Archive for the ‘Christian Life’ Category
Abruptly my eyes sprung open, instantly awake and grasping my right side. It was early in the morning July 2009, it couldn’t have been later than six, and I’m lying there in agony and barely able to breath. The sharp stabbing pain originated from my lower abdomen and shot like a bolt of lightning both up and down my right side. Before I could even consciously contemplate what was happening, like a premeditated attack, thoughts came flooding into my head. “This is serious, I need to go to the hospital” was the voice echoing in my mind. Lying there in a fetal position, trying to gain composure, after many minutes reason began taking back control of my mind. “Pain, you have no right to be in my body,” I mumbled between labored breaths, “I evict you from my body!” With that being declared I allowed my mind to begin focusing on the task at hand. I couldn’t stay here balled up in bed. I had to work and knew I must get up. The pain persisted and even intensified a little as I attempted to straightened my body and tried to climb out of bed. I guess it was more of a slither out of bed than a climb as I found myself balled up on the floor and a new revelation that because of the intense pain I couldn’t stand and walk. Now I have been an athlete most of my life. Much of my childhood and into my early twenties was occupied with sports, especially martial arts. I have trained my mind to ignore and even suppress pain, but this was going to be difficult. Gradually, over twenty to thirty minutes I was able to get my body up and slowly begin walking. Missing work was not an option, this was something that had to be done.
I believed in divine healing, I knew it to be a fact. For the previous nine years, I had been praying for the sick and even teaching others. I had seen numerous healings and had even been healed myself. I knew It was God’s will for me to be healed, the pain couldn’t change that. Matter of fact, even though the pain was just as bad or even a little worse than it originally was, I knew I was already healed. How can I know that you might ask? It’s simple, it’s the Gospel!
Back in 2000 Holy Spirit told me that there was no difference between healing and the forgiveness of sins. He said that if Jesus died and forgave all my sins then He died and healed me! He didn’t just tell me, over the period of about eight months He proved it to me!
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:2-4)
It is clearly shown in 2 Corinthians 5:19, in Hebrews and many other places that Jesus paid the price for all sin. Not just the sin of the believers or those that He knew would make Him Lord of their lives, but the sins of the whole world. God left nobody out when Jesus died on the cross, it is His will that all would be saved. Answer these questions about salvation.
- What is God’s will for salvation? (All saved)
- Does He want every person saved? (Yes)
- Can a person be saved anytime anywhere? (Yes)
- Does a person have to do anything to earn salvation? (No)
- Does God save people irrespective of the magnitude and type of sin they are in? (Yes)
- What is the only requirement for salvation? (Believe)
Next, try to answer the same questions again but instead replace “salvation” with “healing.”
- What is God’s will for healing?
- Does He want every person healed?
- Can a person be healed anytime anywhere?
- Does a person have to do anything to earn salvation?
- Can / Does God heal people irrespective of the magnitude and type of sin they are in?
- What is the only requirement for healing?
Were all your answers about salvation the same as it was for healing? If not, you need to pay very close attention. If it can be proven to you from scripture that healing is provided in the atonement, then you can’t in good conscience differentiate between God’s will for salvation and God’s will for healing ever again. They are the same, always and forever.
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. ( Isa 53:4-6)
- Griefs (kholee) = sickness (Deut 28:61, 1 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 1:2, 2 Kings 8:8, and other places)
- Sorrows (Makob) = pains (Jeremiah 51:8, Job 33:19)
- Borne (Nasa) = To bear in the sense of suffering punishment for something. (Isa 53:12)
- Carried (Sabal) = To bear something as a penalty or chastisement. (Isa 53:11)
In Deuteronomy 7:15 we read where the Lord will take away from you all sickness (Kholee). In Job 33:19 we read where the word “Makob” is translated “pain”. So from these scriptures it is very evident that Isaiah 53:4 should read, “Surley He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains.” In Leviticus 5:1 we read that if a soul sins then he shall bear (nasa) his iniquity. In Isaiah 53:12 we read that Jesus was numbered with the transgressors and bare (nasa) the sins of many. It is unquestionably clear that God is telling us that in the same way Jesus bore (nasa) the payment for our sins, He bore (nasa) our sickness and disease and took it away.
The Holy Spirit also declares this to be true when He inspired Matthew to quote the passage in Isaiah 53 showing that He was talking about bodily sickness and disease.
When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” (Matt 8:16-17)
What did Jesus do?
- Cast out spirits
- Healed all who were sick
- Fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah 53 showing that it was indicating physicall sickness and disease.
Some may say, “you see, it says that Jesus fulfilled that prophesy through His ministry of healing and not through what He did on the cross. Doesn’t that mean healing and deliverance are not for today? That’s a legitimate question so let’s look into what it means when it says that it was fulfilled.
The word fulfilled in the 17th verse is (plerothe – Aorist passive, subjunctive, 3rd person singular of pleroo). The aorist tense expresses a momentary completed past action that continues and its complete fulfillment is assured. That means what Jesus did not only completed the task in front of Him (healed all) but that single action (healing all) has results that last forever! To further prove that statement let me show you another example.
that it might be fulfilled (Plerothe) which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” (Matthew 12:17-21)
The word for fulfilled used in Matthew 8:17 is the same word used in Matthew 12:17. And just like the way Matthew 8 is quoting Isaiah 53, Matthew 12 is quoting Isaiah 42. If you say that healing was fulfilled and not part of the atonement, then you have to say He is no longer bringing justice to the Gentiles. That is saying that the Gentiles cannot be saved. Obviously, Jesus is still preaching the gospel to the Gentiles through those who believe in Him and He is also still healing the sick through those that believe in Him!
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. ( 1 Peter 2:24)
Like Matthew, Peter is also quoting the passage in Isaiah 53. But unlike the prophet Isaiah, Peter stated it in past tense. “…By His wounds (stripes) you have been healed. Now Holy Spirit doesn’t make mistakes so why would he have Peter misquote the passage? It is because something very important happened between the two verses; Jesus paid the price! That’s right, in the same way Jesus has already forgiven you of all your sins, He has also already healed you of all your diseases, hurts, pains, and mental anguishes. And in the same way you receive His forgiveness of your sins, you receive His healing of your disease.
This is the reality that Holy Spirit revealed to me over those many months. This is the reality that He has proven to be true time and time again. Yes I knew the scriptures, Yes I knew God’s will, but when the pain persisted I needed more than just facts, I need much, much more. I need assurance!
You see, the pain didn’t leave within a few minutes, hours, or even days. For a couple weeks, the pain persisted, 24 hours a day the pain did not cease. Like I said before, I’ve learned to suppress pain. Day after day as I worked the pain was there, as I prayed for people on the streets to be healed, the pain was there, even while ministering at a conference the pain didn’t stop. I would minister, go up to my hotel room to lie down, then go back down to minister. The whole time the voices never stopped, “you’ve got appendicitis and are going to die,” or “you’ve got prostate cancer and are going to die.” Then there is the best, “what a man of God you are! You believe God heals but you aren’t healed!” Hour after hour and day after day the pain and the voices were my constant companions.
Like I said before, it wasn’t knowing the scriptures that allowed me to ignore the voices. It wasn’t even the truth that healing is in the atonement that allowed me to walk through the pain. It was the assurance that my Daddy loved me and that love would never fail. I remembered all the times He had come through for me, I would daydream about the times He healed me and the countless others I had prayed for. Those times He acted on my behalf are like monuments erected to His faithfulness. It is those times and the reality that Daddy loves me way too much to leave me in that condition that gave me the assurance and allowed me to rest knowing I was healed and nothing could change that and my body would soon reflect that reality. And that is exactly what it did. It was another July morning, about 2 weeks from the morning I woke up in pain. Again I woke up but this time it was after a full night’s sleep, the pain was gone.
You too can have that assurance. Allow your mind to reminisce about the times He has come through for you. Allow your mind to rest in the reality that you are healed and your body will now begin to manifest that reality!
Last night as I was talking with Holy Spirit I asked Him what He wanted me to write about for the December issue of Faith Unlimited. Immediately I heard the phrase “living la vida Loca”! The phrase sounded familiar to me and immediately my mind raced around grabbing memories of what I believed living the crazy life meant.
In my mind appeared images from a time a group I was with all went into a visionary experience, all seeing aspects of Heaven. That time Holy Spirit allowed me to enter into each of their experiences, seeing what each individual was seeing and doing, I was then able to describe it to that individual afterwards. That was crazy! Then there was the time I went into a vision while driving. When I came out of the vision I was parked in a parking space at work. I don’t have any idea how I got there except that God placed me there. That was crazy! I then remembered the time I was talking to a young man and woman that were sitting on a bench. We were talking about the difference between Islam and Christianity, Mohammed and Jesus. We discussed how both the Koran and the bible are claimed to be the word of God, they wondered how could you know who is right. That’s when Holy Spirit gave me a word of knowledge about the young man.
“You have problems with your back” I mentioned.
“Yes I do” he confirmed
“Then if by the name of Jesus your back is healed, wouldn’t you agree that Jesus is Lord?” I questioned.
“Yes” he affirmed.
“Good, then check your back because Jesus has healed you.”
I laughed within myself as a bewildered look crossed the young man’s face as he, bending from his waist and feeling his back with both hands exclaimed, “It’s gone, the pains gone!”
“Of course it is” I replied with a chuckle, “because Jesus is Lord!” That was crazy!
As mind mind continued racing around but before it could grab another memory I heard Holy Spirit whisper, “That’s not what I’m talking about. Living the crazy life isn’t living a life full of supernatural encounters and the miraculous. Living a crazy life is living a life without those things!”
I immediately understood what He was talking about. He was reminding me that we were created in both the image and likeness of God. That means we were created to have His nature and abilities. To be just like Him even though we are not Him.
Let me explain it this way. Let’s say that I was born with an identical twin, I wasn’t but let’s pretend for the sake of explanation. Now this twin and I are identical in every way. I not only look like my identical twin but we have the same abilities. We talk the same, think the same, and act identical. We even have the same talents. Most people can’t tell us apart and often get us confused. Even though people have trouble telling us apart and believe I am him, the truth is that I am not him. We may appear to be the same but I am still my own person. I am not him and he is not me. It is the same way between us and Jesus. We have been created in His image and in His likeness. We have been created to look like Him and empowered to do what He does. (John 14:12) We are to be as God on this earth but we are not God. We were just created and empowered to be His exact representative in this universe. (1 John 4:17)
In Acts Chapter 17 Paul makes an incredible statement while in Athens. While standing in the middle of the Aeropagus he declares that in Christ we live and move and have our being. Now throughout the New Testament we are clearing told that because of Jesus as the Christ that since we have participated in His death we also participate in His life. Our life is now found in Christ! That is what Paul is eluding to when he starts elaborating on our life in Christ.
Paul says in Christ we live. The word live is from the root word zoe which is God’s life, life that never ends and destroys the work of sin and the Devil. So, in Christ we find life that never ends, that heals, delivers, and prospers us. But we don’t just find God’s life in Christ, we also move in Him. The word used for move is the word Kineo. The same word we get kinetic from and it means – To put in motion. Therefore, this life we have in Christ reveals God’s life in us, sets us in motion, and we have our being in Him. Now that word being is interesting. In English, the word being means the nature or essence of a person. In Greek and in Christ the meaning is so much grander! You see, the word being used in this passage in Acts is the same word Jesus used when He declared, “Before Abraham was I AM.” The words being and I AM are the same! Can you see it now? Paul is declaring that since we are now found in Christ, we have His life which sets in motion our I Am, our divine nature! His life and being in Him declares that we are just like Him!
We are just like Him, not will be, but are right now at this moment exactly like our older brother, or Lord Jesus. As if being just like Jesus wasn’t enough, our Father God took it a step further. When He put us in Christ He also placed us at His right hand sitting with Him on His throne. The right hand is the place of authority, so when He placed you in Christ He gave you all authority of Heaven and Earth so you can rule and reign with Him as son and daughter of God. It is in that place of authority and sonship that we break the will of this fallen world and allow it to be on Earth as it is in Heaven. We confront every situation that comes against us with all the authority of the Kingdom of God and with the assurance that our loving Father will not forsake us. The supernatural is our way of life, it’s not crazy, it’s normal. Crazy is living far below your created status, allowing sickness, poverty, death, and disease have any influence in your life. Living subject to the things of this world is living la vida loca.
“I lived in constant turmoil,” she said, “I even questioned my salvation.” I sat at a small, round, oak stained wooden table that had been tucked into a cramped nook by a bay window, listening as Ariel recounted her journey from living in constant anxiety to a life of total peace. Sitting there in Ariel’s kitchen listening to her testimony, the images of the faces of fellow Christians I had met formed in my mind. People who, like the Ariel of years past, lived in a state of emotional turmoil, unsure of what life would bring, unsure of God’s love and His satisfaction with them.
Reviewing her life, Ariel spoke at length about how she had viewed God. Multiple times she spoke of her love for God and how the enemy used that love to cause her to be introspective; focusing her attention on every part of her life that she felt fell short of God’s expectations. Believing that God would only accept her if she did the right things and lived her life to the exalted level she was sure God demanded, her shortcoming caused her to spiral into a self-loathing and depressed state of mind. It was during this time that her love for wine came to the surface. More than just liking an occasional drink, she was addicted. It was the only thing that seemed to calm the emotions and give her some semblance of peace, even so, she wanted to be free. “If I really loved God I wouldn’t keep drinking,” she remembered thinking daily. “How could God ever accept me if I can’t even give up wine for Him?” Her anxiety continued to overwhelm, getting to the point she wasn’t even able get a good night’s sleep.
“It was really bad” she exclaimed, “until that day!”
Just as I was about to question her about “that day” I notice a huge smile from ear to ear cross her face and her eyes lit up as she began her explanation. “I remember like it was yesterday” she cheerfully continued. “I was sitting on the edge of my bed, head hung low, wallowing in self-pity when I heard His voice.”
“Whose voice” I interrupted.
“God’s voice of course! I was sitting there when I heard Him clearly speak to me. He told me that He loved me and was pleased with me. He continued saying that whether I ever took another drink or not did not change His love for me!” You could see her eyes well up with tears of joy and love as the emotions from that day overtook her. “It was that day I finally understood. It was that day I discovered that His love is unconditional and not dependent on my actions! It had nothing to do with what I did, He loved me no matter what! It was at that moment I felt His indescribable peace pour over me” She then continued on to tell how from that night on she has had wonderful rest when she sleeps, and from that day she has been free from her addiction to wine.
As children of God we are called to live lives dominated by peace. We are not to allow fear and anxiety have any voice in our life. Even though to many the thought of living free of worry or fear seems like a myth, a place like Shangri-La, a place that is eternally sought after but never found. Living in peace is not an unattainable myth, it is how we are empowered to live.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-8)
So how do we enter into this life of peace, free of anxiety and fear? Well, without trying to be over simplistic, the answer is found in knowing God and understanding His love for you.
Years ago I was on a mission trip traveling to China, Thailand, and Cambodia. One day during the Cambodian part of the trip we had some free time so my son and I went to a market with the intention of finding people to pray for. As I walked up to one young teenage girl I could see what looked like fire inside her and by the look on her face could tell she was in pain. Approaching her Holy Spirit told me she was being tormented in her dreams. I relayed through an interpreter what I had been told, and the young girl confirmed it to be true. She said that just a few nights before a red dragon came to her in her dreams and cursed her. Ever since that night her body felt like she had a fever and was affected with agonizing pain in her abdomen. As the interpreter finished explaining to me what had been said, a huge smile came across my face. I knew what was about to happen. I turned to the girl and said, “I have good news, Jesus is Lord and that red dragon is not. Sickness must leave now!” In an instant her countenance changed as the fever and pain left her body. As I turned to walk away Holy Spirit said, “Ask her why I healed her.” I turned back to the girl and asked if she knew why Jesus healed her. As she shook her head in the negative declaring she did not know, Holy Spirit spoke again. “Tell her it’s because I love her too much to leave her in that condition!”
Like Ariel and the young Cambodian girl, God’s love for you is unconditional. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, said, or how you feel. He loves you and that will never change. It is that unconditional love that brings His peace, the assurance that your Heavenly Father loves you too much to leave you sick, bound, or lacking. In Genesis we read that before God created Adam He created everything else. He did this so that the only thing Adam needed to do once created was enter into the Sabbath rest with His Father, knowing everything he could possibly want or need was already provided for. Likewise, your Heavenly Father has already provided everything you could possibly want or need. Knowing He will not withhold any of it from you gives you the peace and assurance to live free of anxiety and fear.