Posts Tagged healing

Plea for Mercy

Psalm 6: 2 – 4              (TPT)

Please deal gently with me; show me mercy, for I’m sick and frail. I’m fading away with weakness. Heal me, for I’m falling apart. How long until you take away this pain in my body and in my soul? Lord, I’m trembling in fear! Turn to me and deliver my life because I know you love and desire to have me as your very own.

A friend of mine turned me on to the Passion Translation and I am so glad she did. I really love to read the psalms from it. I think you may be able to see why.

Have you ever felt like this, felt like you were falling apart both body and soul? I have and so I can relate to David’s cry for help. David had something many of us have not fully realized. He knew that God wanted him as His very own. Isn’t that a heartwarming thought? Can you truthfully say the same thing about yourself? I know it is true. God treasures you, but do you know it?

If you know that God loves you and desires to have you as His very own, does that give you greater confidence that He will answer your prayers? David was confident. Verses nine and ten from the God’s Word translation demonstrate this, “The Lord has heard my plea for mercy. The Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be put to shame and deeply shaken with terror. In a moment they will retreat and be put to shame.” He really did trust that the Lord would meet whatever need presented itself. I can imagine David standing before his enemies saying, “In a moment you will retreat and be put to shame!” I think he believed it that strongly.

What will you say? What will you declare when you look into the mirror this morning? Do you believe the Lord will restore your soul? Is He going to heal your body? Will your enemies turn and flee in terror? Your declaration determines whether these are truths in your life or simply wishes. What is God’s role in your life? Is He a partner or a spectator?

Get excited about the God of your life. Meditate on His love and desire for you. Let that thought fill you. He will hear your plea for mercy and help and rush to your aid. That is the Father, your real father, the one who created you before the beginning of time.

Ask

Luke 4: 38 – 40

And He arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever; and they made request of Him on her behalf. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately arose and waited on them. And while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on every one of them, He was healing them.

We all know about Jesus who went about doing good (Acts 10: 38). What strikes me here is that Jesus wasn’t going around looking for someone to do good to. In these few verses there are two examples of people receiving healing. In neither case, though, did Jesus seek them out.

Jesus had been in the synagogue. When he and his disciples left there, they went to Peter’s house. “They,” whoever they may be, asked Jesus to minister to Peter’s sick mother-in-law. What would Jesus have done if no one had asked him to minister to her?

In the second scenario, Jesus may have been enjoying his after dinner cup of coffee when people began showing up at Peter’s front door. Again, Jesus didn’t go out looking for someone to pray for. People asked for prayer, for ministry. I am not suggesting that we should not initiate prayer or to be purposeful about praying for people. The point of this message is to observe Jesus and learn from him. Why didn’t he offer to pray for Peter’s mother-in-law? After dinner, why didn’t he go sit in the town square and call out to people? There may be something going on here.

In Matthew, chapter nine, we read about the woman who “had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak,” (Matthew 9: 20). She was instantly healed. Jesus didn’t seek her out either, but she had been “saying to herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will get well,’” (Matthew 9: 21). The woman initiated contact with Jesus. She pressed through the crowd to touch his garment believing that she would be healed with that touch. Jesus, realizing that power had gone out from him turned around and “seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.’ At once the woman was made well,” (Matthew 9: 22).

What is going on here? I think there is an important lesson for us to learn. Jesus said it in John 16: 24, “Ask and you will receive.” From his brother we learn, “You do not have because you do not ask,” (James 4: 2). I have been amazed at the reluctance people have shown to asking for prayer. If Jesus came to town, would we shake of our lethargy and actually seek prayer? People will tell me the incredible challenges they have gone through and I will think, “We have a prayer line on our website, why don’t people ask for prayer?” What is going on in our cultures that was not present during Jesus’ time? Is our attitude the result of the protestant reformation? Since we each have a direct pipeline to God, have we determined that we do not need to ask other people for prayer? Even knowing that I am a pastor, few people come to me and ask me to pray for them. Almost none ask me to lay hands on them for healing? Is this simply because we have not taught people to ask?

Well, I am teaching today! Ask! Are you sick? Do you have need of any healing for your body, mind, emotions? Ask. In the examples above, the people brought their faith for healing in their request. The woman with the hemorrhage demonstrated her faith, actually used her faith, to reach out to Jesus. Others went to Jesus seeking healing because they had faith that they would receive. He didn’t seek them out. They sought him. That was the measure of faith. Perhaps we ask not because we have no faith for healing. Perhaps we don’t ask because we are arrogant, or maybe bashful. On the one hand one might feel he can pray as well as anyone else. On the other hand, one may be too shy to ask. Here I am saying today, “Ask.” You have not because you ask not.

Be persistent. Be tenacious. Be determined to receive everything Jesus promised. It is not always easy to receive your answer. I know that but, sitting in the recliner complaining is probably not the answer either. Get in front of every preacher you know and ask them to lay hands on you and pray. Get your friends to anoint you with oil and pray. Go to our prayer line at Ivey Ministries (https://iveyministries.org/prayer-request/). Do something. God wants you whole too. Reach out to others and ask them for prayer. If you have already prayed about something and have not received the answer then get out of your comfort zone and ask someone to pray for you. Slay apathy and be a doer of the Word. Tug on Jesus’ robe and demand the promises fulfilled in your life. His answer is yes, but first, you have to ask.

Camels and Gnats

Matthew 23: 24

You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

The camel of which Jesus warns, is judgment. I know I am guilty in this. As we judge what is wrong in others or with other’s behaviors we commit an even bigger crime, that of judgment. There is grace from God for all mistakes, error and sin. However, you will find that judgment is one of the hardest attributes to be forgiven of. Why? It is because a judgmental heart does not know grace and mercy. Therefore, the person who is critical and judgmental does not have that well of God’s grace within themselves to draw upon, even for themselves. They are choking on a camel while criticizing another for their gnat sized fault. It turns out, therefore, that we are best able to experience forgiveness for all of our imperfections when we first extend the grace and forgiveness of God to others. Another way of understanding this is that we create an environment of grace when we extend forgiveness to others, which we then become the foremost benefactors of.

It seems the church is often the last one to the party in the sense that we, who purportedly love the God of love, are often the most critical and judgmental of all people. For once, I would like the Christian Church to be the leader in embracing all people with the profound love of God. Maybe then, we could also receive forgiveness for ourselves and abandon the embittered personalities that so many of us tend to show to the public. There is enough love in our God for the whole world, but it must come through us.

Ultimately, this is a message of healing and it is a selfish message. If we would heal ourselves, it must be through the outpouring of grace, mercy and fellowship that our Father has poured out on us. When we finally, embrace who we are in Christ, then we will finally forgive ourselves and at long last we will receive the warmth of God’s forgiveness into our very spirits. We will be healed. We will be whole and God will be able to move into our hearts and make His home there. We will be fulfilled and will overflow with joy. Our freedom, our healing and our ultimate joy are found in accepting others without judgment or criticism. So do yourself a favor, let grace and acceptance be your calling cards. Let love have her perfect way in your heart.

Truth Prevails

John 10: 19 – 21

The Jews who heard these words were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

If you guessed that the Jews were speaking about Jesus, you are right. Isn’t it interesting that people can be so divided over the message and the message bringer? All of these people heard the same thing yet some attributed his teachings and miracles to his being under the influence of the devil. Still others heard wisdom in these words.

It is no different today and if people accused Jesus of being demon possessed, what will they say about us. We can only hope to stir them up as intensely as did Jesus. I have recently met a woman who is living in the middle of this reality. She longs for the miraculous and has a deep sense in her spirit that there is more of Jesus to experience than we, the church, are currently experiencing. Further, she is actively seeking all Jesus has for her. However, she has run into opposition. The church she attends is not only satisfied with living a watered down Christianity where there is not power, they even go a step further to preach against it. I have a hard time comprehending such a position. You may have read my devotional titled, All my Birthday Presents (read it here: https://iveyministries.org/2015/10/all-my-birthday-presents/). The whole point of it is that I want everything Jesus died to give me. Not one of his good gifts should go unclaimed. Do you agree? And yet, some people, even Christians (or especially Christians) complain and criticize when someone operates in a realm where they have no experience. They elevate their experiences over the Word of God and the ministry of Jesus. That’s nuts!

This lady even has to endure negativity from her pastor and hears it from the pulpit. It bothers me considerably that this pastor is speaking negatively about that which he does not understand. He is hamstringing his congregation and stealing from this woman and others. However, there is grace for him as well. He needs a visit from Christ. Once you have encountered Christ, you really don’t care what some ignorant speaker has to say because you have actual and divine knowledge. I have seen the Holy Spirit with mine own eyes. You cannot convince me he does not exist nor that he is not present in the lives of saints on this earth today. I have been there and seen it.

So why do people like this pastor struggle so? They are spiritually dead or at least unapprised. Jesus said these people have a hardened heart. The thing that makes that such a sad statement is that usually it is we who harden our own hearts. We choose to close our minds and hearts to that which is different or which challenges our current beliefs and knowledge. The hungry Christian need not defend their belief system. We have a Lord so our part is simply to run to him with our confusion and even our doubt. “Teach me, Lord Jesus, what the truth is in this situation!” We also have other Biblical teachers who can bring light if our current associations are ill-informed.

Just like the Jews called Jesus a demoniac, people today criticize and condemn others as blasphemous and demon influenced. First, check the Bible. If what is being criticized is there, then it is of God, not Satan. Second, get further information if you don’t understand. Certainly do not listen to naysayers. Don’t let them steal from you and condemn you to less than Jesus died to give you. If they disparage others, that is a good first clue they are not walking in the fullness of the Spirit. God is love. We do not all have to believe the same but the church is dying from the lack of Jesus’ power in our congregations. Jesus came to give us fullness of life and we are not only settling for much less than he intended, but sometimes we even cut off the flow of his Spirit by criticizing those who are experiencing miracles. Until we are all living in the abundance of life that Jesus intended, we need to keep pressing in to all he would reveal to us. Will some of it be startling? Sure, and even, at times, disturbing but he is the answer to every problem and question. Let’s live big. Let’s start walking on the water.

Whose Truth?

Matthew 8: 17

He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.

If Jesus took our infirmities and carried away our diseases, why do we still have trouble with them here? This verse says he carried them away. To where did he carry them?

Well, here is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. This is a great dividing line between Christians. No, it’s not whether or not Jesus heals. We all pretty much agree on that. No, the real question is whether or not we believe the Bible. I mean, I took Matthew 8: 17 straight out of the Bible. Do we honestly believe, though, what we read there? What happens when we run into a verse like this one with which our experience so greatly disagrees? What do we do? The easiest method is just to ignore them. Some people are challenged by them while others get angry and defensive. Mostly, we reduce the veracity of the Bible to our experience. That is to say, we elevate our experiences over what the Bible says. This helps us maintain our ego. It is self-preservation. Otherwise, we are forced to admit we are missing something somewhere, and that is far from comfortable.

I want to suggest that this verse is absolute truth but the rest of the story is that I am not living the fullness of it either and that bothers me. I believe Jesus took all of our sickness and disease and put them in the same bag with sin and carried them to the pit of hell when he went there and took the devil’s keys. Where else could he have carried them away to? So, if they are gone, why are we still dealing with them?

Jesus has a truth and reality he is trying to convey to us. We should be able to read today’s verse and get really happy instead of overlooking it with a cavalier, unbelieving attitude. Perhaps if we could, as a body, believe these words, then disease would stay in hell to where it was banished. It is not God’s will, and certainly not Jesus’, that infirmity and disease are running rampant through our societies.

In today’s Word of the Day I wish to challenge you, not just to believe this passage of scripture, but to look at the Bible with new eyes, to read these passages as Jesus speaking directly to you. If you are not living what the Word says, then take it to Jesus. Hold him accountable to teach you because he is the Word, and we ought to be able to believe him.

Faith by Inches

John 4: 50

Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and he started off.

This man’s simple belief is a testament to us all yet he was not a simple man. He was a royal official, a nobleman. He asked Jesus to go with him to heal his son because his son was near death. But when Jesus spoke, the man did not argue with him at all. He just turned and went towards his home. He was met along the way by some of his servants who told him that his son was well.

I was struck by the fact that the man didn’t argue with Jesus or question him further. As soon as Jesus made his proclamation, the man left. Especially as a nobleman he was probably accustomed to people explaining themselves to him. But you see, this man’s belief was already present before Jesus spoke. Then as soon as Jesus spoke, the belief became faith. The scripture says that the man believed the word that Jesus spoke. That was the end of the story for him. Jesus said it. That ends it.

Would that we all had the same kind of faith in the words that Jesus spoke. If we believed the way that man did, we would devour the New Testament just seeking what Jesus said. Then we would have all that he said too because our belief would bring it to bear in our lives. Every day we get a chance to move closer to Jesus and we do that by seeking Him in His word and through prayer. Just get an inch closer today and let Jesus’ faith start a new work in you.

Miracle Worker

2 Kings 5: 14          God’s Word translation

So he went to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. His skin became healthy again like a little child’s skin.

This is from the story of Naaman. He was a captain in the army of Aram. Naaman had a skin disease and heard of the prophet in Israel. So, he asked his king, Aram, to send him to Israel that he might be healed of his disease. Elisha told him to go wash seven times in the Jordan river. He rebuffed the advice at first but his servants convinced him to do as Elisha directed.  Once he dipped in the Jordan river seven times, he came out cleansed of his skin disorder.

This a really good story with many messages in it when you read the whole story but what caught my eye was the heading. In the God’s Word translation the heading reads, “Elisha Heals Naaman.”  After the last couple of weeks of thinking about who works miracles in the earth, this caption was significant.  What is interesting is that the editors didn’t caption this passage as “God heals Naaman.”  Even though this is Old Testament, the same operation of partnership with God for the effecting of miracles was in operation. Obviously, Elisha did not heal Naaman in his own power nor did Moses turn back the sea apart from God.  However, God didn’t perform any of these wonders without a person.

As you read through the story of Naaman’s healing, and indeed other accounts of Elisha’s ministry and life, you will perceive Elisha’s relationship with God. He lived in a space where he fully accepted his ability to move in the power of our God without having to beg God to show up. He spent his everyday life, communing with God so that when the time came to employ God’s power, he knew how to move. This is where God is leading us.

We can live in and through Jesus every minute of every day.  We are led by John’s gospel to abide in Christ.  That means we live in him, not that we visit him on Sunday and Wednesday.  Living in him means that every breath is part of of our life with Christ.  As we learn to abide in him, we will move in the earth the way Jesus did, the way Elisha did and others.  There are no miracles apart from God but there is no miracle without you either.  God has given you power and authority in the earth.  He has given you his Holy Spirit, His power.  He has given us His name.  Now it up to us as to what we will do with these gifts.