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Power Over Every Disease

December 12th, 2014

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

Matthew 9:35

There was no disease that Jesus could not heal. Whether it was leprosy, palsy, a mysterious fever, a deadly infection, or any other disease, Christ could heal.

But what is God’s purpose in giving us this information?

He tells us this NOT so we may be healed physically: God can, of course, heal physically today. I mentioned Sunday in my church that I believe in divine healing, but not in divine healers - when someone announces that they are divinely gifted to heal or holds a “miracle healing crusade” I am of the opinion that the person is a fake. But I do believe that God heals, and that His healing power is in response to the prayers of God’s people. I have seen first hand His healing touch.

Yet quite often people overestimate physical healing, as though it is really something special, the greatest thing imaginable. It clearly is not. And to present it as if it were is to misuse the Bible. For example, Paul prayed for healing and it was denied, so that a great purpose of God could be achieved, namely the humbling of Paul’s heart, so that he would not become proud of the great revelations he received (2 Cor. 12:5-10). So clearly, revelations, usefulness, our spiritual maturity are more important than physical healing.

Also death itself for the Christian is greater than healing. Paul wrote, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). He went on in that passage to explain his desire to enter into eternity, but he had accepted that God left him here on earth to be of further use to His work. Isaiah 57:1-2 says, “The righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace, they find rest as they lie in death.” So death for a believer is much preferable to the best life imaginable here on earth, because through death we enter into life. Death of our bodies is necessary, in fact, for we also read, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50). When a believer dies, if we sense his work on earth is unfinished, if he has left children or a young wife, we will recognize a sadness about it. And we miss our loved ones who pass away. But let’s not imagine that for the believer himself that he is disappointed, that life on earth is preferable to life in glory with God in heaven. It is not!

Hebrews 11:13-16 says of those Old Testament believers who passed away understood that they were “foreigners and strangers on earth,” not truly at home here: “Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” At death our lives have just begun! We will have left the land to which we were strangers - this world - and entered into our true and eternal home!

There is a false teaching going around in the church of today, masquerading as the truth, that anyone who has faith can live to be seventy or eighty years, and to die before then shows that there is something wrong spiritually with the person. That is utter nonsense, based on a misinterpretation … no, an intentional misreading and and abuse of Psalm 90:10. This misuse of the Word of God has caused much pain in the church, condemning people who die young, falsely blaming wives for their husband’s deaths, undoing the legacy of honest people who served God faithfully, judging people who were innocent. The timing of the death of a Christian is a matter that is held in the hand of God. Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” And if God decides to bless a believer with an early trip to heaven who are we to judge? Though death can be due to some judgment for sin (1 Cor. 11:30), it is not necessarily the cause, for people of great faith have died early deaths due to martyrdom, hardship, and overwork for the Lord. The Psalm 90 passage is only a statement about the normal limitations of our life spans, about our mortality, that the most we can hope for is 70-80 years, and though medical science and physical constitutions have altered that a bit, it is only a bit, and the fact of our looming deaths remains unchanged.

Just a few months ago I was lying in the intensive unit of a hospital having survived a heart attack, but I had amazing peace. Fear was the furthest thing from my mind and I felt myself entirely in the hands of God. I thought that if this is death, then it is a wonderful thing, and though I survived, I realized that eventually I will be right back there again, as will we all. Do not fear death, but trust your life into the hands of God that He knows the days He has given you, and for the believer that moment need not be a time of fear, but of peace. God will not be ashamed to bring you into your eternal home, or into your eternal inheritance. And you and I will not be disappointed either.

He tells us of Jesus’ healing power so we might have peace no matter the cause of our death. Regardless of how we die, whether disease or accident or violence, it will not change the ultimate victory of God over death for the believer. So we need not fear the way we die. Though unquestionably, we would all prefer to go painlessly, or relatively so, the glories of heaven are of such a nature that whatever we endure exiting this earth will be quickly forgotten in heaven. But if cancer destroys our bodies piece by piece, that means nothing to God and will not affect our resurrection one iota. We shall rise when He calls our name in bodies that are incorruptible, whole, completely well and healed. If a terrible accident consumes our bodies in a fire, till all that is left are ashes, God will still be able to give us a new resurrected body, beautiful and perfect. If our bodies are torn asunder, and the pieces buried separately from one another, it will not matter to God. He who created the universe out of nothing, who assembled the elements to create physical life, to Him it is nothing to pull all the separated parts together and make them into the incorruptible form He will give us in the next life.

There is no disease that God cannot heal us from, that is undoubtedly true, but neither is there any type of death that will prevent the hand of God from resurrecting us with incorruptible bodies, fit for eternity. We may also realize that there are no wounds in our souls that God cannot heal us from also - for healing also includes soul-healing. So do not fear death nor worry about the afterlife. God is not ashamed to be our God. He will resurrect, heal, make whole our souls, and fit us for eternity.

Gospel of Matthew, Grief and Loss, Healing for Today, encouragement , ,

The One Standing Beside

October 24th, 2013

The following night the Lord stood by him…

Acts 23:11

His life was in mortal danger. His efforts to give a witness to his fellow countrymen had ended unsuccessfully. Paul had every reason to be discouraged and though the scripture does not state it, we would not be surprised to learn that he was going through some of the darkest moments of his life.

But in that darkness the Lord came alongside of him. It was a mystical experience, and the impression is given by the wording that it was another Damascus Road type experience for Paul, another post resurrection experience of Christ. But if not, if I misread this passage, then the experience with the Spirit of Christ was so deep and real that it was as if the Lord Himself was standing there.

No believer ever goes through a dark night alone. If it feels as though the darkness envelops us, we should be encouraged by the knowledge that there is One who is greater than any darkness, to whom darkness and light are alike. When we are groping with our doubts and concerns, He is standing beside us in the bright presence of light. We need merely to open our hearts up to Him, to turn to Him in faith, and we will find that His presence creates hope in our hearts.

And all that we become in Him, we become because His Spirit transforms us into Him image - His character becomes our character. So we also as His people stand alongside of one another, lifting up the downtrodden, encouraging the discouraged, comforting the bereaved, giving hope to the hopeless.

A secret to constantly growing in Christ is to know Him in our times of darkness. Even there we can experience growth. Like the rings of a tree that show its age - combining the quick growth of summer with the slow and solidifying growth of winter - the dark times call us to experience the solidifying growth of the Spirit. If you can feel His presence in the darkness, nothing can prevent you from becoming who Christ has planned for you to become in Him.

Evening Devotionals, Grief and Loss , ,