Suffering, Salvation and Sanctification

It’s been a while since I stopped by here to write anything down. That doesn’t mean that nothing has been happening. The period since September 2019 to the beginning of 2020 has been intense, to say the least.

Rather than bore you with the finer details, I will summarise as quickly as I can:

  • I continued to deepen my praise, prayer and worship
  • Attendance at church and Bible study feels joyful
  • Confidence in publicly following Christ has grown massively
  • I entered a deep, intense period of suffering culminating in severe weight loss and a cancer scare in November / December
  • The church conducted a service of deliverance for me in January
  • Currently feeling wonderful, humbled, grateful

During the illness, I genuinely thought I had stomach cancer and was on my way home to Jesus. I was distraught to be departing prematurely from my family in this life, especially having only recently been saved and having not been able to do any better work for God.

The wonderful Pastor Tim Burt (https://timburt.org/about/) supported and encouraged me during this period and set me straight about God’s promise to his faithful people and the power of healing through Christ. He recommended the book Christ The Healer and I in turn recommend the book to you.

I prayed for an increase in my faith and resolved to believe that Jesus would heal me given that I have dedicated my life to Him and want to be fruitful in my service to Him. My prayers were answered: my faith has been deepened further still and I am feeling well.

I should also say that my local church community and particularly the ministers were incredible in their support and prayers. The words of James were relevant here:

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:14-17 NKJV

In fact, before I had even read these verses, it seems The Holy Spirit guided me to ask the ministers to lay hands on me at the point I knew something was seriously amiss in my stomach. I unknowingly followed James’ instruction to the letter and the outcome has been that I am healed.

If you look back at the blog, you will see that this process of salvation and deliverance has taken around 6 months to complete (assuming, of course, that it is now complete), during which I have been in this strange period where my spirit has been utterly joyful but my body has been buffeted (to borrow from Paul):

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

2 Corinthians 12:7 NKJV

I had been deep into the occult and new-ageism. Perhaps because of these past misadventures, the process of sanctification has proved to be a little more intense than I had expected! To be fair, there was a lot of negative stuff to deal with – but through my own expeirence, I can assure you that there is nothing you could have possibly done which has put you beyond redemption and there is no stain too persistent for cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ.

The message that I really want to share with people today is about Jesus and how complete His gift to you is.

Again, there is nothing that you have thought, said or done that can keep you from being reconciled with God, if only you believe in Jesus, confess your sins to Him and repent with a contrite heart. If you are willing to get on your face before Jesus and cry out for salvation, He will hear you and The Holy Spirit will begin the process of sanctifying you:

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:14 NKJV

Perfected forever! Oh, how I desire to be perfected forever… and I have faith that, in eternity, I have been. Each new morning as I awake, I thank God that this work of sanctification is ongoing and evident in my life.

Evident? Yes, in my thoughts, actions and desires I am simply not the same person that I was. That is wonderful. That is freedom.

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