Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

Is God still Healing people Today?

A man goes to a revival meeting and listens to the preacher. After a while, the preacher says “Anyone with needs to be prayed over, come forward to the front at the church.”

A young man gets in line, and when it’s his turn, the preacher asks: ‘Son, what do you want me to pray about for you? ’He replies: ‘Preacher, I need you to pray for my hearing.’ The preacher puts one finger in his ear, and he places the other hand on top of his head and prays and prays and prays.

After a few minutes, the preacher removes his hands, stands back and asks : “son, how is your hearing now?” The young man replies, “I don’t know, preacher, it’s not in court until next Wednesday”

I have been thinking a lot about healing recently, partially because my wife and I have been having health concerns, but I have also been thinking about the gift of healing and whether the healings that you see on TV and/or are performed by famous ministries are actually real!?

I believe that God has the power to heal, I believe that I have been used to pray for others, who have been healed from things as simple as a headache, to things more complicated like stress and depression.

The healings which Jesus performed in the bible, were literal and spiritual signs, showing that Jesus had the authority, power and anointing to heal, cast out demons and break people free of their sinful behaviour. Jesus literally opened the eyes of the blind, so that they could see the truth. Jesus literally healed the lame so that they could walk and share the gospel message! Jesus literally healed the lepers, from their physical ailment and rejection from the community.

In our modern world, medicine can treat issues which would have been almost impossible to treat at the time and in the places that Jesus walked. I believe God is still working today, but sometimes he uses the expertise, care and knowledge of our medical professionals to heal our physical ailments, I also believe that he continues to heal without the aid of medical sciences. There are many stories of people who have visited their doctor, been given a diagnosis and in the time between that and their next appointment, God has reduced or removed growths and/or many other miraculous, inexplicable changes in people’s situations!

Some of what you may see on TV, are “parlour tricks” and have been exposed as such! There is someone who goes around healing people that have one leg longer than the other, apparently God has given him the “authority to command leg lengthening”, it appears that is all he does!

I watched a program about someone who was taught all the tricks and power of suggestion that false prophets use. It actually made me doubt and question the things I had seen with my own eyes! There are Christians, who believe that some of the gifts which were used by the early church have ceased to be active, healing is one of such gifts. I struggle with that concept, as I believe that God has used me to pray for and worked through me to heal people, however if the healing does not induce an awe of God, change of mindset and Gratitude for the amazing, undeserved love that he showers upon us, is it real or is it just a temporary “euphoria” which will dissolve and your sickness will “return“, as it never left in the first place?

There are charlatans (putting it very nicely!), who claim to have healing powers, desperate family members wanting cancer, HIV or other terminal ailments to be fully removed from their loved one, before the illness takes their life, get in contact with the “healers”. The families pay out so much money, that they almost bankrupt themselves, giving money to people who have no such gift, power or authority given from heaven. All that these money-grabbers have, is greed and a disgusting inability to feel any guilt for the pain and hardship that they put on these families, who have no actual result for the hope that they have placed in these ministries, in fact they still lose their loved one to the sickness anyway!

If a “healer” convinces you to stop taking your medication, because “if you keep taking it, you show a lack of faith” they are making you risk your health, like above, creating a sense of guilt or legalism, in response to how you view sickness is not good for anyone!

Paul, the writer of a large chunk of the new testament, had a “thorn in the flesh”, people will debate what that was, it could have been sickness, it could have been an addiction, either way, God did not remove it and Paul prayed many times!

Sometimes, God allows sickness to slow us down and get our attention. If you get sick, what is your first response? Do you seek God? After basic first aid, do you pray for healing and restoration? When we are in full health, do we give God enough time in our day? Or do our busy schedules inhibit that relationship which is so important?

My current health issue has forced me to take time and rest, in my resting, I have tried to read my bible and pray more, it would be easy to sit and binge watch programs on Netflix, spend hours on Facebook or watch a plethora of YouTube videos, but none of that would actually benefit my mind and soul!

I am thankful for the family I have, my wife, children and my parents have been so caring and supportive, my colleagues are more concerned about me getting better, than the extra work they are having to do, whilst I am unable to do as much as I was doing!

God has given me so much, it would be wrong to complain about my “suffering“, comparing myself to others would be foolhardy too! Starting each day, thanking God for his blessings and provision, puts everything in perspective. You may feel pain, you may struggle to move, but dwelling on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do, will make your day seem brighter!

Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that there are terminal illnesses, things that affect humans physically, which some consider disability and others consider blessings! It is an interesting thought that some deaf parents would prefer a deaf child than a hearing one!

God does heal, God can heal, but sometimes we have to be patient, his timing and wisdom is so much greater and perfect than ours! I will never understand why some people are healed instantly and others may not get healed at al, it doesn’t depend on that person’s or even their family’s faith but on God and his infinite, inexplicable, unconditional love!!

Esther, liar or obedient?

I led a Sunday school session on worry and how God is waiting to help us with our fears and worries, we sang the song inspired by what God said to Joshua in Joshua 1:9, then I showed them a video about Esther and her story of how God was with her, against someone who wanted to kill her and all of her relatives, just because they wouldn’t respect him the way he wanted them to!

What struck me however was how Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, told her not to say that she was a Jew, but to keep it quiet!  The story is a bit crazy and almost fairy tale in its construction!:-

  • There is a king who wants a wife,
  • They scour the land to find beautiful women who may suit the king.
  • They put the women through a series of beauty treatments.
  • There is a beauty contest.
  • Esther wins but there is a person with evil intent that needs to be defeated.

Haman (the baddie in the story) becomes prime minister to King Xerxes, he gets a law approved making everyone bow to him, if he passes by them. Mordecai refuses, so in anger, Haman gets the king to order all Jews to be killed!  Messengers were sent out with the date of the genocide to tell all the kingdom.

Earlier in the story, Mordecai actually discovers an assassination plot and saves the king’s life! The king was a very grumpy one, you could not approach him without an invitation, if you did, it was highly likely that it would be the last thing you ever did!  Quite understandably, Esther was afraid of what would happen, if she approached the king but as he loved her, he reached out his sceptre and let her come close.

Esther invited the king and Haman to two meals, at the second meal, she pleaded with the king to cancel the order to kill all her relatives, when the king asked who would want to do such a thing, she pointed at Haman.

If she had been honest from the start, about her identity, she may not have been able to save the Jews, but was she lying? If you or I don’t specifically tell our friends and colleagues that we are Christians, are we failing to stand up for our faith or is it better like Esther to live a life that glorifies God so that whatever is said or done to us, we are blameless and cannot be accused of wrong doing?  I haven’t gone out of my way to add all the people I know in real life, onto my facebook friends list, I have often thought about whether or not I should?  I have seen this image posted quite often:-

Occasionally, conversations around me have lead to a topic about faith and following a comment that I make, someone asks me “O are you religious then?” My initial response is denial about religiosity but that I believe in Jesus, I try to tell them that I have a faith, I don’t do things because I have to, but because I want to, in response to God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for me!

If we tell all and sundry that we are a “Christian“, but our life and behaviour is nothing like Jesus, we are but a clanging cymbal and will push people away from coming to Christ or even a church!  God is love, he hates sin, many people have tried to stand up for biblical truth and have lost their jobs, how we stand up for truth is a challenge, but as long as we do it in a way that shows love and respect for individuals who God created, we may be accused of hatred but if there is no hatred in our hearts, it will be shown for what it is, false and unfounded lies!

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