Tendons healed, nephew saved, pain gone!

Was at a Petrol Station yesterday and saw a man (Siphewe – left of photo) limping with a crutch and a brace on his leg. After some hesitation the thought came to me, “if you really believe God will heal him when you pray, wouldn’t you just go without hesitation?” So at that I went over and asked him what was wrong with his leg.

No more crutch! Siphewe's (left) tendons were healed, and his nephew (middle) accepted Christ as a result.

He explained the ligaments in his ankles were practically torn and thus he walked with constant pain. I mentioned Jesus can heal him and then knelt down and laid my hands on his ankles, after which he said he said the pain was gone, except for an area where one vein was still bothering him. Laid hands again and he said the pain was gone.

I encouraged him to test out his leg and he realized he could walk now without pain, and without the need for his crutch. Upon experiencing healing in his leg he asked for prayer for some other situations in his life — which I was happy to do as well.

As his family was waiting for him he got in to the bakkie (pickup truck for you non-South African’s ;) — and they drove away … however just a minute later they turned around and his sister was motioning me to come to them, and she was quite excited about how Siphewe’s leg was now healed. (Actually at this time I prayed one more time for a lingering pain in part of his leg — at which time he said it felt like electricity going through his veins, and the pain disappeared.)

She was all excited about what happened and asked me to pray for her two children (in the middle of the photo) — for protection, and other general requests. I also prayed for her son who at that moment accepted Christ in his life.

As we parted I couldn’t stop thanking God for how wonderful it is to be his hands and feet, bringing the health and healing which Jesus provided for all — both physical and spiritual … and of course the most wonderful of all — helping people begin a relationship with God Himself.

Not long after this an attendant at the petrol station introduced me to his colleague who had pain in her womb and head. After rebuking the pain and commanding healing in her womb and head, all pain was gone.

Again I left with a deep sense of deep joy in thinking about all that Jesus made possible for us to walk in as a child of God.

Buried with Christ – living a new life – Romans 6:4

“Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

In II Corinthians 13:5 the Apostle Paul encourages us to “examine ourselves” to see if we are truly “in the faith”.

In a world where “Christianity” is often “practiced” as a fashionable mode of operation or a regimen of rules rather than experienced as a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s so easy to get sucked in to the “normality” and various pulls of life and forget that our relationship with Jesus should result in us living a new life — a life in which our visions, goals, time and viewpoints are markedly different than the world’s “me-first” prototype.

“… we have been buried with him through baptism into death …”

Jesus was crucified (for us!) and buried in a tomb. In the same way our old life characterized by “me-first” priorities should be dead, gone and buried. (See Luke 9:23.)

This is not to say we suddenly, magically lose all human and selfish desires. The difference is the “me-first” motivator is no longer in control. It doesn’t lead us around by the nose telling us what to do with our thoughts, time and life. In essence, it’s no longer enthroned as “god” of our life. Why? Because we’ve decided that God should have the place of God rather than allowing our own selfishness to usurp that position. We’ve therefore traded a temporal path of limited fleshly reasonings for God’s eternal path of truth and light. (I Peter 2:9)

WAIT! someone may exclaim. What’s so “bad” about a “me-first” attitude? Isn’t it natural, after all?

I think the answer to this is clearly visible in the world around us. Flip on the news (or just look around) and we can see the results of the me-first attitude. What’s the motivating factor of every crime? — “I want that!” (me-first). (James 4:1-3) What’s the motivator of every unkind action? “I’m more important — I need to consider myself first.”

Me-first attitudes are not just actions — they’re characterized by lack of action as well. If love is seeing a need and filling that need, me-first attitudes are seeing needs and doing nothing.

“… as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.”

Now the power and life of God enters the equation and provides the solution to the me-first attitude.

Jesus was raised from the dead through the power of God. This same power (God’s Spirit) baptizes (immerses) and transforms our spirit when we truly make the decision to yield our life and receive Jesus as Lord — letting Him be God instead of us. See I Cor. 12:13, Titus 3:5, Lk. 11:9-13, John 1:12 and Acts 5:32.

This baptism and renewing by the Spirit of God is what gives us the power to live a new life in Christ. No longer do we need to try on our own to do the right thing, figure out eternal truths, etc. Now we have God’s Spirit and Word as a guide, counselor, and provider of power to live a new life. See John 14:15-17; 16:13; Acts 1:8.

Have we truly been “born from above” (John 3:3) by enthroning Christ as Lord in our life, and are we thus living our life with God’s Heavenly Perspective instead of a me-first attitude? (Col. 3:1-4) When people look at us do they see the love, joy and “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) which comes as a result of living a new life with Jesus? Are we walking by faith instead of sight — looking past the temporal enticements and keeping our eyes, heart, visions, plans and actions within God’s eternal realm of love and truth? (II Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1,6, Heb. 11:13-16; II Cor. 4:18; I Peter 4:1-2; Romans 8:5-17)

“I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16–21)

Let’s make a difference in this world! Let’s let God’s light shine through us in such a way that people will clearly see Him. Let’s live a new life — in Jesus.

Aggie: A girl without a country

The following true account is taken from the book Aggie: A Girl Without a Country, previously published under the title One Witness, written by Aggie Hurst and published just after her death in 1981. It’s an example of how being a faithful witness and doing what God has shown you to do can have tremendous impact, even when it didn’t seem that way at first.

This testimony will be inspiring for anyone who dedicates their time to reaching others with God’s love.

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa—to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take the Gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood—a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. She succeeded, but there were no other encouragements.

Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of the little band after another. In time, the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to carry on alone. Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness.

When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lived only another 17 days.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station.

Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.

Within eight months, both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually took her back to the United States at age three.

This family loved the little girl, and they were afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time, her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.

One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, a photo suddenly stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross—and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD. Aggie jumped in her car and drove straight to a college faculty member whom she knew could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded.

The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago … the birth of a white baby … the death of the young mother … the one little African boy who had been led to Christ … and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ … the children led their parents to Christ … even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village, all because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.

For the Hursts’ 25th wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden.

There Aggie sought out her real father. David Flood was an old man now. He had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God—because God took everything from me.”

After an emotional reunion with her half-brothers and half-sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”

Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, which had liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the 73-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed. “Papa,” she said tentatively. He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said. “I never meant to give you away.” “It’s all right, Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.” The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. “God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall.

Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are 600 African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life. … Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.”

The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America—and within a few weeks, David Flood had passed into eternity.

A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, when a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the Gospel’s spread in his nation.

Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood. “Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced her in a long hug, sobbing. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.”

In time, that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to carry her down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.

The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” He then followed with Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

Girl in the train … and the tram …

Have you ever had the feeling the Lord really wanted you to speak with someone, yet the situation was such that people were all around and it would seem quite awkward to take the plunge? Such was the situation as we were on the train coming home.

There we were, the whole crew sitting in the train, (Anya, myself, Kaden, Ashley and Jessica) almost arriving at our final destination — but then I noticed a girl nearby, perhaps about 23 years old. She was trying to fight back tears yet not succeeding.

I felt the Lord wanted me to speak with her, yet the train was laid out in such a way that where she was sitting was like being on stage with crowds of people looking on.

After deliberating a couple minutes the Lord’s voice was so strong that I knew if I didn’t get off my bottom I’d regret it and wished I had for the rest of my life. I think that’s one of the worst regrets in life — thinking and wondering, “… if only I had… I wonder what would’ve happened…” — especially when it’s something you felt like the Lord was asking you to do, but then the opportunity is gone forever. Well, I think we all have some of those regrets — but I know that when a scenario like that has happened, it makes me not want to let it happen again, so in this case, I just knew I had to get up and speak with her.

So, off my bottom I went and I found myself picking up Kaden (who was sitting next to the girl) and setting him on my lap as I asked the girl if she spoke English. “Yes” she answered, and I asked her if she would listen to a song on my mp3 player. “Ok”, she said.

I had prepared Josh Groban’s song “You are loved” (click below to listen to a portion of this beautiful song) — and here are the lyrics as well:


“Don’t give up, it’s just the weight of the world. When your heart’s heavy I, I will lift it for you. Don’t give up, because you want to be heard. If silence keeps you I, I will break it for you. Everybody wants to be understood; well I can hear you. Everybody wants to be loved; don’t give up — Because you are loved. Don’t give up — it’s just the hurt that you hide; when you’re lost inside I, I will be there to find you. Don’t give up, because you want to burn bright — If darkness blinds you I, I will shine to guide you. Everybody wants to be understood, well I can hear you. Everybody wants to be loved — Don’t give up — Because you are loved — You are loved — Don’t give up — It’s just the weight of the world — Don’t give up — Every one needs to be heard — You are loved.”

As she started listening to the song the tears started flowing freely — yet these tears were mixed with a glimmer of hope — not exactly the same tears as before. When the song finished she said, “This is my song.” Very soon after the train stopped and she got off, one stop before ours — so unfortunately we didn’t have time to speak further — yet I can’t help but feel she felt a touch of the Lord’s love in that moment — a power greater than whatever problem she may have been facing.

After she got off I sat back and felt the Lord’s peace — as if somehow a battle was won in that moment … again serving as a reminder to me that it’s always best to heed the Lord’s voice, no matter what the situation may be or whether it fits nicely in to our “comfort zone” or not.

A similar situation took place in a tram. I noticed a girl crying and her friend trying to comfort her. Although I didn’t feel I should interrupt and speak with her, I did feel like I should give her a tract which contained a simple message of the Lord’s love as well as a prayer to receive Jesus. I proceeded to do it and sat back down.

I saw her read the tract and noticed her desperation seemed to subside — I then arrived at my stop…

May we always “be ready whether it is convenient or not” (2 Timothy 4:2) to share God’s love with those around us.

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.”” (John 20:21)