Summary: This is the 1st part of a sermon series I preached in Anjung, South Korea after spending 2 months in hospital.
First of all I'd like to thank all of you for your prayers for me over the past 2 months or so. I thank God that He has heard and that He has answered and that He has given me the strength to be here with today.
There are still some problems with my discs, I still have difficulty sitting down and standing for too long and there is a long way to go before I am back to normal, but I know that He is faithful and will use this time for His glory!
Let's read today's main verse Ephesians 1:3 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places'
And let us pray.
What are the benefits of being a Christian? Yes there are future benefits, when I die I will go to heaven not hell (and please don't misunderstand, I'm not taking these things lightly), but what about here and now, on a daily basis?
I mean, there must be some! If we are not being persecuted as many Christians have been and are, and let's rejoice in this time of rest, but if we're not facing persecution then we are battling our 'Old Nature' that sinful nature, and the lust of the flesh! And this battle is constant and it rages! And on top of that we are being tempted and distracted by the cares of this world which only adds to the battles and the difficulties!
And while we have such a wonderful future in store, while we can look to that with a hope that is steadfast and sure, what about today? What is it that sets me apart from the world? What is it that makes me rejoice each and every morning? What are the benefits, now, of being a child of God?
Now this is a question I have been thinking upon a lot these last few weeks in hospital. And Yes things started out like a dream! Ok, I couldn't move and was in complete agony, but my biggest fear was having an operation.
I hurt my back many years ago, and through disbelief and shear stubbornness I never listened to the doctor's advice and continued to do all the things I wanted which were against what the doctors had had said. And this led to back problems every 6 months or so give or take a few.
And one day when I was waiting in the doctor's office there was an older lady, in her 40s I guess, who started chatting to me, and she said 'whatever you do don't have an op! It is very dangerous and only 50% go correctly and there is a big danger you may not walk again! Don't do it!'
Funnily enough, my uncle said the same thing too! So when I went into hospital and the doctors were all saying 'operation, operation' I wasn't too happy and my prayer was 'please Lord no operation'.
So we went for an MRI scan in a different hospital and the doctor there was a Christian guy and he said 'Your MRI is serious. We are famous for treating disc problems without operations, but we all sat down and looked at your MRI and it is serious, 9 out of 10 recommended you to have an operation, but I believe I can treat you without. You see, western medicine is good, traditional oriental medicine is good, but it is God who heals! I will be praying for you, you should pray too!'
So not only was my prayer answered about the operation but also God had brought us into the care of Christian doctors and, as we found out as we chatted to the nurses, Christian nurses too!
And people were texting me and emailing me really from around the world 'We are all praying for you! God is going to heal you!' and of course, this was my prayer too. And I was making rapid progress! The doctor said it would take at least a month, but by the end of my 2nd week I was up and moving with very little pain!
And I was on top of the world! This was my testimony - I was sick and God healed me! But then things changed! I hadn't had a proper shower for almost 3 weeks so I decided to have a nice long, hot shower after which I collapsed and when I came around I was in more pain than I was in when I came in to hospital!
And it took another 5 weeks before I was able to come out of hospital, and although i have very little pain now in comparison to then, my discs are in the same state now as when I went first! Plus he found another disc higher up in a serious way too!