Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: healing

Hope

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13

Hope is vital. Adi and I watched George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces when he and Will Hardie followed a WWII POW’s plans to build a caravan. It was incredible. Writing those plans and dreaming of being free again gave that prisoner hope in a very dark situation.

So it’s not surprising that God, in whose image we are made, is a God of hope.

I’m glad that it is He who fills us with all joy and peace in believing. Filling with all – that speaks of generosity, filled up with good things. I like Jesus’ description of a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. This is God’s nature: to give in abundance.

He gives all joy and peace in believing.

When God had broken in and miraculously healed me from cerebellar ataxia and ME in 2010/11, I pursued Him for complete healing from migraines (these have lessened in frequency and intensity but not quite gone completely). Initially, every time I asked someone to pray for healing, they asked for me to be filled with joy. I remember one motherly lady saying: ‘You’ve not known much joy, have you?’

I had a normal happy childhood, but that lady was right. I was so fearful in general and busy trying to be in control that there was no place for joy or peace in my life.

As God chucked out the clutter of fear and control and whatnot from my life, He filled those spaces with His joy and peace. The most memorable time was when He’d delivered me of a spirit of fear, that night He filled me with joyful, belly-aching, rolling around on the carpet, snorting laughter.

Joy and peace are daily companions now, I’m thankful to say. That’s not to say life is hunky-dory and all sorted. I still need to discern fear (it can be subtle), or trying to be in control or whatever and deal with it before God. But He is my hope and He restores joy and peace. In fact, He increases it.

I think the more we walk in the Spirit, the more capacity we have for God. The more I allow Him to sweep out the dusty corners of my heart, the more room there is for Him. That’s how it feels to me anyway 🙂

It’s all by the power of His Spirit. Oh that’s such a relief. I couldn’t drum up joy and peace if my life depended on it. But He gives it freely and extravagantly by His great power. Woo hoo!

The God of hope wants us to abound in hope, having been filled with all joy and peace by the power of His Spirit. Hope is a prayer away, and He is generous to those who ask.

Love

Seven years ago, I had a chronic illness that was worsening despite the best efforts of the medical profession. I wondered if I was in the valley of the shadow of death. It felt like my body was beginning to shut down and there was little hope, physically speaking.

But then I had a significant breakthrough healing, followed a few months later by Jesus meeting with me and completing what He’d started. It was just me and Him in my living room, when He restored my health.

I’d made the decision to follow Jesus as a child but I didn’t really begin to comprehend His love for me until He healed me. I was stuck in a hopeless and, at times, very dark situation that I couldn’t get out of. My best efforts on my ‘good’ days got me nowhere and mostly made me worse. No one was able to help.

But Jesus came to my rescue.

I will always be so thankful to Him. He gave me back my life – and this time with a new sparkle in my eyes because I know He loves me. I no longer just believe it with my mind. It has become a reality in my heart, something I experience.

For me, the illness and healing are a physical picture of what Jesus had already done for me spiritually.

My soul wasn’t dying, it was dead. I was alienated from God. I was a good child, but just like a corpse can’t help itself, I couldn’t help myself. I was in a hopeless situation.

But the Father loves me. In fact, He loves me the same way He loves Jesus. I was dead, but He brought me to life. He dealt with the baggage that I’ve collected since conception: bad thoughts, wrong reactions, rebellion, white lies, etc, etc. 2,000 years ago Jesus took all my baggage on Himself when He died on the cross, paying the full price for my wrongdoing and in exchange giving me His goodness instead.

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 John 4:10

What is love?

Love looks like a King dying for His rebellious subjects so that they don’t have to pay for their wrong thoughts and actions, and to make them royal sons and daughters.

I love this song, written and performed by a friend, Chris Barton: This is Love

Have

What do I have?

A magnificent friend who adores me and can do anything.

Since knowing Him, my life has changed almost beyond recognition. I’m not the woman I was a few years ago.

Then, I didn’t think God was willing to heal today.

Then, I wasn’t sure what He had to offer other people. I wasn’t even sure what He had offered me.

Then, I had little confidence in myself and amoeba-sized faith in God if you squinted very hard through a microscope.

I’m thankful to say that that is changing 🙂

God has healed me from cerebellar ataxia and ME/chronic fatigue. I had one significant breakthrough when friends prayed for me ten months into the illness, and Jesus completed the healing four months after that, just me and Him in my living room. I have confidence that God is willing to heal today.

I know my God offers Himself to other people, just as He has done to me. That gives me confidence in telling them about my wonderful friend.

My faith is now fractionally bigger than amoeba-sized. I’m trying things I’ve never done before. Let me tell you a story.

When I started helping at my church’s food bank three years ago, I was too scared to offer to pray with clients if they were ill or in pain or feeling low. My team leader gently encouraged me and for weeks I longed to offer but was too scared. Then one afternoon with my team leader eye-balling me across the room, I finally plucked up the courage to offer prayer. The client accepted and I prayed. Probably not well, but I did it. From then, offering to pray into difficult situations became more normal for me.

Right up to this afternoon at our church’s community Easter Party in the local pub. I prayed for healing for a lady with a chronic illness. She sensed God’s peace as I prayed. We’ll wait to see the outcome.

It feels good, taking baby steps of faith and going on an adventure with Jesus.

All because I have a magnificent friend who adores me and can do anything.

 

Silence

Me: ‘My word prompt today is silence.’

Adi: ‘Ha ha ha ha ha!’

I guess that tells you a lot about us….

I’m a typical woman, keen to use up my 20,000 words a day. The best sign Adi has of something being wrong is when I go quiet.

When I was ill, I was silent. Even on good days I didn’t have oodles of energy for speaking.

After Jesus completed my healing, our pastor caught up with us. He listened as I gushed about what had happened and how great it was to be well again. Then he turned to Adi.

‘And what do you think about all this Adi?’

‘It’s great, but she’s not shut up since.’

‘There’s a downside to every healing.’ We saw the twinkle in his eye as we all burst out laughing.

 

 

Photo used by kind permission of stockimages at freedigitalphotos

 

Glory

What if Jesus were to take you for a walk along the beach and make you an offer?  ‘Give Me your heart, and you will gain Me.’

What would you do?

Last summer, that happened to me. I was in Hunstanton with my dear friend Elizabeth and we’d been enjoying soaking in God’s presence. Then He invited me for a walk along the beach. I’d never heard God speak so clearly to my heart before. First the Father, then Jesus, then the Holy Spirit put their case.

‘Give Us your heart, and you will gain Us.’

There was no manipulation, no blackmail, simply the most amazing and important offer I will ever get.

At the end of that incredible hour-long walk, I responded: ‘Yes.’ How could I say otherwise? I wasn’t sure what giving my whole heart to God would look or feel like, giving up my rights, doing what pleases Him simply because I love Him, but I want to gain Him – to know Him better, deeper, more intimately, for Him to trust me with His heart – than anything else.

I’ve had an increased longing to see God’s glory since that memorable walk. Three years ago the Spirit broke in on our church meetings with unusual power, bringing joy and freedom. I would love for that to happen again and then some.

There is a weightiness to God’s glory and presence. In the days of the Old Testament, there were occasions when the priests couldn’t even get in the place of worship because God’s glory filled it, making it impossible for them to stand or do their duties.

It’s awesome to think that that same God now lives in me and has made me a carrier of His presence. Wherever I go, I’m a representative of the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus started His ministry, He introduced the Kingdom of God – and God’s glory was seen clearly. The coming of the Kingdom meant supernatural things happening in everyday life – sick people were healed, dead people were brought back to life, violent storms immediately stopped. Just before Jesus brought His friend Lazarus back to life He said, ‘Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’

20150721_050820Jesus really wants us to see His glory; He prayed about this to His Father a few hours before He was arrested and executed.

In those early days after Jesus had come back to life, the Spirit-filled disciples took to heart His instructions to proclaim the good news and ‘heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers/skin diseases, cast out demons’. You’d think that people would have been happy and excited to see that happening. And some were, especially the ones who experienced these life-changing miracles. But not everyone was pleased and the disciples ran into trouble. Yet their reaction was to ask God for more, and His reply was to literally shake their meeting place and fill them to overflowing.

And so my word for 2016 is GLORY (if you haven’t already guessed!). My prayer for this year is for God to be my magnificent obsession and for nothing to keep me from pursuing Him until I, too, overflow with the power of the Spirit and we see God’s glory.

 

Jesus My Rock

Jesus, You are my rock.
Waves may beat around me but I am secure on the rock.
Howling winds may come against me, but I shall not be moved, as You give me strength to stand.
Hailstones may come in life that cause hurt, but You bind up the hurts and pour in oil for healing.
Cold rain may pour down but You give shelter.
The heat of the day may seem too much at times but You give the cooling wind of the Holy Spirit, and give shade under the shadow of Your wings.

All may be dry around me but You give water from the wells of salvation to refresh me.
Cold air may blast around but Your love brings warmth.

You are our shelter, our hiding place and refuge.

When my legs feel weak, You hold me by Your strong power.
You give me support in every situation.
I am secure in Your arms.

Indeed, You are my rock and the One I can fully trust and depend upon.

 Elizabeth BentonElizabeth Benton

God Still Does Miracles!

Four years ago, I didn’t know how to deal with the (completely flat) paving in this photo. The different coloured bricks were confusing: should I step over them? If so, how high did they go? Should I walk round them? I felt as though I was on a tightrope and might fall off at any moment. It was all too much, my brain gave up, and my longsuffering husband had to come and rescue me.

Crazy Paving P&RTwo weeks ago, I parked the car and jumped out, walking briskly across the car park to catch the park and ride bus. In my memory, the bricks were very jazzy and – even four years on – I half blamed the council for laying such a busy pattern. But in reality, the pattern is gentle and not jazzy at all. The pedestrian area is spacious.

I sat on the park and ride bus in a daze. It hit me just how ill I’d been, that I couldn’t cope with such a simple, non-intrusive pattern. And my heart overflowed with thankfulness at God’s kindness and generosity in healing me.

Last Sunday, I had a wonderful opportunity to share the five minute version of my healing testimony at St Mary’s in Leamington Spa. Listen here.

© 2019 Mandy Baker Johnson

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