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FOR THAT THY NAME IS NEAR THY WONDROUS WORKS DECLARE

By Beatrice Mantock

 

When asked by Moses what his, God’s name was, God answered: “I AM THAT I AM.” So he that is, the living and true God, is near, even if at times we can’t feel it. But when we see his wondrous works, when we look at them, they declare his presence.

Psalm 75:1:
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

His wondrous works are described in his Word, and they are also wrought in our personal life, that we may know that God Almighty is near.

Throughout his magnificent Word, it is also made plain that God wants us to remember his wondrous works:

Psalm 77:11-14:
I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

Not only are we told to remember them, but we should also meditate and talk of them, and this is what I would like to do. I would like to tell you about one of the greatest wonders God has done in my life. It happened in 1998, during a Christian summer camp on the island of Thasos, Greece. For many years, my life had been a mess, because I was utterly deceived. I was convinced that a Christian could lead any lifestyle, as long as he or she spoke about the Bible to everybody. Among other things, I had been a severe smoker for more than ten years. When confronted by other people, my excuse was that the spiritual things were far more important, and that I wanted to be focused on them first, then maybe later, someday, I would think about giving up smoking.

A few months before the camp in Greece, I already started to feel that some things in my life were wrong. I felt guilty, weak, lost and confused, and I felt that I had to renew my relationship with my Heavenly Father. No doubt God was preparing me for what was about to happen.

So, I went to Greece with huge expectations. The fellowship was sweet, the teachings inspired, and God truly was in charge of that event. I saw how people were ministered to by their brothers and sisters in Christ, as they were laying hands on them, and soon I wanted to be ministered to myself. It was easy, because I was ready to receive, I truly believed that I would be delivered – from what, I didn’t know yet. Praise God for arming his people with such powerful spiritual weaponry, the gifts of the Spirit! And praise God for the brother in Christ who ministered to me that day – I will always be deeply indebted to him. As he laid his hands on me, he detected more than one evil spirit, then he bound them and cast them out of my body. It was amazing, as I could actually feel a fight going on in my body, but because of the superiority of God’s power, it only lasted a few seconds.

In the evening of the same day, I felt like withdrawing from the crowd in order to meditate on the astounding events, so I went to the room where I was staying and sat down on the little balcony. As I had just bought 3 or 4 of those big packets they sell in Greece (I think one holds 40 cigarettes), I lit up a cigarette – but I couldn’t smoke it. Maybe you have tried smoking yourself, or you remember the experience of the first cigarettes you ever smoked: it tastes horrible, and your whole body offers resistance. This is how that cigarette tasted. Also, I felt like waking up to reality, and I said to myself: What am I doing here? Is it so great to suck on this glowing stick, should I sacrifice my health for it? Clearly, the answer was NO.

At first, I couldn’t believe what was happening, but then I realized that it had to do with those evil spirits leaving my body. One of them, with a specific name, was responsible for the bondage I had been in for so many years. In fact, on account of its very name and nature, it dawned on me that he was trying to kill me, because I used to have bad pains in my legs and veins; I even got treated with injections once. Of course I ignored the doctor’s advice to give up smoking, since I was blind and in bondage. But by God’s grace and power I was set free, and I joyfully threw away the many packets of cigarettes I had bought. It was all so real and overwhelming – I felt like being face to face with God. That miracle truly showed me that HE IS, and that he is very near.

Now the first 3 to 4 months after that, I had no problem with my new life as a non-smoker, but as it goes, nobody is safe from being tempted. And so, during the following four months, I did smoke from time to time, but it was different now: It always tasted rather bad; I felt that it wasn’t an addiction anymore; and I had a very bad conscience! I knew that I was mocking God. So I pulled myself together, didn’t smoke anymore, and I haven’t smoked for more than three years now.

To say that I am never tempted would be a lie. I am, but I have learned that we have the power to resist temptation. It may not always be easy, but why should it be? The obedient Christian life isn’t a life of comfort and ease. After all, God says about our body:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, emphasis added:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Thessalonians 5:23:
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What remains to be said is this:

Daniel 4:2-3:
I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.
3 How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

 

 


From the December 2002 issue of The Vine & Branches