April 4, 2014
This morning brought us an interesting phone call with a brother who has been struggling with depression, anxiety, and physical pain in his back and legs partly as a result of the stresses he's been under with his job. For the sake of discussion, let me refer to him as "Ray." As Della and I shared with him it became clear that although he has been saved for many years and baptized in the Holy Spirit, when it comes to health issues, his reference is primarily oriented in the culture of our medical society with its medications, pills, and various and sundry treatments.
Della and I both saw something at the same time (and admittedly, we've been caught in the same trap). When a person today gets a headache that lasts for any length of time, the first thing he or she thinks of is the aspirin bottle. When we get hurt or injured in some way, the first thing we think of is the doctor or the hospital. If we get a cold or flu, we look for the Nyquil or some other kind of medicine to take the headache, deal with the runny nose and/or something to deal with the upset stomach.
You see where I'm going with this don't you?
We don't think health and healing! Despite the repeated commands in the Word to renew our minds and our thought processes, we hang onto the thought processes we've grown up with in our modern society. We think "progressive" healing. If we are injured in some way, we just "know" that a doctor visit will result in some kind of surgery, a hospital stay of varying lengths, and a period of time for us to "get better." That's how our society thinks!
It matters not that Jesus endured the most unimaginable suffering and beatings, torture of unspeakable intensity such that his body became almost unrecognizable as that of a human being, and then wound up being nailed to a cross with spikes driven through his hands and his feet and a circlet or crown made out of thorns more than two inches in length shoved into his scalp and skull -- ALL OF IT so that we would have access to instant healing, instant deliverance and complete restoration for our physical bodies, our minds and our thinking, AND our emotions. The fact that Jesus paid this kind of price so that we who accept Him as Lord and Savior, Healer and Deliverer would never have to put up with the afflictions this world considers just a normal part of our earthly existence!
We just don't think that way! And why not? Why do Christians today somehow arrive at the insane conclusion that God brings sickness or disease or ill health or accidents resulting in physical injury to teach us some spiritual truth? Is God a masochist? Did Jesus go through all that he suffered for nothing? Do we have to endure sickness or disease for the Lord to teach us something? That's about as stupid as anything you can imagine!
We need a revolution in the way we think! Consider what Paul wrote to the Romans.
Romans 12:2 (with my amplification): And be not conformed to [shaped by and to the thinking of] this world: but be ye transformed [changed through the metamorphosis] by the renewing [the restoration to God's original plan and design] of your mind, that ye may [test and] prove what is that good (beneficial), and acceptable (well-pleasing), and perfect (complete), will (heart's desire) of God.
Can it be any clearer than that? Try a couple other scriptures on for size.
II Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Let's try that again from the Greek text (RAC Translation): That being the case, if anyone is immersed into the Anointed One and His anointing, he has been re-formed as a new being [with new DNA]; the old person (he used to be) has perished and gone; pay attention to the fact, and see for yourself that he has been created afresh and anew.
Titus 3:5-7 (with my amplification): Not by works (sweat and toil) of righteousness (justifying ourselves) which we have done, but according to his (compassionate) mercy he saved us, by the washing (baptism) of regeneration (rebirth and restoration), and renewing (re-creating anew) of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
OK. One more and we'll come back to the significance of these verses!
Philippians 2:5-6 (with my amplification): Let this mind [or manner of thinking] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus [the way He saw things and thought]: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal [like and similar in construct, character and makeup] with God:
Has it become clear for you, yet? Everything -- and I do mean EVERYTHING -- about our relationship with Jesus Christ means a return to our original creation in the likeness and image of God where there is no sickness, no disease, no infirmity, and nothing that can befall you that you cannot deal with from a place of God's authority and power.
Where, in any of these scriptures, do folks get the idea -- no, wait! where any of US -- that we have to put up with even the slightest affliction or attack on our bodies. Why do I tolerate a stuffy nose or a sinus drip as though this is just a part of living in a polluted valley with its agricultural sprays, blooms and the toxic emissions from hops? You see it don't you? Just because I may live at the moment in an area where the air around me may be full of pollen and the residue of the sprays that farmers use, why should I automatically accept the fact that I have to be susceptible to this pollution?
Whatever happened to the prayer and admonition of, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (II John 2) Folks, if my soul is prospering, that means it is in agreement with what the Word says about my thought life, the way I live and where I live ("in Christ")! If I am "in Christ," the environment around me has no power over me, no power over my mind and thoughts, and no power over my physical body. In fact, if I am restored (or in the process of being restored) to the status of our original creation, the Word says that the environment is subject to me -- NOT the other way around!
Let's take this discussion another step.
Suppose I have some kind of accident and injure myself, whether it be through carelessness or through no fault of my own? Should I run to the medicine cabinet, the doctor or nurse, or to the hospital -- and here's the kicker -- first? Or, should I take hold of the Word of the Lord first, speak the Word (which had better be in me if I'm in Christ) and then, if Holy Spirit directs otherwise, see a doctor?
Let me share a personal example of something that happened to me a few years ago when Della and I were still in Anchorage. Besides my regular, somewhat sedentary, job as Chief Engineer for the local FOX station, I ran not less than four (and sometimes five) newspaper routes every morning, seven days a week. Ironically, I made more money with my newspaper business than I did as an engineer, but that was less the reason than the physical exercise I gained from it each morning. I was in prime physical condition from running 4 1/2 miles every morning with up to as much as 150 pounds of newspapers on my back.
One spring morning when there had been a warm spell that had melted the snow on the streets and then frozen over during the night leaving glazed ice in places, I was running with my usual load of papers when I slipped on the ice, fell and tore a ligament in my left ankle. The pain was excruciating, to say the least! I dragged myself (couldn't walk) over to my van where the supply of newspapers was, pulled myself up into the van, drove home and called the district manager for the Anchorage Daily News to let him know what had happened so someone could cover the rest of my routes. This would have been around 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning.
Around 8:00 or thereabouts, Della drove me to the doctor's office where X-rays showed the damage. The doctor put me in an air cast and told me to stay off that leg for six weeks, indicating that it could take as much as six months for the torn ligament to heal. The following Sunday, Della and I were visiting a local Foursquare church fellowship (I had been ministering to the pastor of that church). There was a break in the morning service for folks to pray for one another. I turned to the people standing behind me (whom I did not know at all) and said, "the pain in my leg is almost more than I can tolerate, and I'm not going to put up with this any longer. Will you lay hands on me and pray?"
They did so quickly and prayed the prayer of faith. In that instant, I knew that my leg was healed and that the torn ligament had been made whole. When we got home a little later, I took off the air cast and tested the leg. I called the district manager for the newspaper and told him I was ready to resume my regular routes the next morning. Sure enough, I ran the 4 1/2 miles with the newspapers the following morning. There was no pain, no discomfort of any kind. All of my strength was back, and there wasn't so much as a single twinge of any kind! When I acted on the truth of the Word, the Lord did exactly what He says He will do.
You see, my healing was paid for nearly 2,000 years ago! Why am I going to keep paying for something Jesus already paid for? Should I NOT believe that I'm already healed? Why do I want to suffer discomfort? Why do I want to endure pain and agony on top of what Jesus already endured? Was His suffering not enough for me? Should I somehow think that my suffering will compensate for my own failures? Was Jesus' death and resurrection not sufficient? Shall I put Him back on the Cross while I suffer instead?
It sounds ludicrous, doesn't it? Is my pain or suffering somehow going to make up for some insufficiency in Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection on my behalf?
Folks, I've gotta tell you, THAT is pure heresy! How stupid can we get? How irrational is it for us to somehow think that we have to "suffer with Jesus"? One of the dumbest things I've ever heard is the supposed justification for our suffering with some disease, some ailment or some deformity because "Paul had to endure his thorn in the flesh." What makes that argument so silly is that anyone who stops with that never bothers to realize that the "thorn" was nothing more and nothing less than "a messenger of Satan" (a demon) who was sent (by the Enemy) to torment him, to buffet him and to sidetrack him from his apostolic mission. God didn't send that demon to torment Paul!
When Paul cried out to the Lord in his frustration, God's answer to him was simple and to the point: "My grace is sufficient for you." Don't you get it? The Lord wasn't telling Paul to put up with it, He was saying to Paul, "Stand up! Acquit yourself like a son of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ! My grace for you has supplied everything you need to exercise the needed authority to get rid of the demonic harassment!"
I want to talk more about this aspect of things, and perhaps I'll pick it up more next week, but let me wrap up this part of our discussion today by saying that the picture of our new creation -- our re-creation in Jesus Christ -- is again the demonstration of what this series of Coffee Break discussions is all about: aphiemi: not just forgiveness, not just remission of sin, but the eradication of the past, its shortcomings, its weaknesses, its failures, its diseases and susceptibility to diseases or infirmity of any kind. This is the total erasure of anything connected to the unredeemed nature and character of the flesh, the old person who was put to death in baptism, and then resurrected into new life!
I don't know how far we will take it again today, but last week we were talking about healing for those who’ve been wounded in soul and spirit.
Let's pick up where we left off last week with Isaiah’s prophecy – the same place where Jesus started His ministry – as we take up our study with the wounded soul and the wounded spirit, and see how each area affects the other.
Isaiah 61:1-3: 1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek (åéðòÈ -aònaòyv:depressed in mind and circumstances, humble, lowly, poor); he hath sent me to bind up (Láç - chaòbash:to wrap fully, to heal, to gather back together) the brokenhearted (øáLÜ - shaòbar:crushed, broken in pieces, torn apart -- + -- áìÅ - leòb:[the heart, metaphorically] feelings, the emotions, the will or intellect), to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort (íçð - naòcham:to breathe strongly upon, to ease) all that mourn; 3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Before we dig into this Word again, take a look at a couple of other relevant scriptures.
Job 24:1-12 (NASB): 1“Why are times not stored up by the Almighty, and why do those who know Him not see His days? 2“Some remove the landmarks; they seize and devour flocks. 3“They drive away the donkeys of the orphans; they take the widow’s ox for a pledge. 4“They push the needy aside from the road; the poor of the land are made to hide themselves altogether. 5“Behold, as wild donkeys in the wilderness they go forth seeking food in their activity, as bread for their children in the desert.
6“They harvest their fodder in the field and glean the vineyard of the wicked. 7“They spend the night naked, without clothing, and have no covering against the cold. 8“They are wet with the mountain rains and hug the rock for want of a shelter. 9“Others snatch the orphan from the breast, and against the poor they take a pledge. 10“They cause the poor to go about naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaves from the hungry. 11“Within the walls they produce oil; they tread wine presses but thirst.
12“From the city men groan, and the souls of the wounded (ììÈç chaòlaòl: pierced, to profane [by speaking evil], to dissolve, to break apart or prostitute, to weaken one’s mind to such a degree that they are willing to sell themselves for relief) cry out; Yet God does not pay attention to (íéNØ sñòym: impute) folly.
The picture that is drawn throughout this chapter in Job conveys a pretty graphic picture of the events that cause a person’s soul to be wounded.
When you follow the discourse between Job and Bildad the Shuhite in chapter 25, and then the first part of chapter 26 you see the unfolding of events that create a wounded spirit.
Next we consider David, and the words and events that were directed against him.
Psalm 64:1-10: 1Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. 2Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: 3Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: 4That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. 5They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, who shall see them?
6They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. 7But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. 8So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. 9And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. 10The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
This is a tremendous promise that God makes to those who have been wounded by the tongue, those who’ve been spoken evil against and conspired against. The Lord makes very clear that HE is the One who will shoot them down – and He will direct HIS arrow against those who speak evil of His anointed. This was a Word that the Lord gave to Della recently concerning some fellow-ministers who were being spoken evil of because of their ministry and their teaching.
My apologies but this is where we will stop for today. We will pick things up at this point next week.
If you are in need of healing please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. Let us minister to your need for healing!
Blessings on you!
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