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Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

I don’t know how it is in your house, but in ours there is one that tries a little harder than the other to patch up offenses. A blogging friend of mine just posted a story about one such attempt that involved a dozen roses presented on bended knee. It’s the perfect example of the extent to which the offender will often go – bending over backwards – to make things right with the offended.

My wife and I just got back from an anniversary trip. She has wanted, for quite some time, to browse through a certain store. Knowing the store was in the city we were going to be in, we decided to take part of a day to walk through and see what all they had. The store is huge; in fact it was a bit overwhelming.

Now you might think you know where this is going – the husband gets aggravated for being drug through a store that big while on vacation and then has to patch things up with his wife for ruining something she had looked forward to for so long. Guess again.

For once, knowing how much she had looked forward to it, I was good with it all. I put mental energy into making sure I was good with it all. But then the unexpected happened; because of the size, my wife got a little too tired before we finished making it all the way through. This time, I was the offended and she the offender.

Pretty soon after we got in the car, she apologized for becoming irritable. That should have been enough . . . but I wanted a dozen roses presented on bended knee. I kept waiting for more apology – more acknowledgement that I had done well to make her day enjoyable – more apology for not enjoying it as much as she thought she would. The longer it went, the quieter things got.

I thought I was doing good to bring it up later that evening. I didn’t want the ‘sun to go down on our wrath’. Add to the mix that the next day was actually our anniversary; I wanted us to get back on track.

I’ve decided to leave out the details of what happened next. I’ll let you fill in with what you think happened. But the next morning I got up and decided to read 1 Corinthians 13 to see what I might learn about love. I ended up reading 4-8a over and over and over. There was a phrase that kept standing out; ‘love keeps no record of wrong’.

Leave it to God to show you something you’ve never thought of. I had the frame of mind that thought it was the obligation of the offender to patch things up with the offended; and there is definitely a place for that in the patching process. But . . . ‘keeping no record of wrong’ – that changes things.

What if I had kept no record of my wife’s wrong? What if I had overlooked it? What if, instead of me wanting to see her bend over backwards to patch things, I bent over backwards to make sure there was nothing to patch? From a history of normally being the offender, I know there is a part in the effort to patch that is trying to relieve ourselves of guilt. What if, instead of wanting to see the offender bend over backwards to relieve themselves of guilt, we bend over backwards to relieve them of it?

It turns out, looking back, that is exactly what I should have done. She got tired and I took it personally. Had I loved like I should have, there would’ve been no wrong to keep record of.

And totally separate from this personal story, is the parallel of us with God. Don’t we, in an attempt to relieve ourselves of guilt, bend over backwards to patch things with Him. Don’t we do and do and do in an attempt to patch our wrong. Would He tell us to do something that He is not willing Himself to do? I have a new appreciation for the thought now, that we are the record keepers, not Him.

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For Aubrey

 

After a year and a half, I am back at the same story that began a stirring in me to pray for someone.  And once again this morning, the same story has stirred me.  I have learned some things since that initial stirring . . . and this morning, the things I have learned have been reinforced. 

 

The story is about a boy who had seizures.  He had had them all his life.  Naturally, the boy’s dad was encouraged when he heard about the healings that were taking place.  He did what any dad would do; he brought his boy out to those who were responsible in hopes of seeing his own son healed.

 

Well, they tried but no healing took place.  Isn’t that the way it often is?  Good things happen to others but not to us.  We hear of stories and would like to have one of our own but we don’t. 

 

Fortunately this dad didn’t give up.  He appealed to One who had more authority.  And again fortunately, this One with the more authority got this man and his son there own story. 

 

This One with more authority was a little perturbed at the others; His exact words to them . . .  “How long shall I put up with you?”   

 

I’m not sure what the others did exactly – or didn’t do exactly – but maybe they do a little like we do today.  In our churches, when people come who need healing, we pray right then and there for God to heal them.  Now I know we’re told to pray for the sick, and even in this story that Mark tells, this One with authority said, “This kind can only come out by prayer”. 

 

But notice that this One with authority didn’t come up like we do and start praying to God; He came up, having already prayed – having already secured this authority by praying – and commanded the evil spirit that was causing the boy to have seizures, to come out.

 

I am a builder.  I know how to build because I have done it.  I don’t hope I can build; I know I can build.  I have faith that I can build.  Spiritually, when we refer to having faith, we can think of it more in terms of hoping.  It would be like me 20 years ago, before I had ever built my first house, hoping that I could build one.  It would be like me saying, ‘If you just hope enough, you’ll be able to do it’.

 

Faith is more a knowing which comes with time as we learn.  This One with authority had learned in His praying time that He had authority.  He didn’t approach it hoping; He approached it knowing.

 

And so this morning, my knowing – my faith – has been moved a little further along.  And with this knowing – this faith – I approached the enemy and commanded.  Afterwards, I asked God to restore.  

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My pastor started a series on the writings of Paul. Beginning with Romans 1, he pointed out that it was vs 17 that Martin Luther ‘wrestled out’ in the 1500’s. Because of that wrestling, we have the Protestant faith’s.

Before his wrestling, there was pressure to be ‘righteous’ – pressure to eliminate enough bad and add enough good to be ‘righteous’ like God. That’s a lot of pressure. For weeks he wrestled . . . and finally the breakthrough that changed his life and ours.

The point of this is not to remind of what the breakthrough was, but to mention the thought I had when I thought about it being a result of his wrestling.

What is that by wrestling out with the same energy, might we give birth to or otherwise discover or see take place? Does His kingdom suffer because so few of wrestle? What are we missing because we do not wrestle a thing through?

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Faith Knows

What is it that you do for a living or otherwise invest your life in? You do it day in and day out. You know it inside and out. You don’t hope you can do it, you know you can do it. You know how to keep things running smooth. You know what to do when they don’t. You know what to do to get things back on track. It doesn’t throw you. It doesn’t cause you to doubt whether or not you know what your doing . . . you know.

Faith is like that. Faith is not hoping; faith knows. Can you imagine someone who is unfamiliar with what you do coming in and trying to do what you do? They would be hoping they could do it – and in time maybe they could – but you already know.

In Mark 11 Jesus said this to His disciples; “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

I’ve always looked at this passage as pressure on me to believe. I must huff and puff to keep my believing believing. But that is not it at all. Faith is knowing. It isn’t hoping . . . and if you can keep your hoping going it will work; it is just simply knowing.

A surgeon knows how to remove a kidney. He doesn’t hope he can do it. He knows. He not only knows he can do it, he knows what to do if things go wrong in the process. He knows how to get things back on track. He knows backwards and forwards what to do. He has faith that he can do it.

Until our faith can have this kind of knowing behind it, it is not faith. – hope maybe, but not faith. Hope is more easily thrown when things don’t go so well. Hope is up and down; but faith knows. Faith knows that no matter what, the matter will be seen through. Faith is sure.

Heb 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith knows.

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You expect to see results quickly when you bring a dozer in to move a pile of dirt. But what if you bring a shovel and wheelbarrow? The results will still come; they just come a little slower.

And so it is with our believing. If we’re not taking a dozer into a situation we are believing for – if we’re just taking a shovel and wheelbarrow – we can still have results . . . it will just take a little longer to see them and to get the job done.

In the story of the centurion servant who was suffering from seizures (the one that the disciples could not heal) Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We expect the mountain to move all at once, like it did for Jesus. But Jesus had faith the size of a dozer. We on the other hand come with a shovel and wheelbarrow? Our faith is small in comparison to His; but . . . we can still move the mountain if we stay with it. The evidence may be a little slower to come and a little harder to see, but nevertheless there will be evidence if we stay with it.

We need to see evidence when we pray. Evidence says ‘You are on the right track. Just stay with it.’ We are bad to quit when the whole mountain does not move at once. That is what the disciples did. They couldn’t drive the seizures out with one try so they quit. But faith, even if it is small, it can be sure. Faith, because it knows something, refuses to quit until there is evidence; and then once there is evidence, faith continues to press until the mountain is moved.

Prayer is work. And like with any work, we need to see that the effort of our labor is accomplishing something. It is no different with prayer. We need to see that the effort of our praying is accomplishing something. We need to see evidence. Lately I have seen just enough to know that I am on the right track and that if I will just stay with it – wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow – I will see this mountain moved.

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Jesus’ faith was like a wrecking ball. I had thought mine was at least like a sledgehammer, but I’ve recently decided it might only be as big as my wife’s picture hanging hammer. A slab of concrete will crumble with just one blow of a wrecking ball; several with the sledge; but a picture hanging hammer??? Oh my; that’s going to take some time.

How was it that Jesus could walk up to demon possessed person, and in one command make Satan come out? Or in the case of the centurion asking for his son who was suffering from seizures, how could He say, ‘I will go and heal him’? Not, ‘I will go and try to heal him’, but ‘I will go and heal him’. It’s a little different than how most of us today would approach it. We will try. We will ask and see if the Lord will do it for us and if not we move on. But really that doesn’t even constitute picking up the hammer.

Jesus knew something. Luke tells us in chapter 10 of his gospel that Jesus ‘saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven’. Satan was no match for Him, but . . . that was on Jesus’ turf. What about here? When Jesus came here, He was on Satan’s turf. Inevitably there would have to be a showdown. On the front end of Jesus beginning His ministry He went toe to toe for 40 days in the desert. And again, Jesus came out on top. Jesus showed him, ‘even here you will do what I tell you to do’.

I think each us must have a similar showdown. We must go toe to toe and not back down. Even if we just take into that showdown faith as small as a picture hanging hammer, we’re not to back down. That is what Jesus meant when He told the disciples ‘if you only have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can do the things I do’. ‘If you know that he has to leave and you don’t back down, you will win your battle.’

And so with my little hammer in hand, I stand for a young girl who has seizures. I command Satan to leave her alone – to quit troubling her. I’m not asking God to do it; He wants me to learn that I can do it. He wants me to know what He knows; that Satan has to leave.

In the story that this series stems from, where the disciples had been unable to heal the centurion’s son of his seizures, Jesus’ comment about faith was when the centurion told Him that he had men under him that did what they were told. That is the point Jesus was referring to when He said He had not seen such great faith in all of Israel. ‘I have not seen anyone that understands this – that they can command Satan and know that he has to obey’.

This is what Jesus knew. It is what He wants us to learn.

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Maybe the disciples had hoped that Jesus wouldn’t know that they had not been able to heal the boy of his seizures. Maybe they were a little like us, not understanding why, and just deciding to let it go.

Oh He knew. He didn’t say anything, but He knew. When the father of the boy spilled the beans, I can see the disciples head drop a little – maybe positioning themselves behind someone hoping to not be seen. Jesus is not happy; and after a little scolding, they finally ask Him what they have wondered to themselves, “Why couldn’t we drive it out”?

It is clear that Jesus expected them to be able to. He had told them to. I wonder when He stirs us to do the same – to believe for the same – if He doesn’t expect us to be able to. Somewhere along the line we have given in to the belief that He doesn’t. Surely Jesus wouldn’t say to us, “O unbelieving and perverse generation” – would He? . . . surely not! . . . would He?

We console ourselves by thinking He wouldn’t – by thinking it must not have been His will. I believe there is more to it than that. With the disciples, if it had not been His will, what reason would He have had to be frustrated with them? The reason He was frustrated is that they had the ability themselves and didn’t know it.

And so He makes the point; ‘Hey, I know you don’t know all that I know – that you are not as sure of things as I am; but even if you just understand it a little, you can do the same things that I do’. Because of all that He knows and understands, He walks up like a wrecking ball and says ‘Satan, hit the road’ . . . and he hits it. We tell him to hit the road and he just stands there with his arms crossed; ‘Make me’ he says.

And that’s the deal. It’s not so much praying and asking God, as it is telling Satan. When he stands with arms crossed, it’s standing right back at him. That’s what Jesus meant. ‘Even if you have faith the size of a sledgehammer, you can stand there delivering blow after repeated blow until he moves on.’

Faith is not hoping he will leave. It is not hoping God will make him leave. When God has initiated the faith, it is knowing and understanding that he has to leave. We have given in to him not leaving so long and his heals are dug in so deep that it will take quite a stand – a much needed stand – to drive him out. He really has no option . . . unless we give him one.

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‘Seek ye first’ had been on my top 10 list for over 30 years. How is it that we can do that? It wasn’t first; it was just in the mix. And yet somehow I had worked it out in my mind that it was.

Six years ago, after finally reaching a point where I just flat out admitted to myself that my version of Christianity didn’t match up to the Bible’s, there began a stirring in me to take a fresh look at the Bible’s version. After much review, a knee high stack of hand written journals and three books later, it is quite clear that my interpretation was more than a little off.

The process has conditioned me to wrestle things out afresh – to not apply the same compromising logic that is so easy and tempting to do. He said what He said. What did He mean?

Just this morning I read where a man approached Jesus on behalf of his son who suffered from seizures. “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him”. Jesus directs His attention to His disciples and says, “O unbelieving and perverse generation”. After Jesus healed the boy, the disciples asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out”?

Before, I would have just blown by this. I would have rationalized that it was something for Jesus’ day but not mine. I can’t do that any more. Instead, I am asking myself the same question; ‘why can’t I’? I’ve asked it before; but somehow this time, it is like so many other issues I have wrestled through during the past six years. I sense Him leading me to ask – drawing me to wrestle this out.

I don’t have all the answers yet, which is obvious because I am still asking the question, but I have learned some things about faith that makes the question approachable. Faith knows something. Jesus was frustrated with the disciples for not knowing it. Jesus knew it. He didn’t huff and puff to heal, drive out and raised from the dead; He knew something. He wants some of us to know it as well.

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The same people who sent Jesus to the cross were in church the following Sunday. Peter addressed them. He said, “you handed him over to be killed”, “you disowned him”, “you killed the author of life”.

Though this specific group of church people were literally part of the actual crowd that handed Jesus over – who disowned Him and killed the Author of life, who just days before were yelling crucify Him – there are some in the group of church people today, who by their blatant conduct during the week are also disowning and killing the Author of life?

And what did God do about it? He gave them another chance to see. Luke points out that He knew they “acted in ignorance”. Their eyes had not seen – their hearts had never understood.

He provided a display of the miraculous of which they could not help but to take notice. He healed the crippled beggar that they had seen Sunday after Sunday on their way to church. They saw it and were astonished. It made them perk up when Peter and John proclaimed the good news, that God had raised this Jesus from the dead.

With the added element of the miraculous, it helped them to see. Is the church not in need of this miraculous element today? In the lack of it, does it not grope around in the dark – acting in ignorance – because it knows nothing better? We pray and little happens. We preach and people don’t hear. What if Peter had prayed for the crippled beggar and the beggar had not gotten up? What if the people inside had not seen that evidence? Would they have listened?

Lord, for the sake of Your church, and those who are lost, both in and out of it, I pray the prayer that Peter prayed in Acts 4:29, 30. “Now, Lord, consider their threats (consider the fact that they act in ignorance) and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” In at least some portion, permit these things.

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Do you keep your check book reconciled to the monthly bank statement? Are you content with it just being close or do you work it out to the penny? Do you even bother with? What about your beliefs? Do you check them regularly? Are you content with them just being close? Do you bother with it?

A few years ago I decided it was time for a major overhaul with my beliefs. My Christian life did not match up with the life I read about in the Bible. It was close, but somewhere I had missed something. So, I decided to back up and take a closer look at things I used to just blow by to see if I could find what I had missed.

In years past, with my preconceived ideas, I would have passed right by this passage at the beginning of Luke 9. “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick”.

There are three references to power associated with some type of healing and one associated with preaching. This is a perfect example of what I mean when I say my life does not match up with the Bible. It is like I have chosen to live out of balance.

Isn’t the world, and even the church, not in desperate need of this power? Aren’t there just too many people who without it will not be helped? Are we content to just preach the kingdom to people when we have been given authority to bring the kingdom into their lives? Has He taken the authority back or is He waiting on us to take hold of it? It is time to reconcile these thoughts.

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