Tell Someone that God is the Healer

woman.jpg

Mark 5 recounts the tale of the “Woman with the Issue of Blood.” We are told that she had some unspecified medical condition, described “a flow of blood for twelve years” (Mark 5:25). She had spent all the money she had to visit the best doctors money could buy, but only grew worse.

Finally, when she heard about Jesus, she declared in faith, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well” (Mark 5:28). Sure enough, she gets exactly what she said: As she reaches out to touch the men of his garment, she was immediately healed, and Jesus commends her for her faith, saying “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34).

Much could be said about this story: her faith, her words, her salvation (the same word used to describe our salvation is used by Jesus to describe her healing). But there is one verse in this story that is oft overlooked.

When she heard about Jesus…” (Mark 5:27)

This woman was ritualistically unclean. She had a rather unpleasant ailment, and would have been an outcast of society, rarely leaving the comfort of her home. And yet, she somehow inexplicably heard about Jesus.

How?

Someone left his comfort zone to tell this diseased and destitute woman about the long-awaited Messiah.

We know nothing of this mysterious someone. He (or she) isn’t even mentioned directly in this passage. But this someone is the hero of the tale. For if someone hadn’t delivered the message, this woman wouldn’t have been healed, this chapter wouldn’t have been written, and countless believers wouldn’t have been blessed by this story of faith and salvation.

We need more someone’s in the church today. We need men and women who are willing to visit people like this woman, people who aren’t welcome in society, people who aren’t visited, people who frankly smell bad or look unseemly or aren’t a joy to be around.

We need believers like the four friends of the paralytic, who, refusing to take “no” for an answer, stormed Jesus’ house with their crippled friend in tow, going so far as to bust a hole in the roof of a stranger to get their friend to Jesus (Mark 2:1-4).

Too many sick people are more like the 38-year paralyzed man in John 5:

“Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.” (John 5:7)

It might be unpleasant. It will be inconvenient. But it’s necessary. And it’s our call as followers of Christ:

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

So next time you see someone with a runny nose, or a broken leg or an incurable blood disease, tell them about our Healer. Tell them about our Great Physician. Tell them about the God who does all things well. How else will they be saved?

One Verse that Proves God’s Stance on Healing

One Verse That Proves God's Stance on HealingWhen the subject of healing gets brought up, lots of questions start to swirl around in peoples’ minds: “Why am I sick?” “Is healing for everyone?” “Does God make people sick?”

Fortunately for us, God answers these questions repeatedly throughout the bible. As I’ve mentioned before, there are over 170 distinct passages in the bible that address God’s attitude towards healing. But there is a single verse that reveals to us God’s stance on healing.

How 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.” (Acts 10:38)

There are several lessons we can glean from this one scripture.

Healing is Good

We are told that during His ministry, Jesus Christ went about “doing good.” But in what ways did He do good? According to Luke, by healing.

We see throughout the bible that Jesus is committed to doing good. The seventh chapter of Matthew’s gospel tells us that God always gives good things to those who ask (Matthew 7:11). Furthermore, James 1:17 says that good things always come from God, and that there isn’t even an inkling that this will ever change.

Now it may seem obvious that healing is good, but there are many Christians who aren’t so sure. Being confident that healing is always good, we can rest assured knowing that the biblical promises of God’s unfathomable goodness includes physical healing.

Sickness comes from the Devil

Again, you might take this for granted, but much of the Christian community thinks sickness comes from God. Take Job, for instance. The common understanding of Job is that God caused terrible things to happen in Job’s life to test his faithfulness. But according to Job 2:7, it was Satan (not God) who smote Job with painful boils. Far from “God giving and taking away,” the text makes it clear that Satan caused this infirmity.

Jesus confirms this is John 10:10, where He claims:

The thief (Satan) comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

From the mouth of Jesus Himself, anything that steals, kills, or destroys comes from Satan, and not God. Every sickness known to man fits that description, and to attribute any ailment, disease, or injury to God is to reject the biblical text. God only has good things for His kids, and offers life in the place of sickness, pain, and death.

Jesus Heals All

According to Acts 10:38, Jesus heals ALL. That includes you.

We see this confirmed over and over and over again throughout the bible. Luke 9:11 tells us that Jesus healed all who had need of physical healing; Matthew 8:16 says that Jesus healed all who were sick; and John 6:37 says that Jesus doesn’t turn anyone away.

In fact, there isn’t a single biblical example of God refusing to heal someone in need, and the only time in the entire bible we see Jesus not heal is when He was prevented by the unbelief of those in need. A lack of faith in God’s power and willingness to heal is the only thing that has ever prevented Him from healing the sick.

Summary

When I talk to people who have questions about healing, I often bring them to this verse. After reading through it, I usually ask them a series of obvious questions.

Me: “According to this passage, is healing bad or good?”

Them: “Good.”

Me: “Where does sickness come from?”
Them: “The devil.”

Me: “How many people did Jesus heal?”

Them: “All of them.”

Then I ask them a few more questions.

Is God with you, too?” Isaiah 41:10 and Matthew 28:20 say He is. And both Hebrews 13:5 and John 14:16 say He will always be with us and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Have you been anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power?” Luke 24:49 answer that question with a definitive and resounding YES. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 attests to this truth by saying that we have been anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. And Ephesians 3:20 says that the infinite power of God dwells in us. His people.

No bible-believing Christian can deny that physical healing is good, that sickness comes from the enemy, and that God is ever willing to heal anyone who comes to Him in sincere faith. But more than that, we see that this miraculous healing power, this authority, this goodness has been placed in us by none other than God Himself.

So let’s live in obedience to the commands of Jesus, and go out into a world of lost and desperate sinners, preaching the gospel and healing the sick (Matthew 10:8; Mark 16:18). This is good in the sight of the Lord.

List of Scriptures Used

Acts 10:38 John 10:10 Isaiah 41:10 Luke 24:49
Matthew 7:11 Luke 9:11 Matthew 28:20 2 Cor. 1:21-22
James 1:17 Matthew 8:16 Hebrews 13:5 Ephesians 3:20
Job 2:7 John 6:37 John 14:16 Matthew 10:8
Mark 16:18

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(There is much more to say about biblical healing, the raw power of God that dwells in us, and the commission that has been given to Christ’s church. For more, check out my new book, UNFAIR ADVANTAGE, available for kindle or paperback. It will change your life.)

Speaking in Tongues Saved a Baby’s Life

baby with tongueSpeaking in tongues and healing are two highly controversial topics for the modern church. I’m not sure why, since the bible is quite supportive of both. But nonetheless, these are two subjects that many Christians are unsure about.

Here is a personal testimony that validates both.

* * *

Maybe five years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night concerned about a baby. I really don’t know how else to describe it. I couldn’t tell you whose baby it was. Was there a baby in trouble? Did I really want a baby? Did I just want to watch “Look Who’s Talking”?

I didn’t know. I just knew that I had been wakened from a dream about a baby, and I needed to pray.

How do you even pray for that? If I asked you to pray about a baby and gave you no other information, would you know where to start? I didn’t know who the baby was. I didn’t know what the baby needed. I didn’t even know if there was a baby. I just knew I needed to pray.

So I did what the bible instructs us to do when we don’t know what to pray for: I prayed in other tongues (Romans 8:26).

After about five minutes, the urge to pray relented, and I went back to sleep, still not knowing who the baby was or what was going on with the baby, but trusting in God to take care of the situation.

And then the weeks passed, and I forgot all about this episode.

About a month later, I was teaching at our Young Adults service on the subject of praying in tongues. About half way through my message, I was reading Romans 8:26 and was reminded of the baby, so I quickly shared the story.

“I knew I needed to pray for the baby, but I didn’t know what to pray for… the bible says when you don’t know what to pray for, you can pray in tongues…”

The service ended, we packed up the church, Cheyne and I headed home, and we went to sleep.

The next day I received a phone call. It was a girl who had attended our church for the first time the previous night. She shared with me that her older sister was pregnant, but had had major complications and was rushed to the hospital about a month before. The doctors had expected to lose the baby, but supernaturally they had managed to keep the child alive. For the entire month, the mother had been hospitalized, still pregnant with the baby and unsure whether either of them would be okay.

The girl on the phone was convinced that the baby I had prayed for was her sister’s baby, and asked if we could visit them at the hospital and pray for the sister.

I talked with Cheyne, and we decided that it’d be best if Cheyne went to the hospital to minister to the soon-to-be mother. Upon Cheyne’s arrival, she learned that the sister used to be a Christian, but had since walked away from God. The doctors weren’t sure if the baby would survive the pregnancy, and the mother’s health was at risk as well.

Cheyne sat and talked with the girl about everything that had happened in her life. The girl then rededicated her life to God, and told Cheyne she believed God was able to heal her and save her baby. Together they prayed for the health of her and her child, and Cheyne came home.

The mother ended up completely recovering, and was discharged from the hospital a couple of days later.

And that, my friends, is how praying in tongues saved a baby’s life.

Important Lessons My Son Has Taught Me about God

jack13:16 am. The family is finally asleep. But of course, that’s not gonna last long.

3:19 am. Jack’s cries fill our bedroom.

Maybe he’s hungry. We try feeding, but he doesn’t bite. Jack continues to cry.

Maybe he’s in dire need of a diaper change. We check, but the diaper is clean. Jack continues to cry.

Maybe he’s cold. We give him a blanket. Jack continues to cry.

Maybe he’s warm. We strip off the onesie. Jack continues to cry.

I know. He just needs some bro time. I take him downstairs, and walk through our darkened kitchen with him gently cradled in my arms.

Jack calms down.

For about seventeen seconds.

Then he continues to cry.

And as I continue to pace back and forth with our crying infant in my arms, I think to myself, “If only he knew how to articulate what he needed, then I could give it to him.”

And right as that thought came to mind, God said to me, “That’s why most prayers don’t get answered.”

Christians are really good at crying. Experts, in fact. “Why does this always happen to me?” “Why do things never work out in my life?” “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”

We are very good at vocalizing how terrible things are. We are also fairly decent at (erroneously) attributing all of our woes and troubles to God. But I’d venture to guess that 9 times out of 10, we never actually ask for a solution. We just whine about whatever is going on, then blame God when things don’t get better.

For example, if you feel a fever coming on, complaining about how you always get sick isn’t praying. Accepting the sickness because “God works in mysterious ways” also isn’t praying. Even silently hoping that you miraculously get better isn’t praying. To make it a prayer, you need to verbally ask God to heal you. Confessing a scripture or two that promises to give you what you need is an absolute plus (in the case of sickness, Isaiah 53:5, Exodus 15:26, Luke 9:11, 1 Peter 2:24, and James 5:15 are just a few). Then you need to sincerely believe that God will deliver. And to finish it off, promptly praise God for His goodness and mercy and love.

That’s the prayer of faith.

My son Jack couldn’t tell me what was wrong because he doesn’t speak the English language. He’s just a baby. And most Christians are unsuccessful in prayer because they don’t speak the language of faith. They are spiritual babies. Now Jack will naturally grow up as time progresses. But Christian growth isn’t automatic. It takes deliberate and intentional action. And unfortunately, most people are unwilling to put in the time.

The language of faith is simple:

  1. Ask God for what you need (Matthew 7:7, Romans 10:9)
  2. Continually confess a scripture that promises you what you need (Joshua 1:8)
  3. Believe that you receive (Mark 11:23, Romans 10:9)
  4. Thank God for always meeting your needs (Philippians 4:6, Acts 16:25)

So stop complaining, stand on the Word, and have faith in God.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

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Ten Logical Reasons Why Sickness Isn’t Good (and a Question for Good Measure)

homer-sickThere are plenty of scriptures that specifically cite healing as good and sickness as bad (there are at least 178 of them, to be somewhat exact).  There is also huge lack of scriptures citing healing as bad and sickness as good (there are less than one, to be somewhat exact).

However, I don’t want to list 178 verses for you here.  Rather, I want to look at the entire bible as a whole and derive ten logical reasons why sickness sucks.

Then I’ll end with a question with an obvious answer that sort of drives the point home.  Enjoy.

  1.      According to the Mosaic Law, sickness makes you unclean.

Being sick meant you were unfit to properly worship God.  You couldn’t enter the temple, couldn’t make sacrifices, and couldn’t hang out with other people.  That is generally viewed as a problem for God followers, since your primary job is to, you know, worship God.

  1.      Jesus healed the sick.

Jesus is the best picture of God we’ve got.  If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus.  And when you observe Jesus, what you find is that He healed every single person who came to Him in faith.  Strangely absent from his three and a half year ministry: spreading malaria.

  1.      Sickness is a curse.

Deuteronomy 28 goes into extensive detail when describing the Curse of the Law.  In that chapter, God mentions just about every single type of sickness, disease, and infirmity known to man (it’s worth noting that He also calls out poverty as a curse).  Centuries later, Paul said Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross rendered us free from the Curse (Galatians 3).

  1.      The plagues didn’t touch Israel.

Generally speaking, the Jews weren’t harmed by the plagues that destroyed Egypt.  God made sure His people were protected.  So even in the event of a deadly virus that threatens to wipe out humanity, rest assured that faithful Christians (read: faith-filled) will be kept safe.

  1.      Sickness isn’t a biblical platform.

No matter which chapter of the bible you read, you’ll never find a story of a terminally ill person using their sickness to promote the gospel.  Rather, you find those people begging to be delivered from their painful plight.  There was no organization in the bible called “Blind guys for Jesus”; they called themselves “Blind guys who really really desperately want to be healed, and won’t relent until they can see.”

  1.      The bible calls sickness “evil.”

Remember the Rich Man and Lazarus?  In Luke 16:25, Abraham said that Lazarus’ life was characterized by “evil things.”  The two defining characteristics of Lazarus were sickness and poverty.

  1.      Sickness was viewed as punishment in the bible days.

There is a story where the disciples come to Jesus and ask Him, “Is this man sick because of his own personal sins, or because of the sins of his parents?”  The mainstream idea of the day was that sickness resulted from sin.  And guess what?  Your sins have been removed.

  1.      Healing was viewed as glorious.

Jesus responds to the disciples’ question by saying, “Neither.  But to show you the glory of God, I’ll heal Him.”  Then POOF!, the man is healed.  People draw all sorts of conclusions from this story, but we have to agree on at least two things: a) Jesus viewed sickness as an unfit state for the man; and b) Jesus called healing “glorious.”

  1.      The bible never says Christians will suffer sickness

Jesus listed many sources of suffering that could befall Christians.  Just about all of them related to persecution.  Sickness never made the list.

10.     Paul never suffered sickness.

Paul, too, listed many things that befell him on his travels (2 Corinthians 11).  Again, sickness didn’t make the cut.

And finally, a Question: Did Jesus ever get sick?

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Two Important Lessons on Faith You Missed from My Last Blog

Jesus(Read My Last Blog Post)

Jesus was unable to do “mighty works” for the people of Galilee due to their unbelief.  The people had hardened their hearts toward the notion of a miracle-working God, and they received exactly what they believed they would.

Nothing.

But here’s the silver lining most of us miss when considering this passage.

“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” (Mark 6:5)

Even in the midst of their marvelous unbelief, Jesus was still able to heal a few of ‘em.  I don’t know how much a few is.  I’d say at least three, but we’d all agree that the bare minimum would be two.  I also don’t know what sorts of ailments he cured that morning.  Decide for yourselves if it was a common cold, a broken wrist, or a sprained ankle.  It hardly matters what He healed.  The point is that He did it.  Even when faced with mockery and detestation, God’s goodness still was present!

I also like that healing only three or so people of mild illnesses isn’t considered that big of a deal.  For most churches, that’d be a great year, but for Jesus, it was kind of a letdown.

There are two lessons we can glean from this story.

1. Even in churches with obscene amounts of unbelief, God can still show up.  If you’re willing to trust God, you can bring God’s kingdom wherever you go, and you can at least lay hands on a few sick people and heal them.

2. Don’t settle for less than what’s available.  The bible says that when only a handful of people are healed, it’s hardly worth mentioning.  God has so much more in store for those who have the audacity to trust in Him.

Don’t allow the unbelief of a few to slow you down.  Go out into the world and do the greater works Jesus has called you to do!

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Every Biblical Example of God Making Christians Sick

sneezeSince becoming a Christian over nine years ago, I have noticed that the church is in the middle of tremendous conflict.  One camp of Christians says God is the Healer, while the other says God might occasionally make you sick, in order to teach you humility, suffering, dedication, or some other esoteric lesson.

So I have searched the scriptures, hoping to find biblical examples that would prove which side of the aisle God falls on.  And after years of research, I present to you every New Testament example where God made a Christian sick:

1.

So there you have it.  This list includes every time God injured one of His own children.  It’s a fairly short list, so feel free to memorize it.  It may come in handy someday.

[ your turn: God may not make Christians sick, but He sure does like to heal them.  Post your favorite healing story in the comments below! ]