Do you know anyone battling cancer? Anne Graham Lotz, Joni Eareckson Tada and Reinhard Bonnke have been walking through this "valley of the shadow of death." You probably know numerous people who need some life-giving encouragement at this critical time.
After reading this article, will you take a few minutes to pass this along as an early Christmas gift to them? God tells us that "we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the weak" (Rom. 15:1a), and "If one member suffers, all suffer together" (1 Cor. 12:26, ESV). Wouldn't you want someone to inspire you if you were in a similar situation?
Recently, my wife and I celebrated a belated 42nd wedding anniversary trip where we had the wonderful opportunity to mingle for a week mainly with non-Christians.
As an "ambassador for Christ," I was like a kid in a candy shop engaging with people, sharing the gospel and giving over 30 people my personal testimony tract. Guests and staff were from Bosnia, Ukraine, Philippines, Croatia, Canada, Serbia and over 50 nations of the world.
Returning from breakfast the last day, I noticed a woman and her husband, and in a natural, friendly way, we struck up a conversation. Just as Jesus spotted Nathaniel sitting under a tree and was intentional in connecting and then sharing the transformative message of the gospel (John 1:47-50), I followed the S.A.L.T. approach: Start a conversation. Ask questions. Listen. Tell your story.
During our 30-minute interchange, I not only discovered they were also born-again Christians, but the lady had a remarkable story of a dramatic healing from cancer. Like me, she regularly plants gospel "seeds" by distributing her story in a testimonial handout of lifestyle evangelism.
'My Tribute to God for the Things He Has Done'
Drena's tract featured the above title, then launched into her miraculous story.
In 1985 after self-examination, a mammogram, a needle biopsy and finally a surgical biopsy, it was determined that I had breast cancer. It was discovered that the cancer was also in my lymph nodes, and the cancer was in stage 4. After surgery, I faced radiation treatments for seven weeks. Finally, I had a radiation implant to attack the cancer in my lymph nodes. This was 31 years ago and I've been cancer-free all these years.
Much to my surprise—and the doctors—the cancer returned in the summer of 2016. This time the cancer was much more extensive and surgery wasn't a possibility. It was in nine places in my breasts, bones and blood stream. Again, it was identified as stage 4.
I was treated this time with radiation and chemo pills, which I was told I would take for the rest of my life. They told me the best outcome was to shrink the cancers and try to keep it from spreading anywhere else. I told the doctors that God might have a different plan.
On November 27, 2016, I went to Ball Memorial Hospital for another PET scan. On December 2, I saw my oncologist and I asked her if I could see my PET scan. Her answer was 'No.' I asked, 'Why not!?' She said, 'Drena, there is nothing to see!'
My husband, Bob, and I got very excited and said, 'God has healed me!' The doctor put her hands toward heaven and said, 'Yes!'
My motto is: 'If I live, I live for Christ. If I die, I'll be with Him. Either way, I win!' That is so true. But I want to thank all my many friends around the country for praying for my healing. I don't believe the outcome would've been the same without all the prayers.
I will never be the same and plan to live the rest of my life spreading the message about Jesus and that God is in the business of healing in the year 2016 and not just in Bible times. The excitement is today as if I just found this out yesterday. Of course, I was willing to live with the outcome whatever God had in mind. I feel my issues are not issues but opportunities.
If I hadn't gotten cancer, I would not have the opportunity to meet some of His medical people at all and God only knows what He has in mind for these opportunities. Everywhere I go I tell people of my miracle! It's wonderful how young and old both are very excited about hearing my story.
Drena closed her testimony with two updates in the past two years declaring her "cancer-free" and the lyrics to "My Tribute," a classic song by the late Andrae Crouch. She faithfully witnesses to all her doctors and has seen 39 conversions to Christ as a result of sharing her testimony!
She told me that she witnessed to a woman who didn't want to hear anything about Jesus. But when the lady got cancer, Drena shared the gospel, and she confessed Jesus as her Lord and Savior. One month later she died, and went to her home in heaven.
How About You?
First, someone passed along this article to you because they care about you in your quest for physical healing. Be assured that just as Jesus healed multitudes in the gospels, the Bible teaches He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8, MEV). His normative will for His obedient children is health and healing.
But God isn't like a slot machine who automatically does what we want, when we want it and how we want it. There's an element of mystery in divine healing. There are also conditions and reasons why people aren't healed that need to be understood and addressed.
Multitudes of us reading this article are "born-again" Christians, but some of us aren't yet or aren't sure. What matters most is clearing up any uncertainty in responding to God and receiving all He has for us because he loves us extravagantly.
Beyond physical healing is the more important aspect of our salvation and God's promise to save us.
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16a), who was punished on the cross for our sins so that we could be pardoned upon our turning away from sin to totally trust in Jesus and His finished work on the cross.
If you need further guidance, ask an authentic Christian you know to help you to find forgiveness and a fresh start in your life. Everything begins when we humble ourselves, admit our need and in childlike faith come to the one who loves us and was raised from the dead to change our life, now and for all eternity!
Second, the Christmas season is one of the best times to reach out to people in love, build bridges of trust and winsomely share the good news of redemption found only in Jesus Christ. Make the most of the Christmas season to practice lifestyle evangelism naturally, relationally and enjoyably.
Let me encourage you to watch five brief inspirational YouTube videos prepared on this exciting topic. I promise they will equip, challenge and motivate you in the adventure of being His ambassador.
Jesus said, "the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). He spoke these words as He was "passing through" an area but intentionally stopped to connect with a man name Zacchaeus who was curious but not converted. Jesus focused his attention upon this nondescript short man, investing time in him, which led to a gospel-transformed life.
Many opportunities for sharing Christ come disguised as unwelcome interruptions. Jesus showed Zacchaeus how much he really cared by pausing to interact. Someone cared for you in sending you this testimony. Let's all rise to our calling as "ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us" (2 Cor. 5:20b).
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy advisor with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com). Hear his weekly podcast here.
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