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I have an unusually large interest in the subject of God and physical healing. My interest was sparked when I, at 16 years old, started getting involved in my mom's new church. Although it interested me, at this young age, I still felt like something was wrong with their message. The general message was "if you just have enough faith, you will be healed. But if you don't have enough faith, you won't be healed." That, to me, just doesn't make sense, since according to our Lord, it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed, and obviously if you have even the smallest belief that God can heal you, you've got that much faith. So why were people still dying? Why were people still getting sick, and still in wheel chairs? Again, they would point the finger and say YOU don't have enough faith. Well, I have since concluded that their kind of teaching is disgusting. I have watched how they lure people in with promises of health and wealth, and then those who were once on the right track with God become hardened, and really, they try to be their own God. What's sad is that so many of them don't even realize this, don't realize how far away from the truth they have strayed. They are generally very committed people - always going to church, always going to meetings, always praying...but from what I've observed, their motives are wrong. They cling to worldly and self-serving desires - money, cars, big houses, health, anything that will make them appear "blessed". They cling to scriptures saying that it is God's will for us all to live an abundantly blessed life on earth. I think God DOES want to bless us - but IF our motives are pure and we are not putting to much emphasis or importance on these worldly things, or in other words, making them idols in our hearts.
So if we pray to God with a selfish motive, do you think it would REALLY be in our best interest for him to answer? God wants to teach us to be more like Jesus - who was never selfish. If our motive in healing is to only empower ourselves or make us feel better, and that's it, perhaps we won't see God heal. That's not to say though that it's not his will to heal us. I believe it is. But I also believe it is a process that starts on the inside of our HEARTS. It's actually quite undeniable. If you study this subject enough - reading the BIBLE, not listening to what others say - you will see that God loves a pure heart - and has blessed people with health who have shown good motives, and who have gone through the process of getting to know God personally, instead of just listening to a preacher every Sunday morning. God desires to have an intimate relationship with us - and you can't do that without spending some serious alone time seeking Him out. Did you know that God promises long life to those who will know and trust him? That is a promise - straight from God - and God's words cannot return to him void. In Psalm 91:14-16 (BBE) God says "Because he has given me his love, I will take him out of danger: I will put him in a place of honour, because he has kept my name in his heart. When his cry comes up to me, I will give him an answer: I will be with him in trouble; I will make him free from danger and give him honour. With long life will he be rewarded; and I will let him see my salvation."
Now, God promises "long life" - the word life here does not refer to eternity - it is the Greek word "yom" which means "day (24 hours)" - so we can be sure that he's talking about life on earth, for there is no night in heaven - no 24 hour days like we have here. The only other time that God uses this Greek word in the bible is in 1 Kings chapter 3. The king is Soloman, decendent of David. Now it alludes that Soloman worships other gods, but God comes to Soloman and says "What do you want? Ask." Soloman gives God thanks for being true to his promise, that a decendent of David would be on the throne, and then he says "Give your servant, then, a wise heart for judging your people, able to see what is good and what evil; for who is able to be the judge of this great people?"
Notice - Soloman really could have asked God for anything - but he had a good motive, a good heart, and asked for God to help him lead God's people. So how did God respond? He was GREATLY pleased, and because of this, he said "And God said to him, Because your request is for this thing, and not for long life for yourself or for wealth or for the destruction of your haters, but for wisdom to be a judge of causes; I have done as you said: I have given you a wise and far-seeing heart, so that there has never been your equal in the past, and never will there be any like you in the future. And with this I have given you what you made no request for: wealth and honour, so that no king was ever your equal. And if you go on in my ways, keeping my laws and my orders as your father David did, I will also give you a long life."

NEED I SAY MORE?? Our motives must be pure. We need to have a heart for the lost, not just for ourselves. We need to resist evil, and do good. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that by WORKS, we can be sure to get everything we ask for, or that by our WORKS alone we see good things happen. But being obedient to God DOES have its benefits - and I believe God is very clear about this. I suggest buying a copy of The Message translation, and reading it DAY AND NIGHT. Especially, read Psalm 91 and 1 Kings 3. It is incredible. God asks us to cling to him for dear life. What I think he's saying is "Don't give up on me. At the right time, I will rescue you. Don't give up".
Healing obviously was a HUGE part of Jesus' ministry. He healed everyone - and it was unconditional. I believe that this was to get the message across that he DOES heal, and we SHOULD look to him for healing. But, since Jesus is not walking this earth now as he did - things are a little different - but GOD isn't. God doesn't change. And Jesus did not lose any power to heal when he went up to heaven. Don't give up. SEEK GOD - not just for physical healing, but for an intimate relationship with him. It's only then that you can truly love him and keep his name in your heart, as he says in Psalm 91. I hope this helps.

Absolutely, Jesus still heals people today! I am living proof! I was basically bed ridden August, September and October of this year. After a missions trip to China in July after years of remission of psorasis I had a recoccurence. Not only did I have the psorasis on my body, it set into psoratic arthritis in my joints and my immune system was literally under attack. It was a very difficult, painful and stressful time. After a battery of tests and x-rays I was approved by my insurance company to begin intravenous therapy at the cost of $24,000 a year in the hosptial every 4 weeks for the rest of my life. I was so sick, I had to quit my job. We decided not to accet this. We firmly believe that God desires us to be well. So, we SAID THE WORD! We began to claim and speak every day that "by his stripes I am healed!" and I reminded God every day that he took up my infirmities at the cross, so I good be whole. We went and prayed with several friends and church members in agreement for healing. About November I suddendly got better, was able to discontinue my pain medicine and can now tell you that I am completely healed and not taking any treatments. The doctors don't know what to think, and when I went to the eye doctor last month, I've worn a very strong contact and eye glass prescription since I was 15 years old, my prescription strength was actually lowered for the first time and not just a little, a lot, because my eye sight had improved! Praise God!! The scriptures say we can speak things into existence, I think that was what Abraham was doing when we mentioned the angel, he spoke it by faith. God is still on the throne today, it takes faith, he has given us all power and authorithy under heaven to trample snakes, and scorpions and all kind of evil and sickness. Use your authority today and SAY THE WORD! Christ is in you and he is the same today as yesterday. Praise the Lord!

Mike, thank you for the video today. I have been reading "Jesus for President" by Shane Claiborne and realizing how very selfish I am. Your blog has given me a growing awareness of the kingdom of God this past year. Yes, Jesus loves me, but I see clearer and clearer that I love Him by loving others. This blog is not just about the Bible, but about loving the ones that God loves. it is His Will that none should perish.....

HEALING - God heals, but He heals if it is his will. We all have to die some time. I once over heard someone praying, " God if you heal xyz for me then I will do abc for you, I promise." You can't bargain with God "Do this for me and I'll do this for you" It does not work that. God heals because he wants that healing for a reason. We need faith and I know my faith is nowhere near the size of a mustard seed. I am working on it by reading the Bible daily and building up my faith and understanding more.

I find the discussion about healing to match wonderfully with the Old Testament passage about Abraham and the Proverbs memory verse. Abraham had a relationship with the Lord of trust. He knew God had a plan for his life and would carry out that plan without fail. Corrie ten Boom has a wonderful quote that "God doesn't have problems; only plans." As we trust in the Lord with all our heart, we can begin to align our lives with His plans. Regardless of our physical condition, God can use us in His plans. God certainly can and does heal our physical and emotional sickness, but being a part of His glorious eternal plan is a much greater and more wonderful thing. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Abraham understood this.

Jodie and Wendy--thanks for sharing your stories.

Wendy, what an incredible story of healing! Praise Him for His work in your life.

Jodie (and Mike) I agree with you that the issue of healing is VERY complex. I certainly don't want to diminish what God can do, as there are too many people out there like Wendy (and friends in my own life too) that have experienced His healing first hand. Praise God for those works!!!! They certainly testify to His goodness and mercy!

I'm sure that most of us could also share stories of pure-hearted, God-loving folks who the Lord chose NOT to physically heal--folks who the Lord decided to bring home instead of healing them on this earth, or folks who struggle with chronic diseases every day without remission or improvement. The Lord is also glorified through these circumstances but in different ways.

On this issue and the issue of sickness, I almost always come back to the story of the blind man in John 9:

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. " John 9:1-3

I just think we need to be really careful not to confuse physical sickness with punishment or associate God's choice not to heal with a lack of faith on our part...or a lack of love on His.

I hold fast to these truths:

*God is ALWAYS good.

*God chooses to display His glory in us in different ways---sometimes this may mean walking through suffering (and this was true of the disciples and so many Christians throughout the ages). Other times He may be glorified through the testimony of healing on this earth.

BUT, either way, neither is an indication of our faith or the measure of His love for us. He always loves us, His purposes and plans are always for good...for the very best....it is our perception or ability to understand His goodness that may be limited, NOT His goodness.

And I do not say these things lightly or without experiencing suffering firsthand--I "lost" both my parents as a young adult-- my mother to MS and my father to leukemia--and I've "lost" three children to miscarriages....

I also think of that story of the paralytic lowered from the roof. ( Mark 2:1-12)...remember the first thing that Jesus did? He forgave the man's sins! This was paramount in Christ's mind and the healing of his body came second, really was more of an afterthought so that they would believe that He had the power to forgive sin.

And, I think we need to be careful to remember that Christ took care of the BIGGEST thing FIRST and IT'S DONE--He died on the cross for our sins-He made relationship and forgiveness available to anyone who is willing--and He's made a place for us to live with Him in heaven forever---Hallelujah!

We are all broken spiritually, He has made provision for healing of our souls--THIS was the most important thing to Jesus.

All of our bodies are imperfect and deteriorating: we are all destined for the grave. Some may be on the way earlier than others, but we are ALL on the way. This was one of the consequences of Adam and Eve back in the garden, long ago. BUT, He has also made a promise to restore our bodies from the grave (love 1 Corinthians 15 on this)--His timing is just different than ours.

I think sometimes I am guilty of wanting too much of heaven on earth. I need to remember sometimes that He's not finished with this world, my life, or this body yet.

What a great God He is!

Matthew 8:1-17

Chapters 8 and 9 present a series of miracles or as John's Gospel calls them: signs and wonders.

Miracles were never meant to make believers out of a crowd, Signs and wonders were done to affirm the authority of the one (Jesus or disciples) performing the miracle.

I believe Matthew, whose gospel is directed to a Jewish audience, puts this group of miracles (out of chronological order) after the Sermon on the Mount to point to and affirm the authority of Jesus's words on the mount. He was who He said He was. This would also explain why the different sermons of Jesus were collected together by Matthew in ch. 5-7. Matthew is writing about the sermons and miracles in summary to make the point collectively and obviously to the Jewish reader.

I have been healed twice in prayer healings. Why? Why me? Once was a sign to me about something I needed to do. The other time was for a non-believer who was present that he may know God's word has authority.

The Leper: Worshipped Jesus. Only God can be worshipped, and Jesus did not deny the worship. The Leper was a believer.

Jesus sent him on his way to the priests. Why? Because that is what the Law prescribed in Leviticus 14. And secondly, as a testimony to the priests (some of whom may have been on the mount) - that He who spoke the sermons had the authority to speak.
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The Centurion: The first healing was up close, the second was done from afar. God has no limitations. The centurion addressed Jesus as Lord - a big no-no as only Caeser was his ultimate master. The centurion cited Psalm 107:20 'speak thy word only' - was he a believer who had studied God's word???

Jesus's reaction? He marveled - looked at in the absolute sense with admiration. Jesus said he had faith - translated as "trust in God or Christ arising from belief in the same". I believe the centurion was a believer. Jesus alluded to such and for the first time alludes that Gentiles will be in the kingdom of heaven, while the seed of Abraham (not all but Israel in general) will find themselves outside of heaven.
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Peter's mother-in-law

By her response I assume she was a believer. Her response: service. She immediately ministered to/waited on Jesus and his disciples. When we are healed from our state of sin - can we say we do the same? We should.
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I struggled with Matthew's citing of Is 53:4. I do not think Jesus took on every sick and possessed person's particular illness. I do think that the MANY healings and casting out of demons took its physical toll on the man part of Jesus. Multitudes came to Him and for awhile He healed them all. This was a God in man form who had recently spent forty days fasting, who probably got little sleep. I think there is a case to be made that Jesus had a less than healthy appearance. (My speculation, but I think we will see proof of that when we get to Luke.)

Genesis 23

Two things:

1) Abraham mourns Sarah. That is appropriate thing to do, and for us to when someone passes. Then Abraham rises up and gets on with life. How can he do this? Abraham is the man who is a friend to God, the man of the tent and altar. Abraham is a pilgrim who knows earth is not his home. With assurance he knows he will see Sarah again.

2) Abraham again rejects the freebie offered by a pagan group (remember King of Sodom). Abraham gets everything he has from God and knows it, so if he needs something from the world - he will buy it with what God has provided him. Abraham is beholden only to God, and most of his life exemplified his staying that way.
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Rebekah

Going to post a link to a sermon about this chapter. Ray Stedman looks at the procuring of a bride for his son as a type of evangelism and finding a bride for Christ (another believer).

Abraham (God) sends forth his servant (Holy Spirit or us embedded with the Holy Spirit). In structions are given, twice it is said that Isaac was not to go back there. Why so important? Isaac is pictured as Christ here, and Christ is not to come back to save or evangelize anymore. The next time He comes it will be for judgment.

Servant gets there and prays first, then gets a sign and is confirmed. Does not immediately grab Rebekah and go, he gives thanks to the Lord, and goes back to her family. Repeats the story including Abraham (God) and all he has (thus noting the inheritance of the Son), giving the signs from God (authority of God and his representative), and awaits a decision...

Read fully here:
http://www.raystedman.org/genesis/3673.html

I read the notes today with the reading & really enjoyed it. I think that healing does happen, but agree it is sad when a ministry lays the blame for an affliction on the ill person. God has a plan & we shouldn't make people feel guilty or like if they only had more faith they would be well. The apostle Paul is the one example that stands out to me as he prayed 3 times for the thorn in his flesh to be removed.
To walk with God is most important & reading the bible in a year is part of the way I am immersing myself in the Word to be close to Him.
Peace in Him & thanksgiving for God's grace & gift of Jesus.
s

I do believe that God heals.. but not everytime, not all the time. Sometimes how we live with our problems - physical or otherwise - can be a shining testimony for our God.

That's what I think at any rate and I truly doubt it has to do with having 'too little' faith but more with what is God's will in the matter at hand.

After today's readings, I am committed to the following:

1. God's teaching, and to keep His commands in my heart.
2. Be loving and faithful to God and others.
3. Trust in the LORD with all my heart
4. Acknowledge God in all that I do
5. Seek God and make all my plans and prayers based on Him, and not based on my own ideas
6. Serve and remember the poor whenever possible


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