Over & over through out scripture, God teaches us, especially in times of troubles, to listen for His instruction & obey as an act of faith. This likely means we must first clear away distractions & let God write our to-do list. Jesus offered up a small amount of food & praised God for multiplying it to feed thousands (in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). Lord, I lift up the food You graciously provide to me. I praise Your blessing of it satisfies all who are hungry, thank You our Great Giving Father!
How did the woman who had bled for twelve years, suffering under the care of many doctors (& spending all she had), how did she come to know: 'If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." (Mark 5:28)? According to Jewish Law, anything or anyone she touched became unclean, but because Jesus came to fulfill the law, he cleansed her. Jesus gave her the instruction she needed to heal. He knew she would touch Him before it happened.
After Peter ASKED Him to, Jesus told Peter to "Come" walk on the stormy sea to Him (Matthew 14:25-33). Obviously, it was not that walking was difficult for Peter. The tricky part was believing he could walk on a non-solid substance in the midst of a storm! This story tells me that when the Lord says "Come" I might be called to do an something I already know how to do within a context that seems impossible. This type of act of faith, I have been practicing when my energy is extremely low or scattered or when a feeling of overwhelm tries to take over. Rather than elaborate plans, God knows these acts of faith often need to be very simple, such as raising my arms up & reciting a health confession: "This is my comfort in my affliction, that Thy word has revived me" (Psalm 119:50).
When Jesus healed people, He often gave them a simple instruction:
"Bring the boy here to me." (Matthew 17:17)
When praying for healing, I encourage myself & those I am praying for to listen for an instruction from the Lord. It may be a very simply action (yet still often requires great faith, like "walking on water"). The receiving of an instruction is not about testing the Lord or "testing out" His healing. By listening, we are practicing & honing our ability to hear God! & act-ivating our faith, healing & discipleship, amen!
This seven minute animation (Retelling the Good Story) is where I got the two art images above. This video is a beautiful artistic version of two Gospel stories told from a First Nations cultural perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)
Our soul is the place deep within that unites our psyche & spirit with our body. The healing of the soul from sin is the innermost, profound (even pervasive) type of healing we can go through, somewhat like the process of physical birth.
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7
The degree to which sin has invaded one's self, soul healing salvation is self-destructive & as such, makes personal the crucifixion & resurrection of Jesus Christ:
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)
Many don't understand the need for soul healing and confuse it for other needs. The realization of the need for salvation is not something one person rightly can push upon another. The desire for a free soul: eternal life (knowing God as Jesus Christ), comes from within, hearing His knocking & calling us home.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." (John 6:44)
Purification of the soul is on continuous offer from God Almighty to everyone alive, as the gift of grace through Jesus Christ. Accepting God's gift of redemption means entering into covenant relationship with God & surrendering to His Word & to His Ways:
"...whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)
As the Light of the Lord (Holy Spirit) goes to work within an individual's spirit when their soul is saved, full healing of body & mind is activated & nothing can stop it (not even physical death). Even that which seems like an obstacle (e.g. illness) becomes part of one's healing journey. God has a plan & always makes His Ways straight, uplifting us from darkness.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
I remember laughing out loud, likely through tears, when I read this Bible passage above. Wait a minute, I thought ... Your yoke is easy & Your burden is light? Come now, really ... why then is it so painful?
While salvation happens the instant we first believe, its effects have our whole lives & beyond (eternity) to penetrate & permeate throughout our being. That God has us for such a long while (forever!) is a very good thing because we humans are very dense & so it can take Light a long time & some pretty intense pain to make its healing ways through us. The Holy Spirit clears us out; all that is not of God must go so He can fill us entirely. Iniquities, infirmities & afflictions - be gone, in Jesus name.
Throughout Jesus' ministry He demonstrated much compassion towards those oppressed by illness; healing all who came to him, even those with little faith! The testimonies of physical healing did such a great work of spreading the "Good News" of Jesus like an underground fire erupting in places & never going out. Jesus healed the sick when He was God-made-flesh on earth & He continues healing people to the present day; we know this because it is written:
“I the LORD do not change. (Malachi 3:6)
Just as salvation can be a sensitive topic in the secular world so to is the topic of physical healing, or "Faith Healing", even among Christians. Why is it that some people heal quickly while other faithful folk remain sick for years, despite much prayer?
It is so important that we be wise to etiquette around the topic of faith healing so as to not create more disappointment (where there is already much suffering) and push people away from ourselves and from God. I know firsthand how devastating it can be to be prayed over so many times & not feel any better physically, it's heartbreaking! I understand more now & there is much faith, joy (& even delight) in the renewing of my mind & softening of my heart, that I want to pass along. So now, here are some of the rules I pledge to live by regarding this topic:
1. Educate others about faith healing and let the understanding & the desire for it come from them (from God within them). When they are ready, they will come to it!
2. Do not assume everyone with a disability/illness wants/requires physical healing. Often people know subconsciously when it is their time to pass on or to remain in the condition they are in. In addition, many people with disabilities do not want to be fixed or cured. Never judge anyone who has "not yet healed" (e.g. as having too little faith etc.). The matter is between that person & God (& me or you, if they allow it).
3. All healing is from God; He made us healing "bio-machines". When praying for healing, rather than use the phrase:
"If it be your will..." (If you are not sure that it is God's will to heal you will you possibly go against God's Will by asking the doctor to figure out what is going wrong, taking medication or getting surgery?);
PRAY (something like): "Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer & healing me, in Jesus name, Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." AMEN!
4. One of the biggest lessons to understanding faith healing comes from this verse (& there are others like it):
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)
This is where people with chronic illness need Noah's ark & mustard seed moving mountains & the thief on the cross next to Jesus saying "Remember me...", type of faith. Once we've asked for health, we must believe it is so despite possible lingering symptoms. For this is what faith is, believing that which we do not have empirical evidence for. Believing what is not, into reality--not on the basis of new age sayings and positive psychology but on the authority of God & His promises throughout scripture.
This is a huge revelation in that, rather than getting disappointed after prayer & continued symptoms, we can instead take action to cultivate more faith, such as, by making confession: "Jesus is the Lord of my life. Sickness & disease have no power over me." (Charles Capps). Each confession is like lifting weights; it's going to take many repetitions to become stronger & see our "faith muscles" increase. Similarly, it may take many repetitions to see health replace symptoms after years of the brain subconsciously "rehearsing" certain sensations over & over.
Furthermore, there are reasons other than what I've mentioned so far (e.g. timing, faith) as to why one's physical healing may be delayed. I have more to share and will do so in another blog, another time. Thank you for reading & happy healing, amen!
I’m encouraged by the increasing numbers of individuals, myself included, who realize we are being blinded to faith & are overcoming that. By faith I mean trusting the principles & promises of The Word; that the Bible is true, holy & sacred, from & of God, amen.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
What I mean by ‘blinded to faith’ is analogous to growing up in darkness & silence. If that were the case, being exposed later in life to visual & auditory stimuli wouldn’t make sense, especially at first. In fact, one would likely deliberately close their eyes & plug their ears to reduce the confusing effects of the new types of information.
We would default to using our sense of touch, taste & smell to try to ‘see & hear’ but obviously that wouldn’t work. It is the same for faith. Especially at first, we can't rely our usual ways of sensing & thinking to come to faith. Faith has everything to do with the immaterial, spiritual realm (which includes but is not limited to the confines of the material world) to which many of us are not only unaccustomed to but are also hostile against.
So how do people acquire faith? There are several factors at hand in this matter. First & foremost:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:44) & "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
Furthermore, our sense of faith develops in the light of the faith of others. I pray in the name of Jesus, this blog will ignite a fire of faith in each of the readers hearts so that they share their faith in fitting ways with others, amen.
The Bible says: “So faith comes from hearing & hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Notice here, as Bill Johnson of Bethel Church points out, that it doesn’t say: “So faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.” No, first, we hear through The Word of Christ & then faith comes. “The point is, according to The Message, before you trust, you have to listen.” If we close off to hearing what Christ says, faith can't flourish within the soil of our hearts.
Two other important factors regarding the acquisition of faith: the renewed mind & heart of flesh.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
I like the way Bill Johnson sums up this point by saying: "Faith doesn’t come from the mind, we know that. Faith comes from the heart but the renewed mind is like the banks of a river; it creates the context for faith to flow in .... And the renewed mind anchors into what God has said above every other voice.” AMEN!