Friday, November 29, 2013

Healing - According to Scripture





And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you (Luke 10:9)





A difficult truth for some people to realize is that God is sovereign and everything that happens or occurs, God either willed it or allowed.  The thing to remember is that although Satin is the prince of this world, God is the king and it is He who is sovereign!  Sometimes God permits sickness to come on a believer, but always remember that Satan is the source. The example of Job illustrates this.

God does not will sickness on a believer. He has knowledge of the attack by Satan and He uses all things (even bad) to work together for the good. This is why that, even during sickness, we can be drawn closer to the Lord. God always seeks to bring good out of evil. He used the effects of sin to remedy it by the death of Jesus. God is not the source of sickness in a believers life, but God takes something Satan intends for evil and works in us to accomplish spiritual victories as we undergo the attack.  Job is not the only illustration of this truth.  Lazarus was allowed to die so the glory of Go through Jesus Christ could be revealed.

Paul first preached in Galatia because of a schedule change due to illness (Galatians 4:13-15). Trophimus' sickness kept him from going to Rome with Paul and suffering a similar fate (II Timothy 4:20). Sickness was used to prevent sin in Genesis 12 and 20. Although these examples illustrate how God uses it, remember that   . . . 

 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. (Lamentations 3:33)

Sickness alone does not produce saints who glorify God. It can produce bitter, complaining, unbelieving people.  But the word of God; the truth is what sanctifies and causes man to glorify God.

 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)

While it is true that we often get into the Word more during a sickness, it is not necessary to have sickness in order to grow spiritually.

It is helpful to remember this: The will of God for believers is Christ-likeness in character. Everything else, including sickness and health, derives its significance in relation to this divine goal 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.    (Romans 8:28-29)

In the case of unbelievers, sickness results from sin and the inherent judgment of God that comes from sin. But even this can be used by God for good, for as healing and deliverance is ministered, salvation can result. God has given many promises in His Word regarding healing and deliverance. Why would God give these in His Word if it is His will for you to be sick? If a believer says, "I do not know if it is God's will to heal me," ask him, "Is it God's will to keep His promises?"

Jesus said, 

"If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." (John 14:9)

He said this because He did the work and will of the Father. If you ever wonder whether or not God wants to heal, you have only to look at our Lord's actions.

When you pray for healing, pray "Thy will be done" or "according to Thy will." You should not say, “If it be Thy will” when you are praying for healing and deliverance. Healing is part of the atonement just like salvation.

If implies doubt that God wants to make you whole. "According to Thy will" projects confident faith, while yet leaving the method, extent, and timing to Him. Even in cases of sickness unto death, pray "according to Thy will" not "if it is Thy will" to heal. "According to thy will" leaves the time and conditions to God. For a believer, He may choose the ultimate healing through death that rids you from the presence of sickness for all eternity.

Jesus taught us to pray 

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."   (Matthew 6:10)

There is no sickness and disease in Heaven, so we can pray confidently against it on earth knowing it is not His will. Jesus never prayed "heal if it is Your will, God." The only time He prayed "If it be Thy will" was in relationship to His own submission to the plan of God for His life--not healing. "If it be Your will" destroys faith. When it was used by an outcast leper who did not know Christ's will in healing, Jesus corrected his uncertainty by assuring him, "I will." 

And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  (Matthew 8:2-3)

Never turn God's facts into hopes or questions. Act on them as realities and you will find them powerful.

Just because someone is not healed immediately or because he dies from a "sickness unto death" does not mean it was not God's will to heal Him. We view things in terms of time, while God views them in terms of eternity. We must remember that there are delayed healings. Some are:

Delayed in mortal time:

*          Sarah's barrenness was not healed immediately.
*          Job was not healed immediately.
*          John the Baptist's father was not healed of his dumbness until a set time.
*          Jesus prayed twice for one blind man who received only partial healing the first time.

Delayed in eternity: Death is just an event within the realm of eternity in the life of a believer. Even a "sickness unto death" is swallowed up in victory because death to a believer is the ultimate healing. As you enter the presence of the Lord you are made whole and no longer suffer from sin or sickness. In speaking of death, Paul says you are prepared for this purpose: 

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (II Corinthians 5:6-9).

Myths regarding healing:

 "This is an affliction of the righteous"  Some people claim: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous. This is an affliction you must bear because you are righteous."

The meaning of the word "afflictions" used in Psalms 34:19, from where this tradition developed, does not refer to sickness. It refers to trials, hardships, persecutions, or temptations. Even if it did refer to sickness, the remainder of the verse indicates that the Lord wants to deliver you.

In James 5:13-16 a difference is noted between afflictions and sickness. If you are afflicted with trials, persecutions, and temptations, you are to pray for yourself:

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (James 5:13) 

Although you can ask others to pray with you, they are not called to pray all your troubles away.

The Scripture instructs you to pray when you are afflicted because you need to learn how to be an overcomer by praying yourself through trials and temptations. In case of sickness, however, the elders are to be called to pray.

Is any sick among you? 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: (James 5:14). 

The sick are to be saved (from their physical sickness), raised up (return of strength), and forgiven of sin (spiritual healing).

 "Divine healing is rare"  Some object to divine healing claiming healing is rare. They ask, "Why get people's hope up only to disappoint them?"

Divine healing is not rare. The pages of the New Testament are filled with accounts of healings and deliverances. The record of church history also has many medically documented divine healings.

 "Your sickness is your cross"  "Your sickness is your cross. You must learn to live with it." Have you ever heard this claim?  The claim that sickness is your "cross" is easily dealt with. "The cross" is not problems, sicknesses, and afflictions that come upon you through no choice of your own. Jesus made it clear that "taking up the cross" is a voluntary act, not something you accept because you have no choice. Jesus did not treat sickness and death as a cross sent from God. He treated them as an enemy. If you believe sickness is your cross, then why do you seek medical help to get rid of it?

Let’s rejoice because everything you need including healing is found in the Potter’s house!

(Biblical Studies)

04/11/16


Divine Healing; Is it Possible?





My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken thou me according to thy Word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me; teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts; so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness; strengthen thou me according unto thy Word.
 (Psalms 119:25-28)








Traditions of men are beliefs, rules, and principles derived from man which hinder the work of God's Word. Jesus told the religious leaders of His time:

But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
  (Matthew 15:6)

If faith comes by hearing God's Word, then it can leave by hearing and accepting traditions of men that destroy faith.

It's amazing that we believe in God for a myriad of things such as cars, money, children, jobs, a home, etc. and yet, when it comes to our health, we don't believe that God is able or worse yet that He is willing to heal us. 

Let’s review some common traditions of men concerning healing. A Biblical response to each tradition is given since the best remedy against error is not silence, but proclamation of the truth of God's Word. When we remove traditions and objections concerning healing we remove barriers blocking divine healing from occurring.

The Psalmist David indicated that although he previously declared his own ways he now desired to learn the ways of God:

My soul cleaveth unto the dust; quicken thou me according to thy Word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me; teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts; so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness; strengthen thou me according unto thy Word. (Psalms 119:25-28)

David replaced traditions with the Word of God, and in so doing, his soul was quickened (healed and renewed).

Here are some common traditions of men concerning healing:

"Healing and miracles are not for today"  Some people claim healing was only for Biblical times or for the future when Jesus returns.

God says: 

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. (Exodus 15:26)

"I am" is present tense. How can we change it to "I was" in the past or "I will be" in the future? The Bible teaches that God does not change:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.(Malachi 3:6)

God has not changed since the beginning of time:  

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

If the day of miracles is past, then so is the day of salvation, for there is no greater miracle than salvation. If healing is for the future when Jesus returns to earth, then the ministry of teachers, pastors, and other leaders must be for that future time also because the gift of healing is a spiritual gift as are these ministries.

The most convincing argument against claims that miracles are not for today is the documented record of experience. There are seven "dispensations" or "ages" in which God has dealt with man in special ways. These are:

Ø    The age of innocence:                         Genesis 1:28
Ø    The age of conscience:                        Genesis 3:23
Ø    The age of human government:           Genesis 8:20
Ø    The age of promise:                             Genesis 12:1
Ø    The age of law:                                      Exodus 19:8
Ø    The age of grace:                                  John 1:17
Ø    The Kingdom age:                                Ephesians 1:10

The coming of Jesus introduced the final Kingdom age. At the beginning of this age, Jesus performed miracles and healings:  

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached. (Luke 7:22)

The book of Acts records miracles and healings in the early Church [body of Christ] as the Kingdom age continued. The documented record of modern Church history also confirms many healings and miracles.

"Why aren't all the dead raised?"  Some people ask, "If healing is for today, why don't believers go around raising all those who have taken sick and died?"

Raising the dead was not part of the Great Commission given to the Church. It was commanded to the disciples when they were first sent on a preaching tour to announce the Kingdom. Raising the dead was the "first fruits" of the resurrection of Jesus which was to come.

There is a difference between special miracles and covenant miracles. Special miracles were performed as a sign in special circumstances, such as turning water to wine, walking on the sea, multiplying the loaves and fishes, and opening the Red Sea.

Healing is a covenant miracle of the Old Testament, not a special miracle. God still raises the dead, but this is determined by His sovereignty and is not a general part of our commission to heal.

"Why do Christians die?"  While we are on the subject of death, some skeptics claim that if divine healing always worked, no Christian would ever die.

No such claim is made by Scriptures. The Bible only provides divine health within the normal life span. Although the atonement of Christ purchased our eternal redemption from death, these mortal bodies will eventually die unless Jesus returns first and the rapture occurs. The same Bible which teaches healing also sets a limit on the length of man's life: 

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. (Psalms 90:10)

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

"Modern medicine makes divine healing unnecessary"  Tradition says: "There was no competent medical help in the time of Jesus. Now that help is available, we are expected to use it instead of praying to God for healing."

As early as 400 B.C. there was a medical healing science. A man named Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.), the father of medicine, developed the science of medicine to a relatively high state. Some of his technique is still used today. Greece, Egypt, and Rome had many competent practitioners in the time of Jesus.  Even the Phoenician woman with the issue of blood and consulted with physicians. 

Divine healing has nothing to do with the competence or incompetence of medical science. It is a blessing provided in the atonement. Every good gift comes from God, so it is acceptable to use legitimate medical resources. Remember, however, that medicine is not a substitute for the covenant promise of healing.

Despite the advances of medicine there are still many incurable illnesses so divine healing is still needed. Also many people are beyond the reach of medical help.

"Divine healing is taught by false cults"  Tradition says: "Divine healing is only taught by false cults".

There were many religious leaders of well known denominations such as the Methodist, Lutheran, and Moravian churches, who taught divine healing. Those who teach it today, along with the saving power of the blood of Jesus and the deity of Christ, are no more unorthodox than these leaders.

Some false cults do teach healing, but not true Biblical healing. It is "psychic" or "mind over matter" healing from a source other than God through Jesus Christ. Satan is a deceiver and imitator. We do not eliminate divine healing just because he deceives and heals through evil powers.

Satan has deceived many into believing that by washing in a particular river one will be cleansed of sin. According to biblical scripture there is only way to be cleansed of our sin and that is through Christ Jesus.  But, do we stop preaching salvation just because Satan has imitated it? Do you stop believing in the medical profession just because there are a few doctors who are frauds? The fact that Satan bothers to imitate divine healing is another indication there is a true healing.

"The body is emphasized more than the soul"  Tradition claims: "Divine healing puts more emphasis on the body than the soul."

Some believers in healing ministries have fallen into this emphasis, but this is not the Biblical pattern of healing. Biblical healing deals with the whole man, body, soul and spirit.

Healing is not a Gospel of itself, it is only one aspect of the Gospel of Christ. It should never be preached apart from the message of salvation of the souls of sinful men and women. The Church's concentration on the spirit and medicine's preoccupation with the body have both missed the 'whole person' concept presented in the Bible.

"You are sick because of your sin"   One claim often heard is that "You are sick because you sinned or have sin in your life."

You will recall that while all sickness is in the world because of sin, a person is not necessarily sick because of personal sin.  We can all look to the account of Job for verification of this fact.

"It is God's will for you to be sick"  "It is God's will for you to be sick. It is for His glory." Have you ever heard this claim?

Many do not question whether or not God is able to heal, but whether He is willing. The Bible indicates we are unwise if we do not understand God's will:  

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)

Knowing God's will concerning sickness provides fertile ground on which faith can grow. The prayer of faith is the only prayer that is effective in obtaining healing for the sick. It cannot be prayed as long as you are wondering if it is God's will to heal.

If you really believe it is God's will for you to be sick, then it is wrong to ask someone to pray for your healing. If sickness of a believer is of God, then doctors are of the devil because they are trying to get rid of sickness. Hospitals are in error because they are seeking to get rid of disease in rebellion against God's will. Every nurse is defying God with each effort to relieve suffering.

Those who believe sickness is God's will should not accept medical treatment to get rid of it. They should not let a doctor operate and remove God's will from their body. If you really believe sickness is God's will for you as a believer, you should stop taking medicine and seeing doctors because you are fighting against the will of God.

But since we know that the source of sickness is Satan, then legitimate doctors, medicines, hospitals, and medical science must be an extension of the goodness of God. Since sickness is of Satan, every legitimate manner of relieving suffering is of God. (By legitimate we mean those methods that do not involve Satanic methods or violate God's Word.)

It is true that your body is bought with a price and you are to glorify God in it, whether you are sick or well. But in the Biblical record, God was glorified when people were healed. If sickness glorifies God, then Christ robbed God of glory by healing the sick. If sickness glorifies God, we should all pray to be sick.

Know this:  God is not glorified by sickness in the body anymore than by the sickness of sin in the spirit.

(Biblical Studies)

08/19/14
04/09/16


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Birth Of A Vision




He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Isaiah 53:11




God wants to give you a spiritual vision just as He did Paul. God also wants to reveal the purposes and objectives which will enable you to fulfill the vision.

As you experience the "birth of a vision" you will become a participator instead of a mere spectator in God's divine plan.

The natural birth process which brings a human baby into the world is similar to the process of the birth of a vision in the spirit world. You will experience the following stages as you give birth to spiritual vision.

Conception"Conception" means to create. A spiritual vision is created in your spirit by God.
When God gave Paul spiritual vision He identified the source. He said, "I am Jesus" (Acts 26:15). God conceived Paul's vision.

DevelopmentWhen you first receive a spiritual vision, it is in "embryo" form. An embryo is a basic cell of life. Just like the development of the human embryo, God develops your spiritual vision as you grow in Him.

The basic cell of life in the human baby is the embryo, from it all the basic human features are developed. If you try to change the embryo, deformity or death can occur to the child.

God conceives the basic spiritual vision within you. The vision must remain the embryo from which all features develop. If you try to change the vision, it will be deformed from the perfect plan of God, or it may be aborted.

When the vision explained in this course is conceived by God in your spirit it must always remain the same although you may fulfill it in different ways.

The vision will grow and develop as you mature spiritually. Its features will not be the same as yesterday, last week, or last month. But you must never forget the basic vision which is the divine purpose for which you are called.

This development of a vision will be a stretching experience as it is in the natural world within the body of a mother. If the vision does not develop within you it will die.

Just as a mother carries her child within her body, when you receive this vision it is with you constantly. It becomes a vital, living part of you. It draws from your own life source as well as from the divine source which conceived it.

While the baby is developing, a pregnant mother will deny herself of certain things. As your spiritual vision develops, you may have to do this also. You may have to deny yourself of your own plans and ambitions. You may have to lay aside worldly treasures. You will have to sacrifice time to fast and pray.

TravailEcclesiastes 5:3 states:  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business. (Ecclesiastes 5:3 – KJV/Apocrypha)

The meaning of the word "multitude" is great. "Business", according to one Hebrew meaning, is travail [difficulty]. So a dream or vision comes through "great travail.”

In natural birth there are facts about travail that parallel the spiritual travail which births a vision. Natural travail is a time of intense, concentrated effort to birth the child. This time of travail is also called "labor.”

As in the delivery of a child, a spiritual vision is birthed by intense mental, physical, and spiritual concentration. As you study this course, concentrate on what God wants to birth in your spirit.

In the natural world during labor [travail], the one giving birth must let the natural forces take control. Physically forcing the child into the birth canal before it opens can kill the child.

The same is true in the spirit world. Let God take control of your life. If you try to birth the vision in your own strength it will abort the plan of God.

Everything within you may cry out to push and bring the spiritual vision forth with natural abilities. But by self-effort you can destroy the vision.

Peter cried out to Christ, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man," when he realized what Christ was calling him to do (Luke 5:8). He knew the vision was too great for him to fulfill by his natural strength and abilities.

As a mother in travail hides herself from public gaze, so those in travail spiritually must be alone with God.

The Time Of Transition:  In the natural birth process there is a time during labor known as the time of "transition.” It is the most difficult time of travail right before the birth canal is open to permit the birth of the child.

This parallels the birth of a vision in the spirit world. When God births in you a spiritual vision you will experience a time of transition.

Transition means change. As God gives you this spiritual vision it is going to require change in your life. It will call for new commitment and dedication.

You may experience pressure in every area of your life. Everything within you may cry out for relief from the spiritual birth pangs of what God is bringing forth.

This is the point where many fail to receive the vision. Time and time again God has brought His people to the time of transition to birth His vision within them.

But because the transition was too difficult many have turned back. They could not take the pressure of this most difficult time.

It required changes in their thought patterns and lifestyle which they were not willing to make. They could not abandon self-effort and tradition. They could not set aside their own ambitions and desires to embrace the plan of God. This is what happened to the nation of Israel:  

Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in Thy sight, O Lord.  We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. (Isaiah 26:17-18)

Travail brings sorrow but it leads to the birth which brings joy:  

A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. (John 16:21)

We are told in Isaiah 53:11 that God witnessed the travail of Jesus Christ and was satisfied. 

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.  Isaiah 53:11

A vision was fulfilled that day on Calvary ...a vision that had been promised since the fall of man into sin.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  (Genesis 3:15)

Through travail, the vision of redemption from sin became a reality.

Travail is a painful experience, but it is only through travail that the vision can be birthed:

...for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.  (Isaiah 66:8-9)

The BirthThe development of a spiritual vision has an expected end, just as a human embryo. That end is birth. Prematurity of birth and delay of birth can result in death, both in the natural birth process and in the birth of spiritual vision.

After birth in the natural world the child continues to grow and develop. After the birth of this spiritual vision it will continue to grow and develop. It will have new features and form, but they all must develop from that basic cell of spiritual life which is the vision.

Abraham tried to bring forth his God-given vision through self-effort by the birth of Ishmael. He knew God wanted to make him a great nation and he thought an heir could not come through his wife, Sarah.

So he did something about it and Ishmael was born. But whose power was behind Ishmael, that of Abraham or that of God? Was the fulfillment of the vision through Ishmael man-made or God-made?

You can bring an Ishmael on the scene through your own efforts. Ishmael represents your plans and methods of trying to do God's will through natural abilities. But the heavenly vision, represented by Isaac, must be birthed by God.

Who is the source of spiritual vision?

When asked, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?", Jesus responded, "This is the work of God", indicating that He, Himself, was the source (John 6:28-29).

God did not want Abraham to be the source of the heavenly vision any more than He wants us to bring forth man-made or organizationally-made visions.

God is the source of spiritual vision. The vision which you will receive in this course is His plan. It is not a plan of man, a denomination, or an organization.

Scripture has no record of God speaking again to Abraham for thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael. Not until it was humanly impossible for Abraham to have a child did God again stir the vision within him. By then, self-effort had died.

Then came the birth of a vision, for in the perfect timing of God Isaac was miraculously born. But with the birth of God's plan [Isaac], Ishmael [self-effort] must be cast out.

It is time for your Isaac [God's plan] to be birthed in your spirit. In order for this to happen, Ishmael must be cast out.

It is a painful experience to cast out self-effort, your plans, ambitions, tradition, and organizational programs.

But God is saying to you as He did to Abraham, "Grieve not for Ishmael [self-effort], for in Isaac shall your seed be called." In Isaac the source of the vision was God.

ARE YOU READY?

Birth requires change. In the natural world, the child must leave the security of the womb.

When you were born again you had to leave the old life of sin. You had to let Jesus change your thought and action patterns.

To give birth to spiritual vision also requires change. It requires courage to step from the known into the unknown.

Are you ready to receive that spiritual vision? Are you willing to experience spiritual travail in order to birth something new and vital in your Christian life? If you are not willing you had better stop here, for once you glimpse the vision from God, your life will never again be the same.

(Biblical Studies)



08/01/14

11/26/15