I recently heard of an account of apparent physical healing as a result of praying in Jesus’ Name. This came through a friend of a friend of a friend. I found myself feeling skeptical immediately. Not because I don’t believe that Jesus does, in fact, exist…or that He no longer heals….but because of the way the whole account was described. I sometimes hear of undercurrents within Christendom where people will take 1 or 2 verses from scripture that seem to say something totally radical, and form their entire worldview around it. This happens a lot with healing. Jesus did, indeed say:
- God DOES want us to pray for the miraculous, but not for the sake of the miracle…but for the sake of our believing dependence upon Him.
- God DOES heal and work miracles in Jesus’ Name…but not in every case because our prayers are often either selfish in nature/against His will for our character (“God, give me a new Camaro”) or they go against God’s foreknowledge/predestination that only He can see.
- You can’t build a solid theology about something without taking into account the “whole counsel of scripture.”
I have to share these amazing words I read last night from pp.97-99 in Nowen’s book “Life Of The Beloved”:
“When we have cursed ourselves or have allowed others to curse us, it is very tempting to explain all the brokenness we experience as an expression of confirmation of this curse. Before we fully realize it, we have already said to ourselves: ‘You see, I always thought I was no good…Now I know for sure. The facts of life prove it.’
“The great spiritual call of the beloved children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. This is not as easy as it sounds. The powers of the darkness around us are strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people. But when we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us. Physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the blessing is experienced in ways radically different from physical, mental, or emotional pain lived under the curse…
“This explains why true joy can be experienced in the midst of great suffering. It is the joy of being disciplined, purified, and pruned. Just as athletes who experience great pain as they run the race can, at the same time, taste the joy of knowing that they are coming closer to their goal, so also can the Beloved experience suffering as a way to the deeper communion for which they yearn. Here joy and sorrow are no longer each other’s opposites, but have become the two sides of the same desire to grow to the fullness of the Beloved.”
“Living in the Light”
Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. 14 And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
“Living by the Spirit’s Power”
15 So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. 19 Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yesterday I shared a blog from Dave Rhodes that I really liked…and got some good feedback. Here’s Part 2 of Dave’s thoughts about how we position ourselves to disciple others rather than entertain them.
I really liked this post by Dave Rhodes of 3DM. Check it out:
If there really is a God, and He has revealed enough of His character and plans in scripture that we can truly understand what His priorities are for His creation, then why do we not look into God’s Word with more fervor and consistency? And why, after discovering His ways and weighing them against our own, are we so apt to disregard them and do what we want anyway? Most of us really don’t have room for God on the throne of our lives. It seems that we instinctively want everything, especially control. Truly, we are an incurably proud race. As the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer.17:9)
Thankfully, God’s understanding of us, His mercy & grace for us, and His plans to redeem us go way beyond our hearts! Today, this sinner is thankful for God’s grace in Jesus!
“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:14-25)
What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does it look like? He calls us to come alongside Him to be His “disciples”….to “make disciples”…and to be engaged in “discipleship.” But what in the world is discipleship, anyway? Ask 20 people and you may get 20 different answers. I really liked this definition by Dallas Willard:
“Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were you.”
What do you think?
My workout this morning provided an object lesson about walking with God and growing in character. I got into the pool for a swim, and within 3 lengths I started feeling some cramping in my left calf! I was totally frustrated, because this has been a thing lately and I was careful to hydrate and get some electrolytes this morning, in addition to eating a good breakfast. I could tell it wasn’t injury related, but just my muscle fibers whining. So I pushed through and it got better, though it never completely went away…sort of nagging me like a 4-year old in the back seat whining “how much longer?” Honestly, this is just part of physical training. The body is a divine masterpiece which, barring illness or injury, will do whatever we demand of it with surprising speed & efficiency….IF we don’t give up!