Monday, October 15, 2012

The First Healing in the Bible

NOTE:  An updated version of this post is available on my new website.  It is located here:

When studying the bible, you can find some great truths if you examine the passages where a subject is first mentioned.  That concept is the basis for this article.  We are going to look at the first time divine healing is mentioned in the bible  It is found in Genesis chapter 20.  Here's a link to it on YouVersion.

Here is a brief summary of the story, along with a little background.

  • Abraham is married to Sarah.
  • Sarah is a very attractive woman.
  • Abraham is afraid of someone harming him in order to take his wife.
  • On several occasions, he asks Sarah to lie and say she is his sister.  

In Genesis 20, Abraham and Sarah journey to a city named Gerar.  The king of this city is named Abimilech.  Abimilech finds out about Sarah somehow, and he takes her to be in his harem.

Before Abimilech is able to have relations with Sarah, God warns him in a dream that she is Abraham's wife.  God makes it clear that it is in Abimilech's best interest to return her to her husband Abraham, because some bad stuff is going to happen if he doesn't.  In fact, he's going to die, and the women in his land are no longer able to have children

So, Abimilech returns Sarah to Abraham.  Then Abraham prays for healing for Abimilech and everybody else, and God heals them all.

That's it for the summary.  At first glance, it is a strange story that does not go the way most of think it should go.  I want to identify some principles based on this story that carry on throughout the bible and on into the present day.

1 - God works through flawed people.

Abraham is the one at fault here...he lied and caused this whole problem.  Yet, Abraham is the first person that God works through to demonstrate healing power.  This shows us that our ability to avoid sin is not a factor is whether or not we get to operate in divine healing.  Sin does not stop God's power.  God is bigger than our sin.

Sin is bad, don't get me wrong.  But, don't fall for the temptation to think that God won't use you because you aren't good enough.  Divine healing is based on God's divine goodness, not your human goodness.   This is huge, and it is the main point I want to get across in this article. Don't just read past this fact.  Let it take root.  God works through flawed people because that's all He has to choose from.

2 - The person that is ministering healing may be in need of a miracle as well.

At this time, Abraham and Sarah were childless.  They were not able to have children.  But, part of the healing that God ministered in this story was restoring the ability of the women in Gerar to conceive.

If you are fighting some kind of physical condition, don't let that be a roadblock that keeps you from stepping out in faith and ministering to others.  100% perfect health is not a prerequisite to be used in divine healing.  Don't disqualify yourself, and don't disqualify others, just because you (or they) are currently in a struggle with a sickness.

3 - Although the healing may be instant, the physical evidence may show up later.

Part of the healing that took place in this story was the restoration of the ability of the women to conceive.  Because of the nature of the healing, it would be a while before they could tell for sure what happened.  They were totally healed immediately, but they would have no physical evidence until they became pregnant.

Sometimes an action is required on the part of the "patient" in order to fully demonstrate the complete healing.  In this case, each woman would have to have relations with her husband, and then some time would have to pass before they would have some kind of physical proof that the healing was real.

4 - God does things differently than we do.  

I think most of us would expect some kind of punishment for Abraham.  It seems like the wrong guy is getting in trouble (Abimilech).  Now, he is not innocent either, according to our modern moral standards, but it seems like Abraham's dishonesty is the the real cause of all the trouble.  If he would have been truthful, then maybe this whole situation could have been avoided.

But, if you go back a few years in Abraham's history, back to Genesis 12, you will find that God made a promise to him.  God said "I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you."  God is simply keeping His promise here.  This promise wasn't conditional on Abraham's moral behavior.  It was based on the fact that Abraham believed what God said.

This is much like the promise we have from God.  If we will believe the gospel of Jesus, then He will not count any of our sins against us (past, present, or future), He will adopt us into His own family, give us eternal life, and make us a co-heir with Jesus.  And just like the promise to Abraham, this is not dependent on our ability or inability to keep a code of ethics.  It is dependent on whether or not we believe what God said about His Son.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Foolish Galatians

Galatians 3:1-5
1 - O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
2 - This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 - Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
4 - Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 - Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians is a letter that was written to some people that had become Christians as a result of Paul's preaching in their town.  When Paul first came to these people, he told them the good news about Jesus.  Jesus had paid the price for their sins, and now God was offering eternal life to them.  They believed the message, accepted the offer, and were born into God's family and kingdom.

From the context of the entire letter, it is apparent that they also had seen some demonstrations of the supernatural power of God.  And not only had they seen God's power in operation, they were beginning to operate in this power themselves.

At some point, Paul moved on to the next town and some religious leaders came in here behind him and started trying to put additional requirements on these people.  These new believers were being told that they had to keep the rules and regulations of Judaism (a.k.a "works of the law") in order to be in right standing with God.

When Paul found out about this, he wrote this letter that we call "Galatians."  In this letter, he is very upset, and uses some very strong  language.  He is urging these new believers to reject this false teaching.

We get great benefit from being able to read this letter, because there are some very powerful truths contained in the arguments that Paul set forth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

1 - A person's entry into God's kingdom has nothing to do with any religious activities.

These people simply believed the message Paul brought to them.  That's it.  They weren't keeping the Sabbath, going to church, praying, paying tithes, reading the bible, or anything like that.  They didn't even have a bible because there weren't any bibles yet.  There weren't even any churches there yet.  They probably didn't even know about most of that stuff.  They just believed what Paul said about Jesus.  God was extending peace to these people through an offer that is almost too good to be true.  If they would believe this message about Jesus, God would adopt them as sons and welcome them into His eternal kingdom.

2 - Operating in the power of God is not enhanced by keeping religious rules or traditions.  In fact, it can be hindered by that stuff.

God works through people that exercise faith...people that take Him at His word.  He doesn't require us to be perfect in our behavior and obedience as a prerequisite   Jesus already took care of all prerequisites on our behalf.  We just need to believe it.  Check it out...

2 Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him 

You see, Jesus has already made amends for all of our failures and shortcomings.  Our failure to meet the standards has already been dealt with once for all time.  So, we are no longer viewed by God as sinners who are trying to get better.  We are viewed by Him in the same way He views Jesus....totally righteous.

With that in mind, take a fresh look at this phrase again from Galatians chapter 3, verse 5. It is a very amazing statement:

He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

God supplies the Spirit to us and works miracles among us as we act in faith.  This is not limited by a person's maturity level, nor is it limited by a person's ability to avoid sin.  It is limited by unbelief.  As far as I have been able to understand, the only thing that can limit God operating in power through us is unbelief.

Unbelief comes in many forms.  Here are a few of the most powerful ways that we can be drawn into unbelief.

1 - Trying to work to earn the right or privilege to operate in the power of God is actually a form of unbelief.  The very act of trying to earn it shows that you don't believe it is freely given.  Ouch.

2 - Trusting in human religious tradition rather than in God is also a form of unbelief.  Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
  • If you are part of an organization that believes that miracles were only for the days of the original apostles, then you will will be tempted to agree with that, and you can find yourself in unbelief towards the power of God working in you or in others today.  
  • If you believe that miracles are done through the pastor or the priest or any other title, but not through those without a religious title, then you will also be in unbelief towards the power of God working through you.  
  • If you believe God doesn't heal people that have sin in their life, then you will be in unbelief towards the "gifts" of healings.  You will disqualify people based on their addictions, habits, behaviors, sexual preferences, and etc.  You will be trusting in man's ability to perform rather than God's grace to give freely to those in need, and draw them to Himself through His love and kindness.  That is unbelief.
Our main enemy, most of the time, is not the devil, and it is not sin.  It is unbelief.  As Jesus said, all things are possible to him to believes.  We need to believe, and let this foolishness loosen its grip on us.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Radically Good News

John 3:16-18
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

This is a very radical set of statements.  I would like to examine them individually.

v16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God loved the world before Jesus came and paid for our sins.  He loved the world while our sins were in full view.  He wanted to have fellowship with us.  He wanted us to be with Him through eternity.    

Because of this love, Jesus came on a mission.  God initiated the action, sending His Son to rescue the very people that were sinning against Him.  He paid for our salvation by taking our death sentence on Himself, dying in our place.  The price has been paid once for all time (Hebrews 10:10) for the whole world (1 John 2:2).

And now, everlasting life is given to anyone that believes in Jesus..."whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

v17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Many people have a picture of God that is something like this:  God is up in heaven somewhere with His arms crossed, looking down on humanity with anger because of our sin.  And, if we beg and plead, and promise to act better, then He may consider letting us go to heaven, but He's still mad at us.

This verse paints a very different picture.  God loved us before we were saved, before our sins were paid for, before we were even looking His way.  He sent His Son on a rescue mission, to save us.  He  wants all of us to be with him (1 Tim 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9).  This was His idea, not ours.  He is coming for us, rather than us begging and crawling to come to Him.  He took care of everything, and now all we have to do is exercise our free will and choose to believe.

v18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

If the other two passages were not enough to amaze you, this one should make everyone examine his thinking.

If you believe in Jesus, you are not condemned.

If you don't believe in Jesus, then you are condemned.

Notice that your ability to avoid sin is not a part of the equation.  You do not escape condemnation though good morals and ethics. You only avoid condemnation by believing in Jesus.  We are saved by grace through faith, not by works.

If you don't believe in Jesus, then you are condemned, period.  It makes no difference what else you do.

But, on the other hand, of you do believe in Jesus, then you are not condemned, no matter what else you do.  Sin and bad choices can totally ruin your life, and put you in situations that you will not enjoy.  There are  reasons that sin is called sin.  We should avoid sin.  But sin is not what condemns you.  Unbelief...rejection of Jesus...that is how a person is condemned.

We often think that condemnation comes from God as a result of our behavior.  This is not true.  Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (see also Romans 8:31-34).  Condemnation only comes if you don't believe in Jesus.   It is not what you do that saves you or condemns you.  It is faith in Jesus.  You must believe that He paid it all for you.  Then you can stop approaching God based on how you feel about your performance, and come to Him based Jesus' performance (Romans 5:19).

God wants fellowship with you.  He has made peace from His side.  We have nothing to offer in return except to believe it.  We should take Him at His word, believe in Jesus, and receive eternal life.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Healings Testimonies

Here is a list of conditions that God has healed, and I was a personal witness to it.

These are first hand.testimonies, people healed in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I got to see it happen, or I am a personal friend of the person that experienced it.  I am putting these on here in hopes that this may build your faith, and give you hope if you are fighting some kind of health issue.

These are listed in no particular order.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Hearing loss
Vision loss
Degenerative Brain Disease
Plantar fasciitis
Neck Pain
Back Pain
Leg pain
Spinal cord injury
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Ménière's disease
Multiple Sclerosis
Poison Ivy
Swelling and loss of movement in a thumb
Loss of feeling and loss of movement in a toe
Exposed nerve in a finger
Torn muscle in a shoulder
Uneven legs growing out to be even

If you are suffering with one of these, then just know that God's power heals your condition.

There are many ways to be healed.  All of them are accomplished by the Holy Spirit working on your body.

You can be healed through your own faith (Mark 5:34)
You can be healed through the faith of a friend (Matthew 8:13)
You can be healed by having others pray for you (James 5:14-15)
You can be healed by commanding the condition to leave your body in the name of Jesus (Luke 4:39)

There are many other ways too.  This is just to get your started.  A good way to start is to believe that God is good, and that He is willing (Matthew 8:3).  You can even ask Him to help you believe (Mark 9:24)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jesus vs demons - part 1

NOTE: An updated version of this post is available on my new website located here:

Jesus spent a considerable amount of His time on earth dealing with demons (aka evil spirits, unclean spirits, etc).  This was one of His main activities.  It was also one of the things that really drew people to him.  Take a look at these passages.

Matthew 8:16
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,

Mark 1:34
Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him

Mark 1:39
39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Mark 3:11
And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God."

Luke 4:36
Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."

Luke 6:17-18
And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases,as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed.

Luke 7:21
And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.

Preaching, teaching, healing the sick, and casting out demons.  That's what you would see if you went to see Jesus in action.  He would preach the Kingdom of God, and then demonstrate it with displays of supernatural power.  Or, He would do it in reverse order.  He would exercise supernatural power over sickness and demons, and then He would preach and teach.  

That is what the ministry of Jesus looked like.  Casting out demons was a big part of it.  

If we are going to follow His example, then we should be doing the same thing.  It is not like all of the demons in the world suddenly stopped bothering people after Jesus ascended into heaven.

You can see His followers dealing with demons throughout the book of Acts, so demons were still causing problems for people.  But the disciples of Jesus were driving them out and rescuing the oppressed.  That is part of our mission as Christians.  We are to heal the sick, cast out demons, and preach the gospel.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jesus Healings part 3 - Speak to the Problem

NOTE:  An updated version of this post is available on my new website:

Luke 4:39-39 (AMP)
38 Then He arose and left the synagogue and went into Simon’s (Peter’s) house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering in the grip of a burning fever, and they pleaded with Him for her. 
39 And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she got up and began waiting on them. 

Peter's mother-in-law was sick with a fever, and they asked Jesus to help her.  Jesus didn't pray for her, though.  Instead, Jesus rebuked the fever and it left her.

The word "rebuke" can also be translated "scold" or "sternly warn."

Jesus gave orders to a physical condition.  He spoke to a sickness.  Instead of praying to the Father about the fever, He spoke to the fever.  He was talking to the problem.

Think about that.  Jesus spoke to a fever, and the fever left.  That is amazing.

Although He didn't operate in this way every time, this is not an isolated case.  There are many other examples of the same kind of working.

Take a look at these:

Mark 7:32-35
32 Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 
33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. 
34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 
35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.

Matthew 8:3
Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

In these examples, Jesus is speaking to physical conditions, and giving orders.  The physical bodies of the sick people respond to His orders.

This is a completely different dynamic than praying to the Father for healing.  It is speaking to the problem on behalf of God, rather than speaking to God about the problem.

Now at this point, you might be tempted to say "yeah, but that was Jesus."

But don't forget that all of the miracles of Jesus were performed in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38).  This is the same Holy Spirit that lives inside of every single born-again Christian.

And, don't forget that Jesus said this in John 14:12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."

If you read the healing accounts in Acts, you can see the followers of Jesus behaving in the same way many times.  In some cases where healing is concerned, they were not praying for God to do something, they were speaking to the problem, acting as a representative of the One they were serving.

Acts 3:1-8
1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 
2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 
3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 
4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us." 
5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 
6 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." 
7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 
8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God.

This makes complete sense when you think about the fact that Peter and John watched Jesus do things like this probably hundreds of times.  They were just imitating their mentor.  They were doing what Jesus would do, and they got the same results because it was the same Holy Spirit at work in them that was at work in Jesus.

Here's another one.  This time it is Paul.  Paul didn't become a believer until a long time after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.  So, he wasn't there to watch Jesus during His earthly ministry, but he was acting the same way as the rest of the Christians.

Acts 14:8-10
8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked. 
9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
10 said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked.

As children of God, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  He is the same Holy Spirit that lived and worked in Jesus when He came to earth.  He (the Holy Spirit) knows how to heal people.  He was present and active in every divine healing that has ever happened, so He has plenty of experience in fixing up broken bodies.

Everywhere you go, He goes.  You will never run into a physical condition that He is not prepared to handle.  He has chosen to work through us to demonstrate His love and His power on the earth.  We can participate by believing this, and acting on it.

So, this is a new way to pray.  As an ambassador of Christ the King, you can speak to the problem the same way that your King would if He were physically present.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Source of Sickness

NOTE:  An updated version of this post is available on my new website:

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, we are told that God made earth, and He made the first man (Adam) and the first woman (Eve).  Here are a few passages that tell us what life was like at that time in human history:

Genesis 1:27-31

1:27 God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.
1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.” 
1:29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 
1:30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” It was so.
1:31 God saw all that he had made – and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.

Chapter two gives us more details of the creation of man from chapter one.

Genesis 2:8-17

2:8 The Lord God planted an orchard in the east, in Eden; and there he placed the man he had formed. 
2:9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food. (Now the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the middle of the orchard.)
2:10 Now a river flows from Eden to water the orchard, and from there it divides into four headstreams. 
2:11 The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 
2:12 (The gold of that land is pure; pearls and lapis lazuli are also there). 
2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through the entire land of Cush. 
2:14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
2:15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it. 
2:16 Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, 
2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”

Up this point, sin had not entered the world, and there is no mention of Satan having any influence.  Everything seems to be pretty awesome.  There was no sickness or disease or death, and there was no lack (there was an entire planet's worth of resources, and only two people to use it).  With everything in this state, God said that it was "good."

In chapter 3, we have the story of the serpent deceiving Eve, and then Adam making his decision to join Eve and disobey God.

Genesis 3:1-7

3:1 Now the serpent was more shrewd  than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?” 
3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; 
3:3 but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” 
3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die
3:5 for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings who know good and evil.”
3:6 When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. 
3:7 Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

At this point in our history, life on earth changed.  Originally, man was free from sickness, sin and death.  He had unhindered fellowship with God, and God had put him in charge of the earth  But from here on, death enters the world, along with increasing amounts of sickness, sin, famine, and poverty.  Satan has also usurped man's role as ruler of the earth (John 12:31, 1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2) and we get to see the results of his activities in the world around us from then until now.

We also know from the last few chapters of the book of Revelation that in the future, Satan will be removed from his current role, and cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).  After this everything goes back to being awesome again.  There's no more sickness, no more death, no more poverty, no more sin, etc.


  • Before Satan gained influence in the earth, there was no sickness or sin.  
  • After Satan's influence is removed in the future, there will be no sickness or sin.
Sickness entered our world when man gave in to Satan's influence and committed the first sin.  I have heard it said this way:  "Sickness is the foul offspring of its father, Satan, and its mother, sin."  This is the source of sickness.   This is where it came from.

I am not saying that every sickness is directly caused by Satan, or that every sickness is the direct result of a personal sin.  What I am saying is that without Satan and sin, we would not be dealing with sickness.

So, what do we do about it?  Let's begin with a look at Jesus.

Jesus came to earth to usher in the New Covenant, and to display God's will.  He showed us how God wanted things to be going.  He said that he only did what the Father showed him (John 5:19).  He was always doing the Father's will.  When you read about His activities, you find stories filled with healing the sick, casting out demons, and forgiving sins.

Acts 10:38 - God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

1 John 3:8b - For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.

John 10:10 - The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

When someone is sick or dying from a terrible disease, I believe we are on safe ground if we start with the notion that God wants to set them free.  That's what Jesus was doing all the time, and that's what He told His representatives to be doing. 

I think people should be very careful about jumping to any other conclusions.  Without direct revelation, you should never blame the person, or the family members and friends, or God, for disease or sickness or tragedy.  If you want to make assumptions and attach blame, then the one you should start with...blaming and getting angry the devil.  The devil wants to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus wants to bring life. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Purpose of the Law

(NOTE:  Whatever you do, don't just read the first half of this.  Either stop reading now, or make sure you read all the way to the end.)

In the bible, the phrase "the law" is used to describe a very long list of rules (613 of them) that include the 10 commandments, the religious ceremonial laws, and all of the civil laws of the Israelites.  It is basically God's standard for righteous behavior.

It is a flawless and glorious standard, and it demands lifelong perfection with no mistakes.  It divides humanity into two groups.

Group 1 - Those who keep the law perfectly without mistakes for their entire life.
Group 2 - Those who have broken one or more of the laws at some point in their life.

Unfortunately, it is impossible for humans beings to reach this standard, and so Group 1 is empty (except for Jesus).

If you have ever told a lie, or even thought about telling a lie, then you are completely guilty of breaking the whole law.  Just make one small mistake in your entire life, a single wrong thought, and you have fallen short, putting yourself in the same category with murderers and thieves.

If you study the what the law says, you will never find that people are encouraged to try to keep it.  There is no "trying."  You either keep the whole law, or you break the whole law.  To keep it, you have to keep it 100% forever without a single mistake.  Trying is not an option.

The apostle Paul summarizes the purpose and the effects of the law in the following passages.

Romans 3:19-20 - Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The purpose of the law is to show you that you are guilty.  It shows you where you have missed the mark.  It shows you the hopeless impossibility of attaining righteousness through behavior modification.  It makes you aware that you are guilty before God.

To quote Watchman Nee..."God knows...that I am weakness incarnate; that I can do nothing. The trouble is that I do not know it."  The law solves that problem for us.

Galatians 3:19 (NLT)  Well then, why was the law given? It was given to show people how guilty they are. But this system of law was to last only until the coming of the child to whom God's promise was made....

The law is perfect.  People, however, are not perfect.  The law shows imperfect people their shortcomings.  It shows them in big bold letters that they are in desperate need of help.  They are drowning and they need to be rescued.  They are in a hopeless situation with no way out, unless someone steps in to save them.

That brings us to the good news.  Someone did step in to save.

Jesus kept the law perfectly, and deserved to receive all of the blessings that come from it.  However, instead of receiving these rewards, He took on Himself the punishment that was coming to the rest of us:

Isaiah 53:4-5
4 - Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus got what we deserved for our sin.  And in exchange, He gave us what He deserved for His righteousness.  He took our curse, and gave us His blessing.  He took our sin, and gave us His righteousness.  He took our sickness and gave us His healing.

Now, look at this:

Galatians 3:22-26

22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

If you have believed the gospel and received salvation, then the law has done its job, and you are no longer subject to no longer applies to you.

Think about this, and let it sink in.  Christians are not subject to the law.  We no longer have to do the animal sacrifices.  We are not judged by whether or not we keep the 10 Commandments.  We are not cursed if we don't bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.  We are not asked to keep all of the feasts of Israel.

All that the law demands has already been accomplished fully and perfectly by Jesus.  To all of those that believe the Gospel of Jesus, He gives righteousness as a free gift (Romans 5:17).  He did what we were unable to do, and gave us what we were unable to attain.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jesus Healings part 2 - Willing

NOTE:  An updated version of this post is available on my new website:

Matthew 8:2-4
2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Mark 1:40-45
40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 
42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed
43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once,
44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 
45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.

Luke 5:12-15
12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 
13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him.
14 And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.” 
15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.

The leper came in faith the Jesus could heal him, but he did not seem to be in faith that Jesus would heal him.

This reminds me of many prayers I have prayed before (and I am sure that I am not alone in this).  I could get to the point to believe that God could heal people, but I didn't want to presume that He wanted to.

The prayer would go something like this:  "Please heal John Doe, if it is your will. Amen."

That is the way that this leper came to Jesus.  He said "if you are willing, You can make me clean."  He believed in the ability of Jesus to heal, but he questioned His willingness to use it.

Jesus wasn't mad about this.  Instead, look at the simple reply.  Jesus said "I am willing."

The Greek word that is translated "willing" gives some additional light to this:

Greek = thelo = Strong's 2309

1) to will, have in mind, intend
1a) to be resolved or determined, to purpose
1b) to desire, to wish
1c) to love
1c1) to like to do a thing, be fond of doing
1d) to take delight in, have pleasure

Jesus made it clear that healing this man is something he would very much like to do. It's not like Jesus said "well...ok, but just this once."  It was more like "I would love to!"  This attitude toward healing that Jesus displays here is consistent in all other examples we have listed in the four gospels. He is willing to minister healing.  That is something to keep in mind when you have the opportunity to minister healing to others.

Let your faith toward Jesus and your opinion of His nature be in harmony with what the bible says about Him.  You are not being presumptuous if you believe God wants to heal.  Read about Jesus in the four Gospels to see if God wants to heal.  Jesus always healed the people that came to Him, and He was always doing the will of the Father (John 5:19).

(PS.  Jesus "strictly warned" this man not to tell anyone what happened, but to go do what the Law required. If we assume that Jesus meant what He said, then we cannot say that the primary purpose of healing this man was to spread the gospel.  God can heal you just because He is compassionate.  Our God is good.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jesus Healings part 1 - Ministering Twice

NOTE:  An updated version of this post is available on my new website:

I'm going to be going through the various passages in scripture where we are given some details of how Jesus ministered healing to people with various ailments.

I chose this one first because it is so  fascinating.

Mark 8:22-25
22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.
23 So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
24 And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking."
25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

In Bethsaida, a blind man came to Jesus, seeking to be healed.  Before ministering to Him, Jesus took him out of the town.  From reading Matthew 11:21, it appears that the people of Bethsaida never really received Jesus.    It doesn't say why He took him out of town before praying for him, but there were other times where Jesus made people leave before He ministered because of their mocking or unbelief (Matthew 9:24-25).  This could be another case of that, but we don't know for sure.


After going out of town, Jesus begins to minister to him in a very unusual way.  He spit on his eyes (more on that later), and then laid hands on him (and no mention of any praying).  Then he asked him how his sight was.

From the man's answer, there was only a partial healing.  
So, Jesus laid hands on him again, and then the healing was complete.

Here we have biblical evidence that Jesus had to minister to someone twice before their healing was completely accomplished.  Even Jesus, had to minister twice!  That is so amazing to me, and so encouraging.  Jesus is always operating in the perfect will of the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and yet this one took two times to work completely.

This tells me a number of things.

1 - Ministering healing doesn't have to include any praying, or even any talking...Jesus just "put His hands on him" and then asked if he saw anything.

2 - You can be absolutely in God's will, ministering to someone in the power and leading of the Spirit, but not see the person get completely healed the first time.  But, you can keep going until everything is 100% healed.

You can minister to someone and get results progressively.  What I mean is, someone can feel a little bit better immediately, but you may need to keep going.  If Jesus had stopped after the first time, the man would have been a little bit better off, but he would not have been totally healed.  This may sound strange to some of you reading this, but this story is in the bible.  I didn't make it up.

I don't advise building a complete doctrine or formula off of one example, and I'm not aware of another one like this (ministering twice) in the life of Jesus.  However, there are some principles here to remember.  This story does prove without a doubt that healing can be progressive, and that there may be times where healing only comes fully after ministering to someone more than once.  It also proves that although praying is good, it is not a requirement for ministering healing to others.

(Now a note on the spitting.  Apparently, at this time there was a belief that the saliva of the firstborn in a family had some kind of healing properties.  It could be that the Holy Spirit was instructing Jesus to do this in order to demonstrate that He was indeed the "firstborn" Son of God.  That is just my opinion, though.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Righteousness of God

Romans 3:19-24
3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 
3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 
3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – 
3:22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 
3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 
3:24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 

There are two kinds of righteousness contrasted in this passage.

1 - Our own human attempts at righteousness:  This is based on our behavior as judged by the 10 commandments and all the other instructions in God's law in the Old Testament.  The law judges not only outward actions, but also your thoughts and the things on the inside (Matthew 5:21-26).  Our righteousness is non-existent, because we have all sinned repeatedly and continually.

2 - God's righteousness:  God's righteousness is flawless and beautiful.  It has no lack, and no imperfection in it.

So, what is the point?

Part of the good news about Jesus Christ is that when we believe in Him, God gives us His own righteousness as a gift.  See verses 22 again:  the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe.  

This means that we no longer have to depend on our own ability to keep a code of conduct in order to have right-standing with God.  This righteousness from God is given to us freely as a gift that is unrelated to our behavior.  Your behavior and your moral conduct are not part of the equation for receiving this righteousness.  It is only received through faith.  (Note:  I am not negating the value of making good moral choices, I am saying that our morality comes up short every time.)

Romans 4:4-5
4:4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. 
4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Your faith in Jesus, not your work, is credited as righteousness.  It is all about who you believe in, not about how well you are able to do everything right.

Romans 5:1-2
5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
5:2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.

If your faith is in Jesus and what He did for you, then you are righteous in God's sight, and you have peace with Him.  He is not against you, He is at peace with you.  This was His idea, and He is the one who initiated the action.  He came to rescue us because we could not rescue ourselves.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gifts of the Spirit part 2 - Charismata (grace gifts)

(Note:  It may be good to read part 1 before reading this)

"CHARIS" is a word in the original Greek language of the New Testament.  It is often translated as grace, kindness, favour, blessing, etc.

It means "unmerited favour."  It means "goodwill that is not deserved."

If it is deserved in any way, it is not CHARIS.

If there is anything that you can do earn it, it is not CHARIS.

CHARIS is a very general term.  When it is used in a specific instance, the Greek word is "CHARISMA."  This is often translated "gift."

This is unmerited favor, or grace, made specific.  It is an undeserved gift.  If there is any part of it that is deserved, then it is not a CHARISMA.

Now if you want to make this word plural, you add "TA" to the end and you end up with "CHARISMATA."

CHARISMATA means "free, undeserved gifts."

That brings us to our passage in 1 Corinthians where the gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 There are diversities of gifts (CHARISMATA), but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

These nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit are gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to people that don't deserve them.  There is no requirement on anyone to receive them.  If there are requirements, then they aren't CHARISMATA.  If you have to attain a certain level of maturity or holiness in order to receive them, then they would be called rewards instead of gifts.

But the word that is used here is gifts that are not deserved in any way.

To bring this point out more clearly, consider the context of the passage that was quoted above.  It comes from a letter (1 Corinthians) that was written to a group of Christians in the city of Corinth.  In this letter they are being corrected for things that would make many of today's believers blush.  Here are a few examples:

  • They were getting drunk during communion (ch 11 v 21)
  • They were suing each other (ch 6 v 7)
  • One of them was sleeping with his father's wife (stepmother), and the rest of the group thought this was something to be proud of (ch 5 v 1-2)
  • Some of them evidently didn't know any better than to call Jesus "cursed" (ch 12 v 3)
To sum it all up, read the following passage from chapter 3:

1 Corinthians 3:1-3
1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ.
2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

These people are not mature.  Rather, they are immature.  Paul calls them spiritual babies.  They are not ready for meat, they still need milk.  The are carnal and worldly, they are not demonstrating holy living.

However, when you read chapters 12-14, you can see that this doesn't stop the Holy Spirit from operating His supernatural gifts through them in miracles, healings, prophesies, and so on.

Don't get me wrong, sin is bad, and immaturity is nothing to be proud of.  However, sin and immaturity do not stop the Holy Spirit from using us in His supernatural gifts.  CHARISMATA gifts are only given to people that don't deserve them.  What human could work hard enough to deserve any of this?

Never let anyone tell you that you need to reach a certain level of behavior or maturity in your walk before you can move in the wonderful, powerful, and supernatural gifts (CHARISMATA) of the Holy Spirit.  Don't get tricked into disqualifying yourself.  The gifts are free to all that will receive them and use them.  They are given as the Holy Spirit wills, and they are given freely.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gifts of the Spirit part 1 - Manifestations of the Spirit

NOTE:  Please visit my new website for an updated version of this article.  Here is the URL:

The nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in the following passage from 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Here are all nine gifts in list form:

  1. Word of Wisdom
  2. Word of Knowledge
  3. Faith
  4. Gifts of Healings
  5. Working of Miracles
  6. Prophecy
  7. Discerning of Spirits
  8. Different kinds of Tongues
  9. Interpretation of Tongues.
In future posts, I plan to give some definitions of these gifts, and also give some examples of them in operation. In my first few posts on this subject, though, I want to point out a few principles that I believe are crucial for proper understanding of them.

The first key point, and the focus of my entire article, is in verse seven:  "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:"

To "manifest" means to become perceivable, or to become detectable to our senses.  These nine gifts are actually instances of the Holy Spirit operating in you or through you in a way that you and/or others can perceive.  The Holy Spirit wants to say something, reveal something, or do something, so He makes Himself known to the believer in one of these nine ways to accomplish His purpose.

He can give you information by speaking to you audibly, or by giving you an impression in your mind or in your spirit.  He can show you a vision containing instructions for action.  He can energize you to speak His own words.  He can even give you the proper emotions to exercise the gift with.

There are many different methods He uses, but one important thing to remember is that each manifestation is a one-time event that is for a specific purpose.  It is not an ability that you keep and use as you wish.  It is a temporary burst of divine power, ability, or information to meet a need or to accomplish a purpose.  Understanding this point is very helpful in preventing confusion, and in keeping the focus on the Giver of the gift, not on the the human that is exercising the gift.  When you see one of the gifts in operation, you know that the Spirit of God is taking an tangible role in the situation.

There are many things that our God gives to us freely, and all of those are all gifts.  However, not all gifts come the same way, function the same way, or produce the same result.  This is the way God designed it.

There are some gifts that He gives you that stay with you.  

An example of that is righteousness.  God gives you His own righteousness at the moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ to save you (Romans 3:21-24).  This righteousness is yours forever, and it never goes away.

Another example is the ability to speak in tongues when you receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.  When you receive this ability, it stays with you for the rest of your time on this earth, and we are urged in several places in scripture to use this ability often.

There are other gifts that you receive that are for a one-time use.  The effects produced by these kinds of gifts may last a very long time, even if the gift itself is only used once.

The nine gifts of the Holy Spirit are included in this group.  He gives these gifts when they are needed.  We use them as we receive them, and the result is that an effect is produced.

To illustrate this point, let's look at the second gift in the list...the word of knowledge.   This can also be translated "message of knowledge" or "message containing knowledge."  This gift describes the action of the Holy Spirit giving you a small nugget of information that you would not know otherwise.

Here is an example of it happening:

Acts 10:17-19
17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate.
18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.
19 While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you.

The Holy Spirit gave Peter some information.  Peter was told that there were men looking for him.  This was the Holy Spirit giving Peter a "word of knowledge,"  The Spirit made Himself known to Peter in a way that allowed Peter to receive the information.   

This doesn't mean that Peter can walk around day after day with the gift of the word of knowledge as part of his personality.  He doesn't always know everything.   He can't take a test to see if "word of knowledge" is one of his spiritual gifts that he needs to be using, because he has no control over when the Holy Spirit will do this with Him again.

Simply put, the Holy Spirit wanted to give Peter some information for a specific time and purpose.  The gift was given, and Peter received it and used it.  It accomplished its purpose, and then it was over.

That is a manifestation of the Spirit, and that's how all nine of these gifts function.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Healing is in God's Character and Nature

NOTE: An updated version of this article is available on my new website:

Jesus said "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father." (John 14:9)

Jesus also said "I always do things that please the Father." (John 8:29)

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus came to reveal the Father to make Him known to show us what He is like.  Based on the three passages above (along with many others), I believe that we can look at the life of Jesus to learn some things about the character and nature of God, and get to know Him better. We can learn how God the Father feels about different subjects. We can see what it looks like for the Father's will to be demonstrated and obeyed perfectly on the earth.

Those are some general statements, and now I would like to be more specific.  Let us view the actions and attitudes of Jesus during His time on earth in a physical body to get a view of how God our Father feels about sickness, disease, and other physical ailments.  

Acts 10:38
...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Matthew 8:2-3
And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 8:5-6
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."

Luke 9:10-11
And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.

Matthew 14:14
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Luke 4:40
When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.

Matthew 4:24
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

For many more examples just like these, you can read through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, looking for instances where people approached Jesus that needed to be healed.  You won't find any cases of a person coming to Him in need of healing, and going away without being healed.  But, don’t just take my word for it, study it out yourself.  See what you find.

What I find is Jesus having compassion on sick people, and ministering healing to them. Healing was a large part of what He did, and it was always included in the instructions whenever He sent out people to represent Him.

In John 5:19, He says this:  "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

Jesus was doing what His Father showed Him to do. All of these times that Jesus was healing people, it was the will of God the Father being acted out by God the Son...Jesus.  It was God’s will to heal people.  If we go by the accounts provided to us in the four Gospels, it looks like it is ALWAYS God’s will to heal people, because that’s what we see Jesus doing.

Are there exceptions to this?  Are there times where God’s will is for the person to remain in their sickness?  Read the Gospels and find out for yourself.

(NOTE:  If  you are thinking about Paul’s thorn right now as an exception, click here.)

There is only one place that I'm aware of the Gospels where people didn't get healed:

Mark 6:5-6

Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Notice that is says he "could" do no mighty works there. It doesn't say that he "would" do no mighty works. The implication is that He was willing, but the people were not interested because of their unbelief. If you read the preceding verses, you will see that they were offended at Him, and basically wanted nothing to do with Him. In spite of all this, He still healed a "few sick people." He can still heal people even when there is unbelief around. Just come to Him.

(A note on the word "unbelief" here: This is not the Greek word for doubt, or for little faith. It means "faith in reverse" or "believe against." These were not Christians who were struggling with doubt. These were people who "believed against" Jesus and wanted Him to go away. In spite of this, He still healed some of them.)

This is very good news, if you ask me. My God wants to heal sick people. Healing is a part of His character and nature. It is something He wants to do.

So, from now on, let us never begin with an assumption that it is not God's will for someone to be healed.  

If you pray for someone and you don't see any immediate results, don't get discouraged, but don't automatically assume it was God's will for them to be sick.  

Maybe you need to wait. Remember that the 10 lepers were healed "as they went," not while they were standing there with Jesus. (Luke 17:14)

Maybe you need to pray again. Jesus had to pray twice for the blind man in Mark 8:22-26.

Maybe you need to stop and ask for wisdom or revelation on what to do. There may be something going on that you don't know about.

Any of these choices are better than making assumptions that disagree with the life of Jesus.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Authority Over Demons

Luke 9:1
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus sends out His first group people to act as His act as His witnesses.  This is a group of 12 men that were his followers.  He gave them some instructions, and He also gave them some equipment.  Part of this equipment was power and authority over all demons.

They went out and did what Jesus had been doing...healed the sick, cast out demons, and preached the good news.

In the next chapter of Luke's gospel, we see the next part of the story.  Jesus sends out new group.

Luke 10:17-20
17  Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
18  And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
19  Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20  Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

Here Jesus sent out His second team.  This was a group of 70 of His followers.  He gave them a similar set of instructions, and He also gave them the exact same equipment...including power and authority over all demons.

Notice two things in this passage (emphasis mine)
1 - The people say this:  "...the demons are subject to US in Your name."
2 - Jesus says this:  "...the spirits are subject to YOU..."

The spirits are not only subject to Jesus, but they are also subject to this group of of His followers.  These people are never called apostles or prophets or anything "special." Actually, their names are not even mentioned.  These are simply people that are believing what Jesus is saying, and then acting on it according to His instructions.  Authority over demons is not reserved for those holding a religious title or position.

Mark 16:15-17
15  And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
16  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

In this third passage, Jesus speaks to all of His followers.  This is part of what is called "the great commission."  It is given to all Christians.  Notice that Jesus gives us the same equipment that He gave the 12 and the 70.  We are given power and authority over all demons.  Demons are to be subject to all believers in His name.  This is for "those who believe."  This is not just for priests, pastors, bishops, etc.  This is for each one of us that is born again.

We have been given the permission, the right, and the power to drive out demons in the name of Jesus.  We should never be afraid of any demons.  They should be afraid of us.  We have been given authority over them by the King of the Universe...the LORD Jesus Christ.