A Purpose in Patience

Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
(Psalm 27:14)

FLOWERS UNDER UMBRELLAAs Ben left his office in lower Manhattan, he followed the usual pattern for Friday and stopped by the little flower stand on the corner to pick up a bouquet for his wife. The stand was unpretentious, and the lady who operated it a study in contrasts of human nature. Elderly, frail looking, shabbily dressed, and yet, a pleasant personality with a perennial smile.

Although Ben had stopped by the stand of the “flower lady” every Friday for months, he had never taken the time to talk to her beyond making his selection. But this time was different; something prompted him to comment.

Every time I come by here you seem to be happy.”

Sure, why not? Everything is good,” she replied.

Well, you mean you don’t have any troubles?”

Oh yes, just like that man walking over there, and you, and everybody, I have troubles. But when trouble comes, I just think about Jesus and Good Friday.”

What do you mean?” Ben asked, somewhat puzzled.

Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, the worst day in the world. But after three days came the greatest day in the world … Resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead and everything was OK. So, when I have trouble I tell Jesus about it, wait three days, and everything always turns out OK for me too.”

Interesting philosophy … “Tell Jesus then wait three days.”

But there is a dilemma here; we are part of a “want-it-now” society that will not wait any length of time for anything. Even the most elementary student of the Word cannot help but notice that our God is just the opposite. He is organized, deliberate, extremely patient, on time, and always successful. Have you ever wondered about the death and resurrection of Jesus, and why the climax of that earthshaking event had to wait until the third day? He died on Good Friday; why didn’t God the Father bring Him out of the tomb the next morning … or even late Friday night?

We must remember that when Jesus died on the cross, only His physical body experienced the phenomena of death. His Spirit lived on and continued to function in the Father’s business. His Father had much for Him to do during the period described as “three days and three nights.”

He told the repentant thief, “Today, you shall be with me in Paradise.” Here is solid indication that upon His Spirit’s separation from His body, at the instant of death – on that day (today), He traveled to Abraham’s Bosom … Paradise, where all the faithful saints of old were peacefully awaiting that moment of fulfillment. They had believed the prophets and anxiously anticipated the coming of the Anointed One, but fell asleep in death before the appointed time. Can you imagine the excitement among those joyful souls, as they saw with their own eyes the vindication of their faithfulness? Then, the Risen One completely emptied Paradise and escorted all of the jubilant saints to heaven. Just think, they will be seated with us at the great wedding feast.

Now, on to the next job.

In 1 Peter 3:18, we are told that His body (flesh) was put to death, but He was alive in the Spirit and (in the Spirit) went to proclaim His victory to the spirits kept in prison. Those who rejected the message of God’s spokesmen, and (v.20) who thumbed their noses at Noah, as the Creator waited patiently for them to repent. All of the deceased unbelievers, now in Hades – the place of torment — saw the Messiah as He presented Himself as a proclamation of His eternal victory and proof that God’s Word was and is true!

And now, one final detail before Sunday morning. Our Lord faced Satan, himself, toe to toe. Undoubtedly the devil thought he had Him, and probably summoned every demon he had to join him in trying to keep the King of Kings in hell. Now, Satan is not stupid, but he does stupid things, and this act ranks as his dumbest move since his rebellion.

In a flash of divine power, Jesus stripped the evil one of every vestige of authority, and as an act of totally disarming him and his hordes forever, snatched the keys of death and the grave from his grip. Satan and his cast fell back in cringing fear, and could not stop the Messiah as he blasted out of the confines of hell and in a flash, returned to His body in the tomb.

And not a moment too soon, for dawn was about to streak across the Jerusalem sky. The Resurrection power of the Holy Spirit was dispatched by God the Father, and Christ the Anointed One, came forth out of the tomb in His glorified body … the First Fruit of many to follow!

It was the third day!

Hallelujah!

Wait three days …

There is a message here that has eluded us far too long: “Wait three days” or “wait until the third day” are simply metaphors for “waiting upon the Lord.” If Almighty God, Creator of all, had reason to wait three days before He brought His Son forth from the tomb, why can’t we trust Him to answer our prayers regardless of the time span? His Word assures us that He is faithful — that our prayers in faith that line up with His will (His Word) are heard and will be answered.

Sometimes the answer comes immediately. At other times, for reasons only He may know, the answer does not manifest until “the third day.”

Listen to the “flower lady.” In faith, tell Jesus about your situation; then wait three days! He has promised everything will be OK!

~~~

 

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Intercession: The Cornerstone of Democracy

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”     — I Timothy 2:1-2CAPITOL REFLECTED

As a nation that operates under the banner of a democracy, its citizens have a fundamental right to discuss, and even peaceably argue, the pros and cons of how the government is being directed. There are those who support and even love the president, while others are convinced his election was a monumental mistake. Members of the legislative branch — the U.S. Congress — likewise have their cheerleaders and booing sections.

In this entire flurry of disagreement and unsettling politics, just what is the responsibility of the born again Christian? What is he to do in the midst of all the political chaos? In our text Scripture, the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, answers that question with specific instructions: we are to make it a priority to Pray for our nation and all who are in authority!

But you can hear someone from the back row: “Why should I pray for this president? I didn’t vote for him; if I prayed anything, it would be to get him out, etc.” Why should we pray for our leaders? Verse two of our text answers, “So we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.”  Pretty good reason, don’t you think?  

Living a quiet and peaceable life means that a nation as a whole is headed in the right direction, filled with a contented and prosperous people walking in the light and love of God. And living in that environment is a divine signal that God’s plan for the land is moving forward.

So what would that plan be? Verse four of 1 Timothy, chapter 2 says God would “have all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.” So here is the crowning reason God wants His people to pray — so the Gospel can be preached and the lost brought into the Kingdom of God.

Satan has pulled out all the stops, and as far as the United States is concerned, he has made some startling headway. I believe that the assignment has been handed to us, the Christians in the land, to determine if the enemy will continue to succeed. There is no question that if we obey the Biblical admonition to pray for our nation and those in authority, a holy standard will rise up against him.

There is a classic example in the Old Testament where God demonstrates His willingness to respond to intercessory prayer. In Genesis 18, the Lord announced that He was ready to destroy the city of Sodom because of its wickedness. Abraham had family interests there, and the Scriptures say he immediately humbled himself before the Lord and began to intercede. He could have easily “minded his own business”, but instead, he prayed and interceded — for others!

Lord, if 50 righteous are found in the city, will you destroy them along with the wicked?” The Lord replied, “If I find 50 righteous within the city, I will spare the whole place on their account.”

How about, Lord, if there are 45?”

If I find 45, I will spare it.”

Will you spare it for 40?’

Yes I will!”

I know I’m pressing you, Lord, but how about if there are 30 — will you spare it?”

Yes I will,” answered the Lord. “Please don’t get angry with me, Lord, but what if there are only 20?”

I will not destroy them if there are 20 righteous in the city.”

One more time, Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Will you spare the city for the sake of only 10 righteous?”

Yes”, the Lord replied, “I will spare the entire city if only 10 righteous are found.”

And here Abraham stopped — and I wish he hadn’t. I believe if Abraham had pursued the matter all the way to just one righteous, he would have heard the Lord say, “Yes, I will spare the city for just one righteous person.” But Abraham stopped at 10, and herein lies a lesson for us.

Often when interceding, we stop too quickly — never reaching that point where we know in our spirits that we have asked for God’s best, in full confidence that He will keep His promises. Think about it. He promised to change things for just 10 people; and Jesus told us that under the new covenant “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them.”  (Matthew 18:19).

The great John Wesley once wrote, “I am convinced that God does nothing in the realm of man except in answer to believing prayer!” I believe that God is looking for those who will humble themselves and seek Him with all their hearts on behalf of our nation and its leaders. Any time you feel like criticizing — Stop — and Pray instead. God will move as His people obey His admonition: “Pray … that you may lead a quiet and peacable life.”

He Has Made You Whole

(The following article is a guest post by my wife Pamela.  She has been a Bible teacher and worship leader in the Body of Christ for many years, and the Lord often gives her anointed messages to share.  We both trust that this lesson will encourage your faith for healing.  Ted)

“Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean.” (Matthew 8:2). This is what the leper said to Jesus. Then Jesus replied in verse 3, “I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” This is what we are after: Jesus making us clean and whole.  How did He do it? In this case, He put forth His hand and touched the man as he said, “I will, be thou clean.” And as the leper had asked – Jesus made him clean. How simple and how wonderful! 

This healing work of Jesus is not unlike the work of creation in the beginning. As Hebrews 1:2 tells us, God “hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”  Also in John 1:3 we’re reminded, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” I so like it that the writers used the word made. And we know how God madethe worlds: He said, “Light be,” and there was light. He spoke into existence everything that now exists. Just as the Son of God did when he made people well, spoke their healing into existence.

In John 8: 31-32 , Jesus knew that those who were hearing Him were becoming His disciples, so he told them, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The only truth there is, is the Word of God. It has within itself the power to make us free. Free from what? You name it. Anything, including sickness, because, Jesus said it is the truth that you know that makes you free – and the way to know the truth is to continue in that Word. Being made free and being made whole are definitely connected. 

In Matthew 9:22 Jesus told the woman who had the issue of blood, “Daughter, be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole. (The word translated “whole” is a Greek word meaning, heal, preserve, do well, save, be whole.) And the woman was made whole from that hour.” Here is a fantastic story! This woman who had had enough of doctors who could not help her, (Luke 8:43 and Mark 5:26) decided that Jesus could and would make her whole. In Mark 5:36 Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made  thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”  Others were also made whole, as in Matthew 14:34-36: In Geneseret men “brought unto him all that were diseased, and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” ( In Greek – cured, preserved, rescued, saved thoroughly). That is a wonderful added revelation – their wholeness was perfect!

In the case of the woman whose daughter was vexed with a devil, she pressed into Jesus even when he put her off. Finally, Jesus said, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” Thank the Lord for such fast results.

And there were the ten lepers whom Jesus cleansed. They cried out to Jesus for mercy.  One returned to thank Him and Jesus acknowledged that it was his faith that made him whole.(Luke 17:19)  However, in the case of the woman who had the spirit of infirmity eighteen years and was bowed together, Jesus saw her, called her to him and said, “Woman thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” (Luke 13:11-13) She did not approach Him,  as the lepers did, but He approached her.  How wonderful to know He is reaching out to us – approaching us to loose us from our infirmities! 

In John 5:5-9 Jesus approached the man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years and asked him, “Will thou be made whole?”  When the man said, “While I am coming, another steppeth down before me,” then Jesus knew he wanted to be made whole. Do we want to be made whole? Let Jesus know.

From all of these narratives, it looks as though being made whole was an immediate thing – something that the Lord says and does so completely without delay.  What is more, in Acts 3:1-16, we see His disciples, Peter and John healing the lame man at the temple. In his explanation, Peter says, “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong.”(The Greek word here means establish, strength, make strong). Faith is a now word.

As in Abraham’s case God said , “I have made thee a father of many nations.” (Romans 4:17). It was God’s doing altogether, and Abraham did his part: he believed what God said to him without wavering. “He staggered not at the promise of God.” We continue to abide in His Word concerning healing, and we become, “fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” So like Abraham, we already see ourselves healed just as he already saw himself the father of many nations.

In Romans 5:19 it says, “So by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (In Greek “made” means to place down permanently, appoint, be, make, ordain, set) In Romans 6:18, “Being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.”(In Greek, “made free” literally means to exempt from moral liability, deliver, make free). How long did it take us to be made righteous and made free from sin? How long does it take to get born again? Just as  quickly as it takes for you to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. New birth does not take long. And you are made righteous – made free from sin. So, being made whole from disease or sickness is just as quick.

In II Corinthians 5:21 Paul says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” In Galatians 3:13 Paul states, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”  When did God make Jesus to be sin and a curse? Definitely, on the cross. And he made us the righteousness of God and redeemed us from the curse on the cross in Him. Side note: how long did that take? About 6 hours. I say that to reinforce that healing is NOW, just as our salvation which was accomplished 2,000 years ago, is NOW.

Ephesians 2:5-6 says, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are savedJ and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (In Greek: to take a seat in company with, make sit down together) When did this happen? At the time of His resurrection and/or ascension.  Colossians 1:12-14  further adds, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (In Greek “made us meet” means to make able, qualify) Again, this all took place at Jesus’ death and resurrection. God had us in mind all the time, as Jesus did all the suffering and then the mighty resurrection. It was all accomplished in Jesus.

And so now, believers, be made whole. Jesus is telling you to; Peter and John tell you to; Paul tells you to; and every person today who prays for you or exhorts you in this truth. As we mix our faith with this truth, it becomes reality in our bodies. And from what I’ve learned in my study, it happens immediately. We do not accept discouragement if all symptoms do not leave immediately. After all, it took the fig tree 12-24 hours to dry up. But my goal, beloved, is to receive it immediately and have those symptoms leave as well! Let’s reach that goal together in Jesus’ Name.

How Much Does A Prayer Weigh?

Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.” — Matthew 5:42

How much do you suppose a prayer weighs? Strange question isn’t it? But in fact there was a certain man who thought he knew the weight of a prayer, and once upon a time actually tried to weigh one. His name was Charley, and he owned a “mom-and-pop” grocery store in a small Illinois town.

It was Christmas Eve, 1945. World War II had just ended about four months earlier. A tired looking woman came into his little store that afternoon and asked Charley for enough food to make a Christmas dinner for her children.

How much can you spend, lady,” Charley asked?

My husband was killed in the war”, she answered, “and I have nothing to offer but a little prayer.”

Now Charley will tell you that he was not very sentimental in those days, and after all, he wasn’t running a soup kitchen.

Write it on paper,” he said to her rather flippantly, and started to busy himself in the meat case. To his astonishment the woman slipped a piece of paper out of her apron pocket and handed it to him over the case.

I did that,” she said, “during the night as I watched over my sick baby.”

Stunned, Charley took the piece of paper, and wished that he had never mentioned such a thing. Now what could he say? Suddenly an idea came to him. Without even reading the paper, he placed it on the weight side of his old balance scale and announced, “We shall see how much food this is worth.” To his amazement the scale did not move when he placed a loaf of bread on the balance side. Then amazement turned to confusion and then to embarrassment when it still would not go down even though he continued adding food — in fact anything he could lay his hands on quickly — because other people were now in the store and were watching this unusual drama.

He tried to sound rough but was making a bad job of it. Red faced and totally flustered, he said, “Well, that’s all the scale will hold, here is a bag; you will have to sack it yourself; I’m busy.”

She took the bag and started packing in the food, stopping intermittently to wipe away a tear with her apron. Charley tried not to look, but he could not help but notice that he had given her a very large bag, and that it was not quite full. Trying to act nonchalant, he tossed a large chunk of cheese and several small cakes down the counter, without a word. This final act was the clincher in betraying his crusty exterior, and he could not miss the timid smile of gratefulness that glistened through her teary eyes.

When the lady departed, Charley rushed to the scale and examined it top to bottom, but he could find nothing wrong.

Charley is an elderly man now, and he still scratches his white hair in bewilderment, and slowly shakes his head with the same puzzled expression every time the incident comes to mind. He never saw the woman again; in fact he had never seen her before either. But he remembers her better than any other single person who ever visited his store, and thinks of her more often. He knows that the experience was not his imagination because he still has the slip of paper upon which the woman’s prayer was written. It reads, very simply, “Please Lord, give us this day our daily bread.”

How much does a prayer weigh? In the light of this true story, the question is not so strange after all. Because you see, Beloved, it is we who very often determine the answer to that question.

Will you let God use you to touch broken hearts, hungry stomachs, and hurting people?

Living in the Miraculous

And at the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number; to such an extent that they even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. And also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.” Acts 5:12, 14-16 (NAS).

It should be impossible to read the Book of Acts without being in a state of awe and wonder. From the Day of Pentecost, when they were baptized and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the apostles lived and ministered in the reality of the miraculous every day. And all of that blessing and power and gifting was not reserved just for them, but even laymen like Philip and Stephen moved powerfully in the Holy Spirit, shaking entire cities.

Angels appeared to those who obeyed the directions of the Holy Spirit and unlocked their chains. The world even experienced the first automatic door as Peter walked out of prison, following the instructions of an angel. In our text, Peter was so anointed that even people touched by his passing shadow were instantly healed. Healed cripples were leaping and dancing through the Temple concourse. All the power that was vested in Jesus when He walked the earth was now poured out upon the believers, and as Jesus predicted, they now embarked on the road of doing even greater things than He did. The result — through the power of the Holy Spirit, wimps were turned into warriors; the sick, blind, and crippled were healed; restoration and deliverance were the order of the day wherever the believing apostles and lay believers went.

Well, what about today? The truth is, we need more of Jesus, more of His saving, healing, and miraculous power, more of the presence of the Holy Spirit than in any previous generation. But can we have it? The answer is a big Yes! But take a look at the early church. The believers of the Book of Acts knew the cost of miraculous living, and they joyfully paid the price. In the midst of their new-found infilling of power, they constantly sought the face of the Lord — that is, they were a praying people. From chapter 1 verse 1, to chapter 28 verse 31, it tells how prayer moved God; regardless of their circumstances.

Some people today get wonderfully saved, even baptized in the Holy Spirit, but somehow soon find themselves in a state of confusion. Notice the case of Paul: struck down on the Damascus Road, he was out of commission; in fact blinded and totally helpless. Nothing happened until he prayed. He prayed for three days, and during that time he got to know Jesus in a true, intimate way. Even though he was a new convert, he needed no counselor, no prophet, no word of knowledge; he never felt the need to run all over the Middle East looking for someone to give him a “word.” Why? Because he prayed, and prayed, and prayed. As a result, he heard the Lord say, “I will show you. Go; just keep in touch.”

God moved powerfully with Paul, Peter, and all of the believers in that day, to bring the message of salvation and Holy Spirit baptism to the Gentiles. All through the Book of Acts we see phrases like “God said to them.” “The Lord said,” “The Holy Ghost said.” “The angel of the Lord said.” Those praying saints got the clear and unmistakable Word of God with amazing clarity.

There is a teaching in the land today that says you pray only once, or even not at all — just believe. And if you pray more than once over the same issue, you are demonstrating unbelief. This is contrary to the teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures. Prayer is God’s idea; He invented it and expects — and in facts pleads for us to use it. When you pray, and bring alongside believing faith, obedience, studying and meditating on the Word, then you have the greatest power in the universe working for you. Under this kind of covering, prayer will be the switch that closes the circuit and allows the surge of power to perform the miraculous.

This truth is all through the Bible. Abraham’s faith was so strong it was counted to him as righteous. Yet he ran to the altar of God over and over again to pray. Moses had a one-on-one relationship with his Jehovah, yet he was a persistent pray-er. And Elijah: when he prayed for rain, he sent his servant seven times to look for a cloud. And they kept at it all the way to victory. You don’t give up. Then how about Daniel? It took 21 days of praying, along with some fasting and weeping, but did he ever get an answer!

God wants to talk to us, and He wants us to talk to Him. The promises in His Word are numerous and every one answered “yes and amen in Christ Jesus.”(2 Cor. 1:20). Beloved, He is calling to His Holy Remnant (that’s us) to be found faithful in prayer. And like He did the saints of old, He will lift us to that miraculous realm wherein we walk as prayer warriors. If we take the time to be closed in with Him, we will walk in that realm.

God’s will is His Word, and His Word is His will. The Scriptures say that faith comes by His Word. Then we activate that faith by our prayers — the pathway to having our needs met and living in the miraculous. Glory!

God Needs Our Prayers

And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
(Ezekiel 22:30)

 

 

Have you ever wondered, or asked yourself, why such a thing as prayer exists? When you consider it in the natural, prayer takes on the element of mystery. Does God need our help? After all, just His Word created everything that exists. Could He not speak the Word again and accomplish any purpose He wished? Why does this verse indicate a dependence upon man? We know He is God – Almighty God. Does He really need man’s involvement?

The text scripture above was spoken by God through the great prophet Ezekiel, at a time when the nation of Israel was deep in rebellion, idolatry, and apostasy. They had forgotten the God of their fathers, and had aligned themselves with the false gods of the heathen around them. They were living oblivious to the fact that the day of reckoning was looming in the distance. In accordance with God’s justice at the time, they deserved to be destroyed, but here we see God trying His level best to avoid administering just punishment upon His people. He longed to spare the Israelites the judgment they deserved, but it seemed He was helpless without man! He said, “I searched…” That means He extended considerable effort to find a man – just one man, who would stand between Him and the nation and pray on their behalf. And you can feel the sadness in the words, “…but I found no one.”

And so again the question emerges. If He wills, why can’t He just do it, prayers or no prayers? The fact is, from the beginning of creation, God put man in charge of the earth, and He always lets man have a say in what happens here. He lets man choose to accept redemption, and he lets man choose to ask for His intervention in human affairs.

It’s clear that God waits for man to “make his move,” and will not overstep His place in the covenant agreement. That’s why, in His Word, He so often invites us, entreats us, urges us, and even begs us to pray! In Matthew 7:7, the literal translation carries within it a sense of urgency. “Ask, I ask you to ask; seek, I entreat you to seek; knock, I urge you to knock!” And in Matthew 9:38, He pleads with us. “…pray that laborers will be sent forth into the harvest fields.” He is theLord of the harvest; the laborers are His, and yet we are urged to pray reapers into the fields.

At this point we must note one vital point in the program of prayer. God categorically promises to answer! He has bound Himself to answer. His promises to answer prayer are so sweeping that we virtually have a “blank check” signed, “In My Name … Jesus.”

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And we know that if He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked fromHim.” (1 John 5:14-15). Here is a sweeping promise from God Himself with no qualifications or built in hedges. The entire concept of prayer on God’s part is watertight. There is no fine print. Through the medium of prayer He invites redeemed man into full partnership with Him in governing the affairs of the earth. God Almighty makes the decisions and the responsibility for administering these decisions has been placed upon the Body of Christ – His church.

That is why a prayer-less church is automatically a powerless and ineffective church. God invented prayer for a purpose, so that we who will someday co-reign with His Son Jesus can receive on-the-job training in overcoming. Through prayer we enforce Heaven’s decisions in the daily affairs of man. That is how God planned it, and it simply will not work any other way.

The great John Wesley once said, “I am convinced that God does nothing except in answer to believing prayer.” We are discovering that Wesley spoke with heavenly wisdom.

 

© Ted Pavloff 2007

Artwork: © Jim Sutton, gospelgifs.com


 

 


He’s Still the Healing Jesus!

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 (NAS).

If you have ever heard or been told that Jesus Christ no longer heals today, you were told something that God gave no man, no church, no ecclesiastical body the authority to speak.  Likewise, if you have been taught that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer in operation and that all of those manifestations came to an end with the closing of the apostolic age, then you were taught something that is not found anywhere in God’s Word. Nor does it hold up to recorded church history.  What the Bible does clearly teach is that God sent His Son Jesus into the world to make complete provision for man’s redemption so that man through Him can have abundant life — in body, mind and spirit.

The scriptural evidence for this truth is overwhelming, and it cries out for God’s people to grasp it.  However, to a considerable degree we have disregarded and ignored it for a tragically long time. If we believe the records of the Gospel writers, all of them — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — then we cannot deny the evident truth that Jesus considered physical healing an integral part of His mission on earth.  With the exception of time devoted to Holy Week, the first three Gospels devote at least one-half of their content to Jesus’ ministry of healing.  One Biblical scholar estimates that not less than 75% of the Gospels deals with Jesus providing for the immediate needs of the people He encountered — physical healing being the most prevalent.

And nowhere in Scripture do we find Jesus failing or refusing to heal anyone who came to Him for that purpose.  The Scripture states repeatedly, “He healed them all!” There is not a single shred of evidence in God’s Word that Jesus ever sent anyone away sick because “it was not God’s will” for them to be healed; or that it was “God’s will” that they remain sick.

It is interesting to note that every time Jesus spoke of the source of sickness, He mentioned Satan, because it is Satan who does the oppressing.  Our text Scripture states without reservation that “Jesus of Nazareth went about healing all who were oppressed of the devil.”  John tells us in his first Epistle, chapter 3 verse 8, “…The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (NAS).  Sin and sickness are both part of the kingdom of the devil that Jesus came into this world to destroy.  Who would deny today that Jesus still destroys sin?  Who would qualify the scriptural fact that Jesus today removes sin by His shed Blood? Nobody! And neither can anybody accurately deny that He still removes sickness by the same power.

No beloved, none of the evil perpetrated by the devil is out of the range of the cleansing power of Jesus Christ and His shed Blood.  “Jesus the same yesterday, today and yes, forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NAS). Just as He healed all who came to Him while He was on earth, He will, through the same believing faith, give His healing touch to you who need it today.  Do not let man rob you of this blessing. If you must choose to believe God’s Word or man’s traditions, choose God’s Word and BE HEALED!

 

(Artwork: © Brett Snyder, christprints.com)





Praise Empowers Our Faith

                                                                                                                                               

And Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  Mark 9:23

The difficulty of God’s people maintaining a working faith is a very real one. No question that we truly love the Lord, and we may have good devotional habits and lead disciplined prayer lives, but not all of us are sure of our faith at a time when prevailing faith is vital. The truth is, we all have the faith that it takes … even to move mountains … because the Word tells us that the measure of faith was placed in us at the moment of our salvation. The problem is, it does not always seem to rise up as triumphant faith; that is, we have it but at certain times we do not seem able to put it to work.

Beloved, there is an answer to this apparent dilemma, and I believe it is found in something the Bible speaks of more than anything else in the realm of God’s relationship to man: Praise! That’s right. The Word admonishes us to develop a lifestyle of praise to almighty God. The Scriptures reveal the entire universe, animate and inanimate, as one grand chorus of praise to the Creator. Walk out into your yard on a beautiful morning and what do you hear? The exciting chirping and singing of birds in every direction, offering up songs of praise to their Maker and Provider.

Psalm 145:10, “All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee.” (KJV). The Word also tells us that praise is the highest occupation of the angels. According to Revelation 4:8, praise is going forth in heaven unceasingly. Thus, praise must have some supreme and extraordinary value.

I am not referring to corporate praise that you enter into during worship services at church. That certainly has its place as the Holy Spirit directs, because it is praise with the fellowship of believers that raises the level of expectancy and causes your faith to reach out to receive.

But my reference here is to a personal life of praise. It certainly seems logical that if the highest function of the angels of God is to praise, then the highest duty of the human spirit should also be to praise. I am convinced it must be praise. The predominant goal of every believer is to come as close as possible to the beautiful character of Jesus. Praise and worship to almighty God causes us to move steadily in that direction. The Apostle Paul describes it perfectly when he speaks of our moving “from glory to glory,” and it is a continuing process all the way into eternity.

According to psychiatric medicine, the foundational cause of most nervous and mental disorders is pre-occupation with self; with personal ego and self-centeredness. When personality becomes ego-centered it disintegrates; the effect of that process is defensiveness; then hostility, followed by aggressive, anti-social behavior. The result is mental illness. In view of this, the words of Jesus in Luke 9:24 makes real sense; “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it – but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (KJV).

Herein lies the value of praise … it decentralizes self. The praise and worship of God demands a shift from self to God. And when praise becomes a way of life, God truly moves into the center of our life’s every moment; our personality integrates with Him. Stresses and strains disappear and the result is mental wholeness. Now your faith can rise and move into action, and you can believe for all things! Praise is not a religious form. It is a practical and rewarding occupation – invented by God, not just for His glory, but for our blessing and health.

Isn’t God smart?