They say “it’s a bugs life”; well, we’ve been giving those bugs free run for far too long!
On my last trip to Africa, I entered our lovely hotel room in the middle of the night, exhausted after travelling and knowing I was up early to preach at Sunday services the next day. After unpacking, I sat on the bed and then leapt to my feet after a ‘bite to my butt’! True story! My friend accompanying me found the episode highly amusing! Neither of us were prepared to venture under the covers! The whole ordeal ‘ate’ into our night and sleep (quite literally)! We repacked and were moved out into a new room whilst our old room was fumigated. A cup of strong coffee the next morning and a full power packed speaking programme carried on – I was just happy to be up and at ’em, on my feet, I certainly wasn’t able to sit down for long….😊
On another missions trip years ago with International Gospel Outreach (I.G.O.) a team of us again arrived late at night and were shown to our rooms. I was most impressed when Rev. Kingsley Armstrong, the main speaker and President of I.G.O. gave up his room for my room buddy, Annie, and myself. We were surely in for a treat! A sleepless night surprisingly ensued where we were eaten alive in our bed. Around 3 am I could take it no longer and whilst remaining good humoured, reminded Annie (and myself) how God shut the mouths of the lions all night to protect his child, Daniel, who was thrown into the Lion’s Den for refusing to deny His God. Laughing, we began to pray and commanded the mouths of those bed bugs to be shut – if God could do it in the Bible for Daniel and lions, He could do the same for bed bugs and us! We went to sleep without another episode and were ‘bed bug bite free’ for the duration of our stay! As we joined Rev. Kingsley Armstrong and the team at breakfast the next morning and excitedly relayed our previous night’s miraculous ordeal, Kingsley grinned knowingly and with his Irish cheek, charm and smile took great delight in announcing “why else do you think I gave up that bed and let you have my room”?! Say no more…! Never a dull moment on world missions!
As a consequence of knowing who you are and whose you are, as a consequence of the fact that God is always good and no badness comes from Him, you will grow stronger through every ordeal, not as a consequence of the ordeal! Just think about that for a moment! Without God in the mix you may grow harder, colder, build a barricade around yourself, shut people out but in reality that doesn’t make you stronger! You may appear tough on the outside and perhaps feel that is what it takes to survive, well, God wants to keep your heart soft and for you to thrive! In the same way there’s nothing worse than eating a tough old bit of steak, there is nothing pleasant about being around a tough, hard and brittle person – who wears their masquerade in the name of being strong. Life can make you hard if you let it. Don’t let it!
Many people believe some of the bad things they face come from God! For a long time I did too and I speak with people everyday living under the same illusion. Knowing the truth set me free! We say things like “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” with a “bring it on God” tone in our voice, as though God was somehow the orchestrator of the bad things that happen in our lives and the evil things we see and hear of in our world on a daily basis. Jesus brings life and goodness, the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy! Jesus makes us stronger, “His strength is made perfect in our weakness”. His word and the Holy Spirit teach us!
In this ‘fallen world’ which simply means fallen from the perfection and goodness of all God ordained for us as we chose a different way to God’s way, stuff happens! Sickness happens! Death happens! Natural disasters happen! Where do all fingers wrongly point to and who is the one falsely accused: “Acts of God” the world resounds! A suicide bomber horrifically blows himself and multiple others up all in the name of God! Terror hits our world’s streets and beaches all in the name of God! Daily that dirty devil bugs us and masquerades behind all the evil in our world. Worse still, he continues his dirty tactics and character assassination against our good, good God! How does God respond? He Just keeps on pouring His goodness out on all who will believe and receive Him! I, for one, cannot sit quietly and idly by and condone this lie! Everything in my life testifies and cries out “God is good and all He does is good”! You need to know this so you will fight to win from a position of the victory Christ has already won for you in every situation! To believe otherwise is accepting the Devil’s bait and ploy to keep you blinded and accepting negative reports over your life as God’s will!
The Bible tells us:
“Jesus went about doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil!” Acts 10:38
That’s my Jesus! Always bringing solution to the problem!
Take the recent sick bug our family encountered that incidentally inspired this and my last blog: Beating the Bug, as a crazy example! Was it sent from God? No! Is sickness part of this fallen world the Bible says we live in but that as Christians we are not of? Yes! What is God’s part in all this and other travesty’s that touch our lives? He is there to bring us through, put a smile on our face, a song of praise in our hearts, and to strengthen us. He gives peace and encouragement in the midst of life’s storms and His soothing hand to heal and make whole! He restores us and with God to restore always means to give back better than before. Because God is good He does not leave us in our sickness, discomfort and suffering but He comes to us bringing healing and solution. Just look at how God can bring so many positives out of a negative when we let Him. Two blogs later… where I get the opportunity to say “shut up dirty devil – I’m talking…!”
When I held my beautiful baby, Judah, in my arms, blaming myself and feeling gutted he had caught the sick bug from me, I felt God speak to my heart: “Keep away from the ‘blame game'”. Now hear me out! The horrible sickness we encountered came from my daughter, and someone before that, and someone before that… We can beat ourselves up, blame others or circumstances or make excuses, but in reality it’s a consequence of this fallen world we live in that chose a different course to the one God originally intended for us to enjoy. Now, sadly so often many people just endure! But here’s the thing I saw in that moment… I feed Judah to protect him from the negatives that can confront him in this world – a benefit of a mother’s milk. I keep him always close to me. Whatever hits him has to go through me and as a Mother I provide immunity! Preservation, protection and perfection for our lives always was and is God’s master plan! That’s how our Heavenly Father made us – right there is a picture of the immunity and protection God has masterminded, built in and put within us. He doesn’t leave us helpless but provides us with all the perfection and immunity of heaven and His Word that we could ever need to thrive here in this world! When it comes to ‘goodies and baddies’, God’s the ‘goodie’ here you see! It’s time we stopped entertaining that dirty devil’s lies and shut Him up by living faith filled and free, from a position of victory! In the same way I wouldn’t put sickness or anything harmful on my child, but protect my child – God does not put sickness or harm on his children! He comes to our aid in this cruel world that increasingly resembles a war zone between good and evil! He gives us the power of prayer, His Word, Praise, the finished work of the cross where he paid for us with his own life and blood! Jesus suffered to make us winners, so go ahead and do what winners do and win! Live the winning life that God intended for you!
Beat the Bug…. this world is full of menacing bugs, sick bugs, computer bugs…. even as I was typing this a new programme alert update came up saying 544 bugs had been detected since the last update – there’s no escaping it, we’re surrounded by bugs! To add insult to injury, our 10 year old, Joel, who had been sleeping soundly in his bed, appeared in our lounge crying, looking as white as a sheet and complaining of feeling sick! What did I do with the computer bug alert? Stopped in my tracks to update my computer system and blitz the bugs – out with the old and in with the new update! What did we do this time with Joel’s sick bug alert? Immediately took him in our arms and together His Daddy and I declared in prayer “Enough is enough – this sickness bug is going no further! We root out, pull down and destroy all of the works of the devils authority, and through the power of Jesus, Joel is healed”! The sick bowl for the first time that week remained empty! Joel slept like a baby and woke up healed and whole in the morning! The first thing He told me was “Mummy, Jesus healed me!” By the way, whoever coined the phrase “slept like a baby” clearly didn’t have children…. just saying…! 😉
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The most wicked bug of all wielded its way into our world system long ago, way back in the Garden of Eden in fact, and has been playing havoc ever since! Our lives got a reboot and fresh start through Jesus at the cross and just like with our computer systems and Apps, it is up to us whether we accept the update option with all the ease and benefits that brings.
We have been given authority in this life to beat every bug – every opposition, irritation, frustration… and as I have proved, even bed bugs when they bite! Nothing is too small or big for our Heavenly Father to handle on our behalf. You maybe down but you’re never out! With God’s miraculous resurrecting power at work in your life there’s always a comeback! I love the words the King of Israel used when God’s children were being threatened with invasion and destruction from all sides:
“One who puts his armour on should not boast as the one who takes his armour off”!
Boom! Take that sickness, depression, lack and whatever is bugging your life today! Jesus the King of heaven came to earth in His ‘body armour’, fought and died at the cross. It looked like He had lost. He rose from the dead and conquered the power of sin, sickness and even death for us! Jesus has taken His armour off, He has done it all and won it all so you and I can enjoy His victory. Now, we too, can join with Paul’s sentiment in the Bible and say:
“Where oh death is your victory? Where oh Grave, where oh dirty devil, where oh bug is your sting? Because of Jesus – WE WIN!!!!” (Emphasis mine from I Corinthians 15:55)
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9 NLT
Heavenly Father, thank you that you are good and everything you do is good. I open my heart to receive your goodness today. Change my mindset about you where it needs to be changed. You have given me authority to live life ‘bug fee’ and in total victory. May my life not misrepresent who you are but may I display your love and goodness for the world to see! In Jesus name. Amen.