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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 Healing Touch of Grace

December 9th, 2014

Casting all your cares upon him for he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

There is no worry in our lives about which Christ is not concerned. All the things that trouble us come into His view, and all we need to do is to lift them up to Him and let Him care for us and care for them.

The number of times in the Bible that the love and comfort of God are emphasized are more than I can count. It is specifically the ministry of the Christ to heal our souls. Some soul-wounds can be healed instantly, others take time, and still others have aspects of both immediate healing and long-term healing. But this is the ministry of Christ. Consider these scriptures:

Isaiah 53:4: “Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows.” The sad things about our lives, the things that continue to disturb us and bring us grief, He carries away.

Psalm 147:3: “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” When our hearts were broken, when we had hoped for one thing and received a different experience, God heals our hearts.

Luke 4:18: Christ said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” This is the mission of Christ – not only to die for the sins of the world, but also to bring His life into each of us that we may be set at liberty. Sadness and hardness binds us, unforgiveness enslaves us, but Christ sets us free.

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The meekness and lowliness of Christ means that He does not reject the one who comes to Him sincerely, earnestly, honestly. Are you burdened? Who isn’t? Bring the burdens of your soul to Him.

James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Healing is experienced in the church as we also act in the Spirit of Christ toward one another, with the same gentleness, humility, and compassion.

Psalm 23:3: “He restoreth my soul.” Our souls often feel worn down, exhausted, in need of refurbishment, reconditioning, and refurnishing. He restores us.

As I read these passages, I thought of so many ways my own soul needs healing. But also of the many people I know who carry wounds in their souls. Thank God for His wonderful work in our lives.

How do we experience this grace? I believe it is first by faith, that we trust Him with our wounds and concerns. Then we bring them to Him in conversational prayer. Talk to Him, read His Word and let Him talk to you. Then we may take the deeper hurts of our souls to others - trusted others, believers with integrity - and share them. As James said: “Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed.”

Christ through His Word, His Spirit, and His people brings healing to our hearts. Often it is in surprising moments that only God could arrange that this healing is experienced. But this is why Christ came. Soul-healing is central to His redemptive work.

Healing for Today , ,