–Caesar or Christ—may we be among those who don’t shrink back. May we take our stand alongside the first-century church and the church through the centuries. May we not throw away our confidence.” – A Time for Confidence  by Stephen Nichols

Romans 10:9 in the NKJV says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

If you were put in this position, “Caesar or Christ”, which would you choose?

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He would not let his tattered clothes out of his sight

DSC_0003“Lord, if I see that boy again, I promise you, I will take him in and help him!”
Hilde Franz, my mother, had just talked to Isaac, a little boy on the streets of Kabale in Uganda. He wore on a dirty men’s sized T-shirt. He had come to beg for some food. After feeding him, Hilde drove back home, but couldn’t get Isaac out of her mind. She felt bad that she had not done more to help him.

She looked for and asked about him, but he didn’t show up again for months. This time my mother took the filthy little boy with her. When they got home, one of the men took him right to the bath tub for a thorough cleaning.
Isaac undressed and the man reached for the dirty clothes to throw them away. Little Isaac made a real fuss. He would not let his tattered clothes out of his sight.

After a thorough scrubbing, Hilde brought in a set of beautiful clothes for the little boy. After he put them on, Isaac no longer cared about the old dirty ones.

Ephesians 4:21-24 in the NLT says, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

We tend to hold on to the old ways, thinking that God just wants to take things away from us. When the fullness of Christ comes in your life, the old ways seem so insignificant and worthless.

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Commanding Mosquitos

YkBjQWFQcgMany years ago, a missionary arrived in Mombasa on the coast of Kenya. This was a man of God who sincerely believed that God is his healer. He would not take any medication because he fully trusted what the bible says in 1 Peter 2:24: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”

In the coastal area of Kenya, malaria is a killer disease. After a little time, the man became extremely sick and almost died. Soon after his wife got malaria and came close to death. Neither took any medication, and their lives were spared by the healing power of God.

When the man recovered, he prayed one day, “Lord, it cannot go on this way. We are constantly dealing with sickness.”

In his spirit, he heard the Lord say, “I have given you authority. Why don’t you speak in authority to the mosquitos?”

He stood and went into the yard. Lifting up his hand, he said, “I command every mosquito to leave this yard. From now on no mosquito may be anywhere in our yard in the name of Jesus!”

From that time on, not a single mosquito was ever seen in that yard. They did not have any problems with malaria as long as they lived there. Even their successor who took over the house when they left wrote them years later, “We still have no mosquitos here.”

Ephesians 3:20,21 in the NKJV says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Your problems are not too big for God!

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Don’t be afraid. I am with you!

colorful sunsetAlthough he had never been there before, Private Ivan “Vanya” Moiseyev knew what awaited him at the Major’s office. The Communists endlessly called him to headquarters for talks, trying to “re-educate” him and to talk him out of his faith in God.

During one of those dreaded walks to see the Major, Ivan enjoyed the bright morning. So bright that he didn’t notice at first, a bright star falling from heaven. Like a comet, it came closer and became bigger and bigger and bigger.

He looked up to see an angel above him, bright and powerful. Ivan’s heart filled with joy—and fear.

The angel hovered about 200 yards above the ground, walking in the air above Ivan. Then the angel spoke: “Ivan, go. Don’t be afraid. I am with you.”
Ivan couldn’t speak, but his joy was like fire within him. When he reached Major Gidenko’s office, Ivan knocked quietly. Another round of questioning and re-educating ensued. But no matter what Gidenko, the head of the Political Directive Committee, tried, Ivan stayed true to God even in the midst of great suffering.

Ivan was put in refrigerated cells. They clothed him in a special rubber suit and pumped in air until he scarcely could breath.
Ivan, now 20, knew that the Communists would kill him. On July 11, 1972, he wrote to his parents, “You will not see me anymore.” He then described a vision of angels and heaven which God had sent to strengthen him for the last trial.

A few days later, his body was returned to his family. He had been stabbed six times around the heart. He had wounds on his head and around the mouth. His entire body showed signs of beatings. His lungs were full of water, indicating that he had been drowned.

Colonel Malsin, his commander, said, “Moiseyev died with difficulty. He fought with death, but he died as a Christian.”

The father of this Christian hero writes to us, “May it be that this living flower which gave the fragrance of its youth on the cross should be an example for all faithful youth. May they love Christ as our son has loved Him.”
Revelation 12:11 in the NKJV says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

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The ‘God who has a son’

YkNrQGZbdAOne Vietnam village was never taken by rebel forces during the Vietnam war. A few years before the rebels attacked this village, one of the ladies traveled to Taiwan on a business trip. During her taxi ride from the airport, she saw a church with a cross and asked the driver, “What is the meaning of that cross?”

The driver answered, “O those are the people that worship the God who has a son.”

The terrible day came when the rebels marched in to attack the village. They took one by one and killed them in front of the rest of the villagers. Each one cried to his god and died. When they got to the lady, she called out to the ‘God who has a son’.

An army of angels appeared in splendor. The rebels ran away for their lives and never returned.

From then on, the village prayed, “God, send us someone who can tell us about the God who has a son.”
Twenty-five years later missionaries arrived. When the villagers heard the gospel, they danced and celebrated for more than two hours.
Jeremiah 33:3 in the NKJV says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.“
Have you called on God? He loves to answer when we call on Him with a sincere heart.

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The man spared in Auschwitz!

Z0xkQGVYAuschwitz was the first German concentration camp to become an extermination camp.  The gas chambers were in constant use.  But because of the great influx of new prisoners daily, the Germans began to use firing squads as well.

One day, the commandant selected ten men from one barracks to be executed by the firing squad.  One of those selected was the father of a large family.  When he was pulled from his place in the line, he fell to the ground, begging the commandant to spare his life.  The commandant was unresponsive until the man standing next to the fallen one, a Catholic priest named Maximillian Kolbe, stepped forward to offer his life in exchange for the man on his knees. Surprisingly, the commandant agreed to such an arrangement. But instead of being led away to the firing squad, Father Maximillian was thrown into a tiny damp cell where he suffered the agonizing death of starvation.  Today Maximillian Kolbe is honored by millions of people because he died in the place of one man.  Jesus Christ, through an agonizing death on the cross, died not for one man, or a few, or even several-but for all men.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (NIV)

Jesus gave everything for you.  Are you giving everything for HIM?

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