Great faith

Posted: August 25, 2010 in Faith, Healing

The following two verses are often thrown into one of two categories. On one end of the spectrum is people who believe that absolutely everything that happens has to be God’s will (God must have wanted that mountain in the sea. Meaning that if they prayed and someone didn’t get healed, that it just wasn’t God’s will to heal because they obviously had faith.) and on the other side is people who believe that these are examples of great faith.

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:23-24

“Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

However, the two people who Jesus said had great faith were the Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5-13) and the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:22-28). Neither of them had a covenant with God, yet they asked Jesus anyway even though they had no right to ask. Both of these non-Christians and non-Jews sought Jesus for the healing of a loved one and He healed them. Interestingly, Jesus ignored the Canaanite woman at first, bringing up the fact that she didn’t have a covenant with God.

As Jesus responds to Peter in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.” We don’t need great faith as believers, we just need to have faith in God. We need to know His promises and have faith in Him. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t believe God for healing and who didn’t get prayed for that has ever been healed. So, when nobody believes God for healing, nobody gets healed! Therefore faith must be part of it! I find it sad that for some Christians God’s will for healing is based on medical breakthrough. If the doctors can save you, it was God’s will for you to live, but if they can’t, it was God’s timing for you to go. We need to break free of these traditions and get back to what Jesus said and did.

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Shielding Unbelief

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Faith, Healing

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ” – Romans 12:2

Last night at church my pastor was talking about the benefits of praying in tongues and mentioned one thing in particular that stood out to me. Hopefully I am saying this right, but he said that it is beneficial to pray in tongues when you wouldn’t believe what you would have been praying in English. Why? Because the only “closed heavens” that exist for the believer is in the five letter word between the ears.

Think about it. What good is it for us to pray something with no faith other than that we had the “faith” to say it? I can definitely relate to this, can you? A few years ago I started to notice that if I prayed for someone and I didn’t notice breakthrough the first time I prayed I would begin to believe that the person wouldn’t get healed. I would start to believe a lie that either they didn’t have enough faith to get healed or perhaps their condition was too “hard” for me to see them healed. I say that I was believing a lie because I was not believing the Bible. As soon as that unbelief crept in I was done. I might as well have not prayed again because I was actually expecting them to NOT get healed.

So what did I do? I stopped praying in English until I had faith! I would pray in tongues and focus on the truth of what Jesus paid for until I had faith again. It was like the tongues acted as a shield! Then, I would proceed to pray in English and the results were astonishing! People would get healed of all sorts of things because rather than focusing on the impossibility, I had faith in God. People who say faith has nothing to do with someone getting healed are either lying, have hardly ever prayed for the sick, or want to say that it just wasn’t God’s will for someone to be healed. We have developed such a strong culture of praying with little or no results that it is assumed everyone who prays has faith. They say we need to cry out to God more so that He will wake up because He just hasn’t moved yet. God already moved! The only problem is that we don’t believe what He said!

Praying in tongues builds me up and changing my thoughts allows me to have faith for the impossible. Unfortunately, I am still in process and there are times that what I see in the natural causes me to have unbelief. It reminds me when the disciples tried to heal a boy with seizures and couldn’t do it (Matthew 17:15-16). More on that tomorrow.

Faith works

Posted: August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

“If in fact Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” – Romans 4:2-5

This is such a great picture that we can’t earn our right standing with God. Why? Unlike what we have seen in movies or in real life, you don’t do things to earn a gift because then it isn’t a gift. Basically you worked for something. However if we have to work in order to gain something that would also mean that if we don’t work, we don’t gain it. Anyone who is an hourly worker can tell you that if they don’t work, they don’t get paid. However, when we trust God instead of trying to earn our salvation, our faith is credited as righteousness. Truly, what David said in regards to this is something to never forget…

“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” – Romans 4:8

Find a way

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Healing

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.” – Mark 2:3-4

A few weeks ago I heard one of the youth at our church say how he does his homework while he brushes his teeth. It made me think about how I could probably memorize Bible verses while I brush my teeth. Similarly, I found that I could easily memorize verses while I got ready because all it takes is reading it a time or two and then repeating it. However, I found it is difficult to use my Bible because it is difficult to hold while getting ready and it is a challenge to keep it dry in the bathroom.

Amazingly the few verses I memorized a few weeks ago I still remember! So, I can see that it is worth my effort to find a way to memorize scripture while I get ready even though it isn’t as simple as just having my Bible there. I need to find a way, however unorthodox it may be, that will allow me to make the most of the opportunity. What opportunities are you passing on because they are inconvenient or present obstacles to you? Find a way to make it work and you’ll be happy with the results!

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’…’I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all.” – Mark 2:5,10-11

Excuse Me

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Healing

We have all heard excuses and we have all probably come up with excuses as to why something didn’t turn out the way it should have. Often times excuses are legitimate. It is very stressful to try to print a paper an hour before its due to find out you are out of ink or that even with ink it isn’t printing right. However, even legitimate excuses can be avoided. Had I finished the paper several days in advance I could have found somewhere to print it out no problem.

Why not live excuses free? I used to think there was a laundry list of “reasons” why some people don’t get healed. Perhaps they don’t have faith, there is sin in their life, they have unforgiveness towards someone, they think they haven’t been good enough to be healed, they think they have been so good that they can’t understand why they haven’t been healed, or whatever. However, I have found that there isn’t this cut and dry answer of needing to have all your boxes checked in order to be healed. You can get healed no matter how many excuses you have! Why? Because Jesus paid for it in full before you messed up!

Yes, it can help get someone healed to have them forgive someone or to share testimonies with them to boost their faith. However, unforgiveness or unbelief don’t hinder God’s power, they hinder MY faith if I believe they hinder healing. As long as I think they can’t get healed until they have faith, I won’t believe they can get healed until they have faith! I will just keep unbelieving which will probably rub off on them, causing their unbelief to increase! The only hindrance to healing is believing there is a hindrance to healing. That goes for being healed yourself and for seeing others healed. If I think that something is stronger than God’s power to heal than I must wait for that thing to be gone. However, if I see that thing as no match for God’s love and power, it will fall over more easily than a toothpick trying to stand up in a Hurricane.

So if you find yourself trying to make an excuse for someone not being healed, remember that the only hindrance is believing that there is a hindrance. No more excuses! Get your eyes off of the problems and focused on God whose power is infinitely greater than our expectations.

Demonstrating wisdom

Posted: August 16, 2010 in Healing

“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Today I replaced the map light in my car. It took me under two minutes to be completely done because I knew how to take it apart and how to put it back together. I learned how to do it on Saturday morning when I discovered my burned out bulb. That afternoon I bought a replacement bulb but didn’t have the tools I needed to fix it. Knowing how to change the bulb didn’t fix my problem though, I had to actually go in and do something about it.

If we know how to do something, the only thing that is holding us back from doing it is…wait for it…doing it! I could have just believed that since I knew how to change the bulb that it would work on its own, but I didn’t. I changed the bulb so that I could demonstrate the light rather than having to try to persuade people that the light works even though their experience doesn’t line up with what I am telling them. It’s like telling someone that God is good and loving but that He made them deathly ill to teach them to rely on Him more.

If we have wisdom we need to put it into practice. If we know God heals the sick we need to go out and heal the sick! James 2:14-17 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Typically if you know God heals the sick you would have faith for it too. Well, I think you get the point. We owe the world an encounter with God’s love and goodness and we don’t do that by persuading them with our eloquent words, we do it through demonstrating His power, goodness, and love.

Wonderful Change

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

I used to think that I didn’t really like change. In college it would always take me a while to find my groove each semester to fit things that were important to me into my schedule. Although a change of schedule would probably still throw me off a bit, I am beginning to see how change can be a good thing.

Too often we get stuck in a rut of how things have always been, how we have viewed ourselves and other generally bad but not too terrible things. We get bad habits, bad mindsets, bad hairdos, bad outfits, bad diets, and bad sleeping habits – thankfully I broke the bad sleeping habits a while back. Sometimes we think small instead of dreaming big and we get stuck in our tiny little box that keeps us from growing and doing the things we were created to do.

This reminds me of what happened in Matthew 10:1. “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Up to this point the disciples had been spectators watching Jesus heal a ton of people. Now he gives them the authority to do it as well as telling them “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)

Jesus basically tells the disciples, “Hey guys, all that stuff that I have been doing, now you can do it too. Everywhere you go, do it, because I didn’t give you the ability so you can just cruise around on your camel thinking that you are all that and a loaf of bread.” That’s a big shift from being scared spectators to Kingdom releasers.