My God is Real
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:10-11)
WE SPENT THANKSGIVING IN CHATTANOOGA, TN with as much family as we could get together. We were able to visit with all five of our great-grandchildren from California to North Carolina. The noise level was high and, like you, we ate all we could hold – several times. It’s good for America to renew its family ties at least once a year. It’s good to give thanks unto the Lord.
SATURDAY MORNING, Jim Cofield read Psalm 100 and I had a few minutes to share with the group a few highlights on why God is real to me. God is as real to me as you are, but in a different way. He is reliable. He is my past, my present and my future. God is the most reliable, unchanging thing in my life. It wasn’t always that way and I can’t tell you in one short article. But, we’ll get started. There’s enough room here to plant a seed. It’s up to you to water it.
SOME OF MY FAMILY, ARE ON SOLID ROCK, some are on solid ground, and some are not sure there is a rock. The young ones are working their way from learning to sit alone, to learning to crawl, how best to get on top of the dining table, how to survive without a “passie,” and all of them are trying to figure out how to have their own way and manage their parents.
SINCE I MET GOD IN THE BEAN MARKET IN OCTOBER 1943, God has shown Himself to me many times as I have attempted to walk with Him. Some of my walk, I wish I could do over again: more Bible, more prayer. But there remains the part that I would not change if I could. I was saved at age 9, and sure of Heaven. That is the greatest thing and I would not change that. God is real to me. All my grandchildren do not know that.
MANY PEOPLE KNOW A FEW THINGS ABOUT GOD IN THEIR HEAD, but God is not real to them. Things happened to Elijah and things happened in Jesus’ day and to the Apostles and early church, but that’s all locked up in a sacred book. “God is real inside the book, but not in my life where I have to live every day.” I shared with my family that our greatest need is to know that God is real; not just in Moses’ day or Jesus’ day or the Apostles’ day, but in your day; in your life. The people who knew God in the Bible were not perfect people. Most of them were common, ordinary people. Some were highly educated. Some didn’t know their right hand from their left hand. (The people Jonah preached to.)
WHEN I WAS FOURTEEN, I talked with Mrs. York (retired farmer’s wife) across the road from us. She told me that a few days after she gave birth to her first baby, she needed to borrow something from a neighbor across a field from her house. She left the baby and walked across the field to the neighbor’s house. A sudden rain began, and she could not afford to get wet. But she had to get back to her baby.
SHE ASKED THE LORD TO KEEP HER DRY as she began walking through the rain, across the field. She got to her house and there was not a drop of rain on her clothes or head. She had a reputation for telling the truth except she had had some strange encounters with God that no one else had had. I quickly decided to learn everything I could from this woman. I would ask her questions and listen carefully as she talked.
FIVE YEARS LATER, I was in college and my speech teacher, Mrs. Green told a strange story one day. Her father was a farmer in Decatur, AL and taught the adult Sunday School class in his church. He and the farmers around him had all cut their hay and it lay drying in the fields. An unexpected rain was moving their way. On Saturday evening, one of Mr. Green’s neighbors talked to him at the store about the upcoming rain and was he going to get his hay in Sunday morning. He replied that he was not, that he would go to church and teach his Bible class and trust the Lord with his hay. “The hay belongs to the Lord.” The farmers began working Sunday morning, getting up their hay.
Sunday, about 10:30 a.m., while Mr. Green was teaching his Bible class, the bottom fell out and the rain fell on the church roof and Mr. Green had to talk above the noise. Church was over, and the rain was over. As they were eating Sunday dinner, the phone rang. It was the neighbor Mr. Green had talked to at the store. “Mr. Green, have you looked at your hay field?” “No, we’re eating dinner.” “Well, you should go look at your field.” Mr. Green finished eating and made his way to his big hay field.
ALL AROUND HIS HAY FIELD, THE GROUND WAS SOAKING WET, and water was running in some of the drain ditches. He opened the gate and walked into his hay field. It was dry! His whole field was dry. And all around his big hay field, in the fields of his neighbors, the ground was soaking wet.
WHILE I WAS STILL A COLLEGE STUDENT, the Temple Baptist Church on Rossville Blvd. in Chattanooga, paid me to be their pianist for $15 a week. That paid for our groceries, including milk and diapers. One morning the pastor announced a special prayer request for a little girl in Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. She had gone blind.
AS 300 PEOPLE PRAYED, many of us on our knees, the phone rang in the church office behind the choir. Someone ran to answer the phone and in 3-4 minutes came back and whispered in the pastor’s ear. The pastor went to the pulpit and announced to the praying people that the call was from a nurse at the hospital and they had just discovered that the little girl could see, and the doctors were amazed by it.
ABOUT 18 YEARS LATER, I was with a dozen or so pastors and a few church members who had gone to a house on Blue Ridge Parkway, above Winston-Salem, NC. The family was away, and we were using their house for three days of fasting and prayer. We were limiting our diet to water and orange and apple and grape juices. On the third day, we had our last juice and were about to pray. “Does anyone have anything you want us to pray about?”
A YOUNG MAN NAMED: "JACK" 19-20 years old was there with a broken leg. A motorcycle had slipped out from under him and skidded to a stop with his leg under the motorcycle. X-rays showed that the bones in his leg were broken and crushed from his ankle, all the way up his leg. Doctors put a cast on the leg but had to take it off and wrap his leg in a stretch bandage. Jack asked if we would pray about his leg. He was in danger of losing his leg.
WE GATHERED AROUND JACK AND PUT OUR HANDS ON HIM,wherever we could find a place. MY hands were around his leg just below his knee, on the calf of the leg. After we had prayed a few minutes, I distinctly remember feeling heat come from his leg and said to myself: “This sure is a warm-blooded dude.” We finished praying and everyone stood up…but Jack. He just sat there, staring out through the picture window of the living room. His pastor said: “Jack! Are you alright?” Jack said: “I think God just healed my leg!”
JACK STOOD UP AND GENTLY BOUNCED A BIT on his feet and then began walking around and JUMPED up and down on his feet. We all came unglued. I was at his church a couple of weeks later to speak and sat down beside Jack on the front pew. While they were singing, I leaned over and said: “Jack…are you still healed?” He smiled big and said almost out-loud: “Yes I am!”
A FEW YEARS LATER, FOLLOWING THE FLU, I got a case of Guillain Berre’. “French Polio.” I was partially paralyzed. In a couple of days, it hit me again. Much pain. I couldn’t hold a tooth brush. I put a pillow between my knees to dull the pain. It was the week-end and no doctors were available, so I toughed it out. The 2nd attack hit my eyes and pulled the right eye inward, leaving me seeing double.
ONE OF THE BEST OPHTHAMOLOGISTS IN CHATTANOOGA (who taught the subject in medical school) said the nerves in my eyes were damaged. She referred me to a neurologist who checked my legs by inserting needles and injecting surges of electricity. A spinal tap confirmed I had Guillian Berre’. The ophthalmologist said, “It will take several months, maybe six months for this to heal…if it heals. You will need to come back every two weeks and let me plot the progress. She shined a bright light into my eye and recorded how well my eye could follow the light.
I READ AN ARTICLE IN READER'S DIGEST (BY COVERING ONE EYE) about “The Woman in Bed 10.” She had it much worse than I. If Guillian Berre’ hits the inner chest muscles, it can paralyze the lungs or heart and would be fatal. I wore a heart monitor for several days. A team of blood specialists came in and explained that they might have to remove all my blood and “scrub” my blood in a special machine. I resigned myself to their diagnosis. I had to wear an eye patch over that eye if I rode in a car because seeing double was excruciating. The brain could not unscramble and interpret the double images that fast.
IN A FEW DAYS THE FLU SYMPTOMS SUBSIDED and I tried walking. I could only scoot my feet, 8-10” at a time. I could not step up on a curb. I got hold of a car and pulled myself onto a curb with my arms and hands. Very painful. After a few days I began to be depressed. I was determined to walk around a long block. The smallest dip or hump in the pavement would put me on the ground. A couple of times I fell when an oncoming car was near, and I managed to throw myself toward the side of the road away from the car.
ON JANUARY 1, 1987, ABOUT 11:00 O'CLOCK, I was scooting my feet along the street and looked at “two” trees at the end of the block. It was actually one tree that I was seeing twice. I began to talk to the Lord in a severe desperation, so deep and intense that I could not have worked it up. Suddenly, the two trees became one tree. I looked around, slowly, and all the “two’s” of everything were now “ones.”
I KNEW THAT THE LORD HAD TOUCHED MY EYES and straightened them. What might have taken six months and maybe never would have taken place, took place in five seconds. When Barbara came home from work, she noticed it immediately: “Your eyes are straight!” Yes, my eyes were straight. I didn’t need to go back to the ophthalmologist, so I didn’t go. I should have, as a testimony of what God had done, but I was done with it. So, I didn’t go back.
DID I LEARN THROUGH ALL OF THOSE THINGS, beginning with Mrs. York walking through the rain without getting wet…did I learn anything? Yes indeed! I learned that God is real, not just in Elijah’s day or in Jesus’ day, or in the days of the Apostles. God is real in my day. These were token manifestations of God’s presence and power. They didn’t happen every day. These were special times when God revealed Himself at my point of great need and to carry out His purpose.
THE REST OF MY BODYY HEALED SLOWLY over a period of two years and my legs never completely healed. It would baffle a doctor as to how the healing was selective and sudden and the rest of my body was not affected by it.
SEVERAL OTHER STORIES COME TO MIND but this is all I have room for today. I hope you like the song. You may want to file this article where you can remember to read it again. I think you will want to see this 7-minute story told by the man it happened to: the Gunnar Olson Plastic Bag Testimony: https://youtu.be/teKv2EIqN4I
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
NOVEMBER 26, 2018 - MONDAY
A.M Ezekiel 36-37 P.M 1Peter 3
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:10-11)
Song for Today:
My God Is Real (3:34) (John Starnes & Gaither Gathering)
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NOTE: This theme (and song) have been driving me for several days. I needed to find someone who would sing it with sincerity and conviction. I don’t like singers who are more clown or comedian than singer, or who don’t know why they are there. A lot of people have sung this song on YouTube, but I was disappointed with the insincerity.
This is a special song that claims God is real. Then it should be sung like it. The face should reflect awe. I don’t like for singers to add so much to the song that you can’t recognize the song. So, it took me a half-hour to decide on John Starnes. He does a little improvising, but I’ve never doubted John’s sincerity. He’s a very gifted tenor. I heard this song by another singer when I was a teenager and it has stuck with me for 70 years.