MOST CHURCHES TODAY SEEM TO PUT THE STORIES OF JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES WAY BACK IN THE PAST. They're looked on as fairy tales. They've no real reality to them. It's all 'way far away--God is far away, Heaven is far away, Jesus has long been dead, everything's so far away!
BUT THE THINGS OF THE LORD CAN STILL HAPPEN TODAY! He's just as real as ever and can still do the same, and even more so. God is still alive, well, and working just as powerfully as ever amongst those that trust in Him! He says, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6) and "Jesus Christ: The same yesterday, today and forever!" (Hebrews 13:8) "He that believeth on Me," Jesus said, "the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father." (John 14:12) "And these signs shall follow them that believe ... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:17,18)
SO THE DAY OF MIRACLES IS NOT PAST! God is still in the business of transforming the bodies that need it, as well as the hearts, the minds and the spirits.--To heal is a small thing for Him, the God of Creation! If He can create the body, He certainly can repair it! The One Who made us can certainly fix us!
He says, "UNTO YOU THAT FEAR MY NAME, SHALL THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ARISE WITH HEALING IN HIS WINGS!" (Malachi 4:2)
DOES THE LORD PROTECT US, HIS CHILDREN, FROM ALL ACCIDENTS AND SICKNESS AND TROUBLE?--Or does He often let us have a lot of trouble? There is no sure guarantee that you are never going to get sick with anything as long as you are in human flesh.
THE LORD NEVER SAID WE WOULDN'T HAVE ILLNESSES and afflictions, but He did say that He would deliver us out of them all.--"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all!" (Psalm 34:19)
NATURALLY, WE USUALLY WONDER WHY THESE THINGS HAPPEN, BUT GOD ALWAYS HAS A REASON, and I believe nothing happens by accident to one of His children! I have found in my own life, and that of many others, that He always has a purpose for them, although it is not always revealed immediately!
THE LORD SOMETIMES USES AFFLICTIONS, SICKNESSES AND SO ON TO TEST US AND TO CAUSE US TO DRAW CLOSER TO HIM and cry out to Him and really seek the Lord. Someone once said, "God does some things to make you humble, other things to keep you humble, and yet others to make sure you're still humble."--Otherwise we would have a tendency to just rock along. It causes to rely more on the Lord.
SO SOMETIMES THINGS HAPPEN JUST TO KEEP YOU CLOSE TO THE LORD, humble and more dependent on Him.--Sometimes things happen to make you pray--all kinds of reasons for even having troubles.
EVEN JESUS "LEARNED OBEDIENCE THROUGH THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED!" (Hebrews 5:8)--We know Jesus was perfect and didn't bring these things on Himself by sin. The Lord allows these things to strengthen our faith.
SO SOMETIMES THERE ARE EVEN OCCASIONS ON WHICH IT ISN'T NECESSARILY SOMETHING YOU DID WRONG--like the blind man in the Bible, who was blind from birth, whom Jesus said was blind not because of his own sins, nor even the sins of his parents, "but that the works of God should be made manifest in him", where-upon He promptly healed him, to prove the point! (See John, chapter 9)
SOMETIMES MAYBE YOU'LL BE SICK SO THAT GOD CAN DO A MIRACLE AND HEAL YOU and it will be a testimony, even if you weren't bad and did nothing wrong to deserve it. Maybe God let you get sick so that He could heal you, to show that He can heal and to demonstrate His power.
But whatever the reason, always remember that WHATEVER GOD DOES, HE DOES IT IN LOVE.--AND "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE THE LORD." (Romans 8:28) God is not going to let anything happen to you, His child who loves Him, Except what is for your good. You may say, "But a lot of things happen that don't seem good to me!"--Well I daresay you finally found out sooner or later that somehow or another it was good for you.--Or you will yet! This is why King David said in his Psalms,
"IT IS GOOD FOR ME THAT I HAVE BEEN AFFLICTED, that I might learn Thy statutes." "Before I was afflicted I went astray: But now (after he was afflicted) have I kept Thy Word." (Psalm 119:71,67) Hallelujah! So even troubles and tribulations are good for us.--Thank the Lord! God knows best! And even though it sometimes may take weeks, months or years before you know why, the time will come, and you'll know God was right and did the right thing!
ALTHOUGH "MANY ARE THE AFFLICTIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUS", THE LORD IS GOING TO "DELIVER YOU OUT OF THEM ALL" (Psalm 34:19)--no matter how many or what! A-L-L, ALL!--Not just some or a few or most or many, but all!--All of them! We can expect God to deliver us according to His Word!
THE PROVISION IS THERE FOR YOU! There are lots of Scriptures on healing throughout the entire Bible, God's personal Word to each of us. He has made promises in His Word, promises which we can claim and expect Him to fulfil. "There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: That by these (His promises) ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature." (Peter 1:4)
THIS IS ALSO WHERE YOUR FAITH WILL COME FROM. Faith comes--it grows by hearing the Word of God. It's not a sudden boom. "For faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)--That's the law of faith.
BUT HOW OFTEN LACK OF FAITH IS DUE TO IGNORANCE! If you feel like, "Oh, my God, I just don't have much faith for God to heal me!"--it's because you don't have the Word. Faith is built on the Word: Read it prayerfully and ask God to strengthen your faith. He'll always answer the hungry heart. His Word will give you faith for it.
GOD CANNOT ONLY DO IT, BUT HE WANTS TO DO IT! When the poor leper came to Jesus and said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean", the Scripture says that "Jesus put forth His hand and touched him, saying, 'I will, be thou clean.'--And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:2,3)--He's more willing to give than we are to receive!
ALL HE ASKS FROM US IS THAT WE HONOUR HIM WITH FAITH, by believing His Word and His promises. "For without faith it is impossible to please Him: For He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him!" (Hebrews 11:6) Trust in the Lord!--"He hath never failed in one of all His good promises!" (1Kings 8:56)
THERE IS SALVATION BOTH FOR THE BODY AND FOR THE SPIRIT. Just as Jesus' blood was shed for the salvation of our spirits, His body was broken for the healing of our bodies. He died for your salvation, but He suffered for your healing.
"HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND BARE OUR SICKNESSES in His Own body on the tree." (Matthew 8:17; 1Peter 2:24) "For He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and WITH HIS STRIPES * WE ARE HEALED." (Isaiah 53:5)
* The original Hebrew word translated here as "stripes" literally means "bruise, hurt, stripe, wound."--Strong's Bible Concordance.
What does it mean, "With His stripes we are healed"?--THERE IS SOME FORM OF ATONEMENT, EVEN FOR OUR DISEASES. He paid for it by His physical suffering. So we can claim it, even as a part of His atonement. We can claim it as a part of what He paid for. It's yours already for the asking.
"THE GREAT PHYSICIAN NOW IS NEAR, THE SYMPATHISING JESUS. He speaks, the drooping heart to cheer. Oh! Hear the voice of Jesus!"
WE WHO HAVE PERSONALLY RECEIVED JESUS INTO OUR HEARTS ALREADY HAVE HIS HEALING POWER manifest in our bodies through the Lord's healing. (See Romans 18:11.) But it will not be really complete until we receive our eternal supernatural indestructible bodies on which death and sickness no longer have any power or claim whatsoever.
HEALING IS A SAMPLE, LIKE SALVATION. When we experience salvation, we get a little sample of what eternal salvation and Heaven are going to be like. We have a little bit of Heaven in our hearts already! We have "tasted of the Heavenly gift and the powers of the world to come", as His Word says. (Hebrews 6:4,5)
LIKEWISE, WHEN WE GET HEALED WE HAVE A LITTLE SAMPLE OF WHAT GOD IS GOING TO DO ONE OF THESE DAYS. He'll not only give you one new part or fix you up a little bit or repair you, but He is going to give you a whole new Heavenly model! (See 1Corinthians 15:42-58.)
BUT IN THE MEANTIME, WE'RE STILL BOUND BY OUR CORRUPTIBLE FLESHLY HUMAN BODIES, and about all God's doing now through healing is patching us up to make us last a little longer. Like an old car, He can patch you up a little bit and keep repairing you.--And that's really what this lesson is all about: How to receive His healing and "repair service" while here in these old mortal bodies that often break down and give us so much trouble!
"THE PRAYER OF FAITH SHALL SAVE THE SICK, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." (James 5:15)
PRAYER IS POWERFUL! When we pray, things will happen and things will be different. God will answer prayer. But God said to Israel one time that bad things were happening because, "No man stirreth himself to call upon Me." (Isaiah 64:7)
BUT IF YOU'RE REALLY DESPERATE AND CRYING WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART AND ASKING HIM, HE'LL ANSWER! He says, "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart". (Jeremiah 29:13) And "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3)
AND REMEMBER, YOU'VE GOT ALL THE PROMISES IN THE WHOLE BIBLE ON YOUR SIDE!--"EXCEEDING GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES!" (2 Peter 1:4) So when you pray, bring those promises with you. When you remind God of His Word, it shows you have faith in it. It's a positive declaration of your faith and your knowledge of the Word which pleases God. (See Colossians 1:10; Hebrews 11:6; 1John 3:22.)
"PROVE ME NOW HEREWITH, SAITH THE LORD, AND SEE IF I WILL NOT POUR OUT SUCH A BLESSING THAT THERE WILL NOT BE ROOM ENOUGH TO HOLD IT." (Malachi 3:10) You don't see the blessing yet. How do you know He's going to pour it out? You've only got His Word for it.--You've got to prove Him! You've got to try. You have to literally test it. You have to challenge God.
HE EVEN TELLS US, "CONCERNING THE WORK OF MY HANDS, COMMAND YE ME!" (Isaiah 45:11)--So hold Him to His Word! Demand and expect an answer! He has promised it! Put your faith in the Lord, and quote and claim Scriptures, just like Jesus did. (See Matthew 4:4,7,10.) Stand on the Word!--That solid Rock Foundation of Truth!
HE IS BOUND BY HIS WORD! So remind Him of it, cling to His promises, memorise and quote them continually, and never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer--and He will! He has to! He wants to! Trust Him!
JESUS SAYS, "WHAT THINGS SOEVER YE DESIRE, WHEN YE PRAY, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM AND YE SHALL HAVE THEM." (Mark 11:24) "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." (1John 5:14,15)--All we have to do is believe His promises and pray, and expect some kind of an answer.
THE LORD CAN HELP, AND NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH THE LORD. HE IS "ABLE TO DO EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK." (Ephesians 3:20) We just need to believe in Him and trust Him and pray for it. "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God, and all things are possible to him that believeth!" (Luke 18:27; Mark 9:23) Hallelujah!
BUT SOMETIMES THE LORD DOES NOT ALWAYS ANSWER US RIGHT AWAY, which tests our faith and draws us closer to Him in the Spirit as we are driven to Him and His Word, to Whom and which we might not otherwise give so much time and attention.
THE APOSTLE PAUL HAD AN AFFLICTION OR "THORN IN THE FLESH" TILL THE DAY OF HIS DEATH TO KEEP HIM HUMBLE! He couldn't even be trusted with full health because it probably would have made him too full of pride, since he'd been honoured by the Lord in so many other ways.
HE SAID, "LEST I SHOULD BE EXALTED ABOVE MEASURE, THERE WAS GIVEN UNTO ME A THORN * IN THE FLESH. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. But He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: For My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2Corinthians 12:7-9)
* The original Greek word translated here as "thorn" literally means "a bodily annoyance or disability."--Strong's Bible Concordance.
ALL OF US ALSO HAVE WEAKNESSES THAT ARE OUR "THORNS IN THE FLESH." For if we didn't have any of these weaknesses and we were all so perfect, we couldn't help others much; we couldn't be sympathetic or compassionate if we were so self-righteous and unblemished. We couldn't even understand them. So sometimes we may be a lot more useful to the Lord with our afflictions and weaknesses--or a whole lot more humble and believing--than if Lord were to heal us.
PAUL'S THORN IN THE FLESH DIDN'T KEEP HIM FROM SERVING THE LORD! It didn't negate his service for God! He didn't quit and give up just because he had a little thorn in the flesh (which sounds like bad eyes). (See Galatians 4:13-15.)
GOD WANTS TO TEST YOUR FAITH AND WILLINGNESS TO OBEY BEFORE HE'S GOING TO HEAL YOU, and He wants to see if you'll believe and obey Him even if you think you may never get healed! Why should He honour you with healing when you don't honour Him with faith? You've got to believe and obey the Lord even if He never heals you!
LIKE THE THREE HEBREW CHILDREN WHO WERE THROWN INTO THE FIERY FURNACE for refusing to renounce their faith and bow down to the King of Babylon's idol: They said, "Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thy hand. ... BUT IF NOT, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship thy golden image!" (Daniel 3:17,18)
AND IT LOOKED LIKE THE END, because into the furnace they went, and the flames were so hot it even killed their executioners! But because of their faith and obedience, God was with them, and they came out without even the smell of smoke on them! (See Daniel 3.)
FAITH AND OBEDIENCE COME FIRST, THEN GOD ANSWERS PRAYER! "For the trying of your faith is more precious than gold, yea, than much fine gold! When thou hast passed through the fire, thou shalt come forth as gold. For every man's work shall be tried, and it shall be known what substance it is, whether it be of wood, hay or stubble, or whether it be of precious things, as gold and silver and precious stones; and that which is of no avail shall be burned up, but that which is of precious things shall endure." (1Peter 1:7; 1Corinthians 3:12-15)
"FOR BEHOLD", HE SAYS, "I HAVE REFINED THEE, BUT NOT WITH SILVER; I HAVE CHOSEN THEE IN THE FURNACE OF AFFLICTION." (Isaiah 48:10) So "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you." (1Peter 4:12) By His miracle working power, things that seem do not have to be--just like the three Hebrew children. You may have to go through the fire, but the Lord is easily able to bring you out without even smelling of smoke! He says, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)
AFFLICTIONS AND ILLNESSES ARE USUALLY A REAL TEST, BUT THEY OFTEN END IN BITTERNESS AND MURMURING: People hold it against God because He won't heal them!--"If He'd do it, then I'd serve Him.--But He doesn't love me, He doesn't care, because He won't heal me!"
SUCH DOUBT, FEAR, DISCOURAGEMENT AND MURMURING KILL! Look at all that murmuring older generation of Israel that died in the Wilderness for their lack of faith! They "suffered so many things in vain!" (Galatians 3:4) They did all the suffering and never got to enjoy the benefits because they complained! The people that complain about the battle and them quit just before the victory's won never get to enjoy it!
BUT FAITH, TRUST, COURAGE AND PRAISING THE LORD MAKETH ALIVE! If you wanna knock the Devil for a loop, just start praising the Lord no matter what's happening! He just can't stand it! He turns tail and runs! "Resist the Enemy and he shall flee from thee, for perfect love casteth out fear; for God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind! Therefore, Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee!" (James 4:7; 1John 4:18; 2Timothy 1:7; Isaiah 26:3) Hallelujah!
GOD GETS HIS GREATEST VICTORIES OUT OF SEEMING DEFEAT, and He often brings them along the neglected path of praise! So when things look darkest, don't look down!--Look up! Don't murmur and complain!--Start praising the Lord, and you'll often praise your way right out of the pit into which the Devil is trying to cast you!
PRAISE IS THE VOICE OF FAITH!
OUR HAPPINESS AND OUR HEALTH AND OUR BLESSINGS IN THIS LIFE DEPEND ON OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD. If we're not willing to pay the price God requires for healing, He won't heal us! Only the obedient get healing. It's a reward for the obedient. Health is a special blessing of God and we can only demand it if we're obedient. But if we're disobedient we can't demand anything!
GOD CAN AND WANTS TO HEAL US, BUT WE MUST FIRST BE WILLING AND YIELDED TO HIM and make the decision that we want to be delivered without reservations! We must correct any spiritual problems first--then trust God utterly in prayer and obedience and we're bound to get results!
SOMETIMES THAT'S WHY WE GET SICK IN THE FIRST PLACE: Because God is chastening or spanking us. He is punishing us for something--not always, but sometimes. It hurts Him to see people being bad, because He loves them, and He knows their badness hurts them, so He tries to correct them to make them see the light and to cause them to turn and repent and confess.
BUT EVEN GOD'S SPANKINGS ARE PROOF OF HIS LOVE AND DONE IN LOVE!--"For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth!" (Hebrews 12:6) And even when we get sick because of our sins, the Bible says in the 13th verse of this same chapter, "rather let it be healed".
GOD IS MERCIFUL. HE IS A LOVING GOD, A MERCIFUL GOD.--"For as the Heaven is high above the Earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him, for He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust." (Psalm 103:11-14)
"FOR THE LORD WILL NOT CAST OFF FOREVER: And though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." (Lamentations 3:31-33)
So when we have learned the lesson God is trying to teach us, or the conditions are ready for the result God wants to bring, He says, "RATHER LET IT BE HEALED." GOD PREFERS TO HEAL--if we can be trusted with it, learn what He is trying to show us, and let it accomplish His purpose!
THIS SAME PRINCIPLE ALSO APPLIES TO US AFTER WE'VE RECEIVED HIS HEALING.--If we do not obey and stay in God's will and continually give Him the glory for our healing and continue to trust Him for it, He may let the illness or affliction come back, because of our ingratitude and disobedience. Of course, if we repent, He can forgive and heal us again, "for His mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 136)
HIS HEALING IS A SPECIAL BLESSING, a priceless privilege, which, unlike salvation, He can take away if you don't keep trusting Him for it and giving Him all the glory. So if you want to keep it, you'd best obey Him--like a loan, like living on borrowed time: When you're healed, you'd better stay close to the Lord and do the things that He healed you for. Use that strength that God gives you in healing for His glory!--Amen?
OF COURSE, ONE OF THE GREATEST OF HEALING FACTORS IS FAITH, to know that God loves you and cares for you and is going to take care of you no matter what happens. Faith even eliminates one of the greatest causes of disease and ill health, and that's fear and tension.
BECAUSE THEN YOU HAVE PEACE OF MIND and you can just rest in the Lord knowing He's going to take care of everything. Faith and trust in God gives you a feeling of rest of body, peace of mind, contentment of heart and spiritual well-being, which all tend to greatly improve your whole state of well-being.
DO YOU HAVE FAITH IN GOD AND HIS LOVE?--HAVE YOU PERSONALLY MET THE GREAT PHYSICIAN--HE WHO HAS "HEALING IN HIS WINGS"? If not, all you have to do is receive Jesus, God's Son, as your Saviour by asking Him into your heart! You can do it right now, if you want God's answer to all of your problems and His love and happiness to fill your heart and life "with joy unspeakable and full of glory!" (1Peter 1:8)
HE CAN GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED, including forgiveness of sins, faith in God, love in Christ, something to really live and work for, peace of mind, health of body and joy and happiness and love and laughter forever after! He'll meet all your needs and solve all your problems! He's just that wonderful, and it's all just that simple! Why not try Him?
"WILT THOU BE MADE WHOLE?" (John 5:6)--In body, mind and spirit?--Then receive Jesus now! Simply recognise and confess your own need for a Saviour from your sins, and personally receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ Himself into your own heart in a definite individual decision. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock: If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him." (Revelation 3:20)--Just open up and let the Sun shine in!
AND PLEASE REMEMBER, AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE and a stitch in time saves nine! It's better to stay healthy than to have to be healed, so do your best to prevent illness by keeping God's health laws. Proper diet, proper exercise, proper rest and proper living will keep almost anyone healthy.
BUT IF AND WHEN YOU DO NEED HIS HEALING, REMEMBER, IT'S THERE FOR YOU! All you have to do is reach out your hand of faith and receive it, accept it. "He healeth all our diseases!" (Psalm 103:3)--No exceptions! He can heal anything! "I am the Lord that healeth thee!" (Exodus 15:26)
HAVE DESPERATE PRAYER--AND EXPECT A MIRACLE! "BELIEVE AND YE SHALL RECEIVE!" (Mark 11:24) You do your part, and the rest is up to God. God bless and keep you! Expect miracles!--And in Jesus' name you'll get them!