|Oct. 30, 2003|
Emergency Surgery. In the last newsletter I mentioned about my past surgery to correct a hiatal hernia. Well, since then I've had a complication: my gall bladder died. Now, I do not recommend that you experience the pain associated with a dying gall bladder. It is perhaps the worst of pains, especially when it lasts for hours and hours. As it happened, on Friday night (Oct. 17th), I had to go to the local emergency. They shot me up with morphine four times, did a cat-scan, took X rays, and told me I had gall stones. Finally the pain subsided and I was sent home with instructions to contact the surgeon who had performed my operation.
The next day Saturday was another excruciating day of pain. I was hardly able to walk without extreme pain. Heck, sitting and doing nothing was extremely painful. Anyway, we got a hold of my original surgeon who urged us to go to the hospital. He assembled an emergency team together and 9pm on Saturday Evening, I was having my gall bladder removed. It turns out that if we had waiting one more day, the gall bladder would have ruptured and I probably would have died. Close call. Nevertheless, I'm back to work, 20 lbs lighter, a little slower, but grateful to still be kicking.
Thanks for all of your prayers during this stressful time, especially since it has coincided with the fires we are having here in San Diego. So far, in SD county alone, we have lost 1200 homes, 600,000 acres burned, and thick smoke was everywhere -- though it is getting better now.
Therefore, for those of you who have ordered the notebooks -- especially the MOAN (Mother Of All Notebooks) and haven't received them, please be patient as we recover from all that has been going on lately.
Prayer: If you are called to pray and if you are interested in participating in the CARM prayer ministry, then please check out www.carm.org/prayer.htm. You can sign up to be a prayer partner or you can even submit a request for prayer. We really need people to pray. Especially, since lately I've been "sensing" that something is up. I believe there is a spiritual attack underway against my family and the CARM ministry. We have seen its effects already. I know the enemy, those satanists, occultists, and others, etc., who want to see CARM fail are trying to send evil spirits to do harm. Well, the Holy Spirit has moved me to awareness of this and pray and to have others pray. We have seen a great victory so far and know that more will come.
So, if you are called to pray, know there really is a spiritual war going on, and seek to absolutely do spiritual battle through your prayer gift, then check out the CARM prayer ministry at the link above.
How well do you know your faith?: A lot of Christians think that going to church on Sunday and hearing a sermon is about all they have to do to be good Christians. Of course, that isn't true. We are called to know our Bibles. Do you study it regularly? Do you memorize scripture?
When God created the universe He said, "Let their be light." The Bible is the Word of God. God speaks and it happens. God's word is powerful both to create and to save. Therefore, the better you know your Bible and the more scripture you have memorized, the more "power" you will have in your life as a Christian. Memorize God's word and know your Bible.
Sacrament: A sacrament is a visible manifestation of a spiritual reality. It is a ceremony ordained by Christ for the benefit of the Church. Therefore, the Christian church has two main sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are blessings when received. This means that as they are administered, we are blessed in their administration. When we take the Lord's Supper, we are strengthened as we participate in the body and blood of Christ -- not literally, of course. When we are baptized, we are publicly proclaiming our identification with Christ.
Close calls: It is unavoidable that we will all die -- unless we are first raptured. Death is a reality that we know will claim us one day. But, like so many other things, we dismiss the thoughts of its arrival, until it comes a little to close for comfort.
Sometimes we experience unexpected illnesses or accidents that abruptly force us to face God, our mortality, and our future. This can be a very good thing, especially if you are not a believer. But, what if you are a believer? What then? If you suddenly woke up in an intensive care unit and you didn't know if you were going to make it or not, what would you be thinking about regarding your life and God? It is hard to say unless you are actually there, but the longer the you live, the more that scenario either has been a reality or will be one.
Since we will all face death one day, why wait to think about the meaning of your life until you are forced to? Why wait to talk to God about what is really in you, about what you really feel, really doubt, really believe? Close calls can be good for the soul. God can use them to cause us to face ourselves and Him. Close calls can wake us up and help us sort out our priorities.
Sometimes, when life is comfortable and predictable, we let our priorities slip because we take our eyes off of the Lord and put them onto our lives and even on our ability to get things done. I can't help but wonder if God doesn't use sickness and misfortune in the world to cause us to re-evaluate ourselves before Him. After all, don't we need to do that from time to time even if we don't think we need it? Don't we need to see if we are growing closer to the Lord or not?
I think that it can be quite merciful that God would allow us to undergo hardship since such hardship can bring us closer to Him -- if we allow the opportunity to do that. Personally, I am thankful for close calls. Of course, I don't enjoy them, but they can be quite helpful by scraping away all of our self reliance and exposing ourselves before God.
So what about you? Do you need a close call to get you thinking? Do you need a drastic wake up call from God to get you to reconsider your life with Him? Maybe, maybe not. But, why don't you just sit down and talk to God. Why not take a survey of your spiritual life and see where you are at with the Lord? Open the Word of God, read, and pray. Talk to Him. He is always there to listen, close calls or not.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing," (NASB).
If you think CARM is a worthwhile ministry, please seriously consider supporting it financially and prayerfully. The goal is to contribute to that which expands the kingdom of God. If you want to help CARM move towards full time status, please consider giving to this non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. http://www.carm.org/goods/donations.htm.
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.
Equipping the church to defend the faith in a secular world.
To view past newsletters, please go to http://www.carm.org//more-stuff/newsletters.
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