Who killed… ?

SpeakTheWordOnlyThe idea that God uses Satan as his lap-dog – or hit man – is an old and persistent idea. But it ignores Jesus’s plain commands, his delegating his own creative authority to the disciples and his command for them to pass that message on. (Matthew 28:18-20)

That idea prevents people from praying in faith. More believers, faithful church-goers, are getting sick and staying sick. More will die. And more will leave their church, seeking a gospel of power that actually works. Do I have to become one of those? Some folks probably hope that I do, because what I say below doesn’t jive with their experience.

If you don’t know what God’s will is, you can’t pray specifically in accordance with I John 5:14-15.  Such as, healing is the children’s bread. The stripes on Jesus’ back were for our healing. Jehovah God named himself, I am the Lord that heals you. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. The thief comes only to kill, steal and destroy – Jesus came to give life – life to the full!

Jesus commanded the disciples to obey, and to teach us to obey (Matthew 28:18-20), whatever he had commanded them. He did it, and he showed them how to do it. And he commanded them – and us – to heal the sick.

When did he rescind that? Where did he add “except for John Doe, or Jane Doe” ? When did he add, “except in Florence, SC” ?

To obey His wishes, more is needed than just knowing what God’s will is – it requires speaking out, declaring, commanding God’s wishes just as Jesus would do.

Not wondering in doubt, not hoping in fear, because those prayers are double-minded (maybe he will, maybe he won’t) and they get nothing. They dishonor God.

Instead, it requires speaking in faith, knowing that the power that created the universe inhabits you. The Word of God inhabits you, your heart, your mind, and your mouth. Jesus needs your mouth, your tongue, to speak out his creative power today.

Sadly, Jesus himself couldn’t do miracles in his home town of Nazareth because of people’s unbelief. Today, ignorance or unbelief in what God’s wishes / will are, coupled with unbelief in the authority that was delegated from Him to us, will stop the power of God from accomplishing what He plainly desires –what he paid a very high price for.

How did Jesus combat that? By teaching, and teaching. And more teaching.

Many miracles are happening in the world today, people healed from deadly diseases, the dead raised, even missing eyes or limbs restored. Why? Because ignorance and/or unbelief aren’t putting up an automatic barricade.

Here’s a helpful teaching article from Andrew Wommack Ministries:

Our Authority Releases God’s Power

There are a number of keys to seeing the miraculous power of God manifest on a consistent basis. One of the least understood, and therefore seldom practiced, is the fact that healing is under the authority of the believer. God has already provided His healing power and placed it on the inside of every born-again believer. It is up to us to release it. Understanding and using our authority is the key to seeing miracles happen.

Look at how Peter and John ministered healing to the lame man in Acts 3:1-8:

“Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

Notice that Peter didn’t pray for this man. He also didn’t ask God to heal him. He said, “Such as I have give I thee.” This didn’t mean that Peter was the source of this healing. Notice what Peter said in Acts 3:12,

“And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?”

It was God’s power that healed this man, but that power was under Peter’s authority. Peter went on to say in verse 16 that it was faith in the name of Jesus that had wrought this miracle. But Peter didn’t ask God to heal this man. He believed the Lord had already done His part and had placed that power within him. Now it was Peter’s responsibility to release that power, and that’s just what he did.

The Lord never told us to pray for the sick in the sense that we ask Him to heal them. He told us to heal the sick. There is a BIG difference between the two. It has to do with operating in the authority He has already given us. Look at these commands the Lord gave His disciples.

“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”(Luke 9:1-2)

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matt. 10:1)

“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:7-8)

Jesus told us to heal the sick not pray for the sick. What a radical statement! This will get you kicked out of most churches today, but these are the exact words of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is precisely why more people don’t see the miraculous results they’re praying for. They aren’t taking their authority and commanding God’s power; they’re passively asking God to do what He told them to do.

I know this goes contrary to popular Christian doctrine. We’re constantly told that it’s not us but God who is the Healer, and I agree with that totally. But, I also believe that God has placed His healing power under our authority, and it is up to us to release it. If we don’t take our authority and become commanders instead of beggars, God’s power will not be released. There needs to be a radical renewing of our thinking on this issue.

A good friend of mine, Dave Duell, held a meeting in Africa many years ago. It was one of his first times he saw miracles such as the blind and deaf healed. The people were so excited that they were mobbing him as he walked through the streets, trying to touch him so they could be healed. His first thought was influenced by this religious thinking I’m trying to change. He thought, They shouldn’t be looking to me. I’m not the healer; it is Jesus.

He was about to stop them when the Lord spoke to him. The Lord said, “Dave, do you remember when I rode that donkey into Jerusalem, and all the people put their garments and palm branches in the way and cried, ‘Hosanna’? What would you have thought if the donkey had spoken up and said, ‘It’s not me! It’s not me’? That would only have revealed the donkey’s arrogance. No one was praising the donkey; they were praising the One that was riding the donkey.”

When Dave recognized the people weren’t trying to touch him but the One he was carrying, he let them touch him all they wanted and people were healed. This is exactly what happened with the first-century disciples. Peter had people line the streets so that if only his shadow would touch them, they would be healed (Acts. 5:15).

Look at an amazing passage of Scripture in Isaiah 45:11.

“Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

What a powerful scripture! What does the Lord mean when He tells us to command Him? Well, He certainly doesn’t mean we are mightier and more powerful than Him and can order Him around. He means, concerning the things He has already done, He wants us to take our authority and command His power.

It’s like electricity. The power company generates the power and delivers it to your house. It’s not your power, but it’s under your control. You don’t call the power company and ask them to turn the lights on. No! They won’t do that. They generate the power, but it’s under your command. You simply flip the switch on the wall and command the power to work.

Does this mean you are the power source? Certainly not! You can put a light bulb in your mouth, and it will never come on. You aren’t the power source, but you are the one in control of what that power does. You can plead with the power company all you want, but they won’t flip the switch for you. You have to assume your authority and acknowledge the power is under your command.

That’s what the Lord was speaking of. He has already healed everyone who will ever be healed. He did it two thousand years ago when He bore our stripes on His back. Then He deposited His resurrection power inside every believer (Eph. 1:19-20). He’s done His part, and now it is up to us to do ours.

We need to take the authority He has given us and become commanders instead of beggars. This is a powerful truth that works, and it’s the reason we see so many miraculous healings. We aren’t just praying for the sick; we are healing them in Jesus’ name.

http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/authority_releases/
Also see:
Killing Sacred Cows
http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/sacred_cows/
How to Receive a Miracle – Part 2
http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/receive_miracle2/

How to heal the sick – Addendum

ByHisStripesAddendum to How to Heal the Sick: https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/how-to-heal-the-sick/

Are you yourself sick / injured / in pain? Tell your mind and body (and the enemy) all about the blood of Jesus. 

Remind yourself that I Peter 2:24 declares, “By his stripes we WERE healed.” It doesn’t add, “except for John Doe, or Jane Doe, or me.”

Jesus said, heal the sick. He didn’t specify that it had to be somebody else… Got a sick stomach? Backache? Headache? Shoulder pain? Heart disease?

Speak life to it. Lay hands on it. Command it to be normal, healthy, whole. Let the Holy Spirit direct you in the specifics, just as he did with Jesus and the disciples. Do what he tells you, how he tells you, when he tells you.

Yes, I do see doctors and yes, I do take medicine if they recommend it. Yes, I do ask other believers to agree with me, to also lay hands on me, speak to the ailment, whatever the Lord directs them to do for me. They are co-workers with me, to carry out God’s will and plan for wholeness in me.

All the while I’m also listening to and obeying the Great Physician, who has taken up residence inside of me. My (our) primary prescription is God’s word, written on my heart and mind, specific instructions designed individually for me by the Holy Spirit.

Lay hands on my sore wrist? Check. Speak to my achy shoulder? Check. Command my heart to be fixed? Check. Do something I can’t do? Check.

BloodOfJesusTell your mind and body (and the enemy) all about the blood of Jesus. Remind yourself that I Peter 2:24 declares, “By his stripes we WERE healed.” It doesn’t add, “except for John Doe, or Betty Doe, or me.”

Be stubborn about it, persistent, determined. Do you eat food every day? Put food into your own stomach every day?

Then apply God’s word to your own self every day.

How to heal the sick

HowToHealTheSickJesus healed the sick. He commanded the disciples to heal the sick, and to teach  future disciples (us) to do the same.

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38 NIV)

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:23-24; it does not say how, it just says he healed them all. Every sickness and every disease.)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:20)

How did Jesus heal the sick?

  • Gospel of Matthew:

Touch / spoken command  8:1-3 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.

Spoken command  8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Touch  8:14-15 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

Spoken word  9:6-7 “But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home.

Faith  9:20-22 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Touch  9:25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the (dead) girl by the hand, and she got up.

Touch / faith  9:29 Then he touched their (two blind men) eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; and their sight was restored.

Spoken Command  12:13 Then he said to the man (with a shriveled hand), “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

Touch of his clothes  14:35-36 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Touch  20:34 Jesus had compassion on them (two blind men) and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

  • Mark:

Touch  1:30-31 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

Touch / spoken command  1:41-42 He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Spoken command  2:11-12 To the paralyzed man: “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. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Spoken command  3:3-5 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” … “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

Touch / spoken command  5:41-42 He took her (the dead girl) by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means Little girl, I say to you, get up!). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.

Touch of his clothes  6:56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Touch / spit / spoken command  7:33-35 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Touch / spit / spoken command  8:23-25 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Faith / spoken command 10:51-52 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man (Bartimaeus) said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

  • Luke:

Touch / spoken command  13:10-13 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Spoken command  17:12-14 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

  • John:

Spoken word  4:46-53 There was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”  The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

Spoken command  5:5-9 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

Touch / saliva / spoken command  9:6-7 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man (who was born blind) went and washed, and came home seeing.

How did the disciples / apostles heal the sick?

  • Peter:

Touch / spoken command  Acts 3:6-8 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

Spoken command  9:33-34 There (in Lydda) he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up.

Spoken command  9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

  • Paul:

Spoken command  14:8-10 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

Touch of his clothes  19:11-12  God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

Touch  28:8 His (Publius) father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.

Paul’s method of ministering to the sick is not specified in many instances. However,  “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God.” (Romans 15:18-19) “I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” (II Cor. 12:12)

Some thoughts:

  • The original disciples did the same sort of things Jesus did, in the same way.
  • What did they not do? They didn’t pray for the sick. They didn’t ask God to do something he had told them to do. Jesus showed them how, healing multitudes of sick people right in front of them. Then he sent them out to do it also.  And not just the original twelve, he sent out 72 others also to “Heal the sick who are there…” (Luke 10:9)
  • One size does not fit all when it comes to healing. They addressed each person individually, specifically – they didn’t treat each one the same as every other one. Some they merely spoke to, some they touched. Some Jesus spit on! Some he just stated, “Your faith has healed you.”
  • Some they told to do something they could not physically do – but they did it.
  • The command Jesus gave those disciples is still in force to today’s disciples.
  • The same Holy Spirit that indwelled them indwells disciples today, leading them, informing them, instructing them, and empowering them to do the same things, in the same way.

Are YOU yourself the one who is sick? Then also see: https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/how-to-heal-the-sick-addendum/

Down but not out… in the right place at the right time

BowedOverWomanBowed over for 18 years, imagine that. Dirt. Feet. Floor. Street. Sandals. Trash. Maybe a few children’s legs, a few knees, a few steps, a few chairs. But she could mostly see the stuff nobody really wants to see. Dirt.

The blue sky, fluffy clouds, people’s smiles, the beauty of the trees, the glory of the Temple, the rolling hillsides, the things people do want to see, those she couldn’t really see.

And yet on the sabbath day there she was, in the synagogue.

The men and women were separated in the synagogue, the men on one side, the women on the other side. There was supposedly a good reason for that, but whatever the reason, there was the bowed-over woman, in the right place at the right time.

I have a few questions about why she came that day. Was this her usual sabbath ritual? Go to synagogue, pray the prayers, hear the sermon? Hope for a blessing?

Or was it because she knew Jesus would be there, and maybe, just maybe, he would do something special for her?

By the time this occasion happened, Jesus had done many miracles, some in synagogues. He had attracted great crowds, many followers. He had chosen some to be apostles, and they had gone out doing miracles too. Word always got around pretty fast when Jesus was in the vicinity.

I can imagine the news being spread, can’t you? “Hey, did you hear? Jesus is coming this way!” I can visualize the townspeople telling their families, their neighbors.

I can see the news arriving at the home of this bowed-over woman. I can almost hear her thoughts – I’ve got to get there, I’ve got to get where he is, I’ve got to get near him.

When it was known that Jesus was nearby on the sabbath, everyone knew where he’d go – to the synagogue. It was his custom.

If the bowed-over woman always attended that synagogue on the sabbath, she was well known to the leaders. The teachers in charge, the men and women of the area knew her condition. Their hearts should have been full of sympathy and compassion towards her, helping her to get inside and find a good seat, hoping right along with her for a touch from God today.

That was not their attitude, however.

By then, the Jewish leaders had gotten leery of Jesus. He had become a rabble-rouser, a trouble-maker, preaching about a Kingdom. Claiming to be God! Dangerous nonsense.

He was stirring up too much attention from the Sanhedrin and maybe even the Romans. Miracles? It was as if the miracles had become invisible, not real, while the potential for a Roman crackdown was very real.

I doubt if the sick, the crippled, the blind, deaf and dumb, demon-possessed worried too much about what the Sanhedrin or the Romans thought. They just knew they had needed help and nobody else had helped them but Jesus. No longer sick! No longer blind! Healed, healthy, whole, they were free. Many also became followers.

And the bowed-over woman? Here’s her story:

He was teaching in one of the meeting places on the Sabbath. There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God.

The meeting-place president, furious because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the congregation, “Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the seventh, the Sabbath.”

 But Jesus shot back, “You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly unties your cow or donkey from its stall, leads it out for water, and thinks nothing of it. So why isn’t it all right for me to untie this daughter of Abraham and lead her from the stall where Satan has had her tied these eighteen years?”

When he put it that way, his critics were left looking quite silly and red-faced. The congregation was delighted and cheered him on. (Luke 13:10-17 MSG)

Several things come to mind.

  • The woman was a daughter of Abraham.
  • She was faithful to attend services.
  • She wasn’t just sick, she was bound by Satan.
  • She was not healed by all the sermons and prayers she’d heard in synagogue all those 18 long years.
  • She didn’t need another sermon, she needed deliverance.
  • She believed Jesus could provide what she needed.

And so, when Jesus called her out, she obeyed him. Even though it might have been physically hard or socially embarrassing, even though the Jewish leaders were trying to discredit him, she came forward publicly.

She got the miracle she needed. With a touch from the Lord she was straight and tall, delivered and healed. She gave God the glory.

A lot of “bowed-over” men and women are faithful to go to church every Sunday, but they don’t really expect Jesus to show up. They pretty much get what they expect. (It doesn’t have to be that way…)

Portals are opening

PortholeSpaceWhile I was watching a DVD one morning several years ago, the Lord spoke to me. “What is a portal?” He said. I began to think about that. Portal. Hmmm. I first visualized a porthole on a ship.

On board the Logos 2 I had a cabin in the bow of the ship, quayside. No porthole, though; it had a window to the deck. Well, the window was a portal. I continued to think.

A portal is an opening. Perhaps just a crack. I once lived in an old plantation house where you could see the ground through cracks in the floor. Those cracks were portals.

A portal could be a doorway between similar environments. Like from the dining room into the kitchen. It could be a doorway between slightly dissimilar environments, like from a hot New York street into an air-conditioned office building.

Or a doorway between completely different environments, like the hatch on the space shuttle leading to outer space. It could be a doorway between the natural and supernatural…

Jacob saw such a portal. Tired from traveling, he chose a place out in the open to sleep. In the night he had a remarkable dream. He saw angels ascending and descending through an open portal. And he recognized it! “This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” God spoke to him and gave him a tremendous promise. (Genesis 28:10-17)

Peter, James and John also saw a supernatural portal. Jesus took them with him into a high mountain. Suddenly they saw Jesus standing with Moses and Elijah, brilliant in appearance and looking quite different from normal humans! The disciples were terrified. Then God spoke directly to them out of a cloud, “This is my beloved Son; hear him.” (Mark 9:1-9)

The apostle John saw a supernatural portal. The entire book of Revelation describes what he saw! I have sometimes wondered if heaven and earth don’t actually occupy the same space, just on different wavelengths. Then when God wants humans to see something supernatural, he just alters the physics of existence at that place. Well, it’s a theory.

I had gotten that far in my thinking about portals when the Lord spoke again. “I am opening many portals in the world.” Oh, God! That hit me like a jolt of electricity. I couldn’t think any more. I couldn’t even pray. Write it, He said. So I wrote it. That was July 9, 2013…

Since that day I have been on watch for indications of those portals, reading and viewing news stories from around the world. Looking for peculiarly unexplainable, unprecedented occurrences.

Observing signs and symptoms of portals through which some things are trickling, some things are drifting, some things are pouring – supernatural influences for good and for evil. I see more, and more, and more of them every week.

Cross purposes

PrayingAtMall“It’s just my cross to bear,” people say sometimes. They mean trouble, hardship, sickness or disease they can’t seem to get rid of. Bad job. Bad marriage. Bad health. They want you to think they are “bearing up under it” with a good attitude, much long-suffering.

They’re referring to a verse they heard somewhere. They have a vague idea that they are carrying their cross for Jesus’ sake, trying to be a good disciple. But of course, getting rid of that particular cross is their heart’s desire. No matter what else they do, they desperately try to get out from under it. Seek a better job. Go to marriage counseling. Make doctor appointments.

A question: When did Jesus’ cross-carrying begin? When did it end? When did the disciples’ cross-carrying begin? When did it end? What does that even mean, actually?

Some background may help. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus went about doing good and attracting disciples. (See Luke 3-4.) After a while he hand-picked twelve of those disciples, instructed them in some basics and sent them out under his auspices, his authority and power to preach, heal, cast out demons and raise the dead, the way he had been doing.

He also warned them. The disciple is not better than his master, he said. If I’m persecuted, you’ll be persecuted. So consider carefully — do you really want to do this?

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  (Matt 10:34-39 KJV)

Heart-warming way to begin an assignment, wasn’t it.

Later on, Jesus asked them who the crowds thought he was? Who they themselves thought he was? Peter firmly declared their belief that Jesus was the Christ. Wonderful! Keep it to yourselves, Jesus said.

Jesus then plainly told the twelve that he was going to Jerusalem to be arrested and killed. But, not to worry, he would be raised from the dead in three days. Peter couldn’t accept that, it wasn’t his idea at all of what the Christ would be and do. Jesus rebuked him. Peter just didn’t understand the plan.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26)

“Life” in verse 24 is the Greek word psyche, which has several meanings. One is life-force, but the other is soul; the mind, emotions and will — the decision-making ability. “Soul” in verse 25 is that same Greek word, psyche.

“And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Wow. Hate your parents? Thought you were supposed to love your parents…

Jesus illustrated his point with two examples of considering what you’re getting into, before you get into it: (1) If you’re thinking of building a tower, you’d better calculate the cost. (2) If you’re deciding whether or not to fight a war, you’d better inventory your troops.

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25-33) Compared to loving God and following Jesus, your affection for family will seem like hate.

When he declared these things, Jesus wasn’t carrying a cross yet. Up until this time the disciples thought he was going to be the next King of Israel, and that certainly didn’t involve a cross. That’s why he had to be so explicit in his explanation to the disciples, and even then they just didn’t understand it.

Well, they eventually got it when he was arrested, made to carry a cross and then executed. Of course, not until he was raised from the dead did they understand the whole plan.

Back to my original question: When did Jesus’ cross-carrying actually begin? When did it end? When did the disciples’ cross-carrying begin? When did it end?

What does that even mean, actually? Let’s take this one first.

When you’re carrying a cross, what else are you carrying? Not a job, not a family, not a lifestyle. Not your own agenda, your own goals, your own routine. You have a purpose, but it’s not your own purpose. You have a destination, but it’s not the one you’d rather have. You’ve given over your will to someone else — or you wouldn’t have picked up that cross in the first place.

Jesus came to earth on assignment. He began carrying that “cross” before he came to the earth. It’s why he went where he went, said what he said, did what he did. He didn’t quit carrying that cross just because he died. He did God’s will on earth, completing that part of his mission successfully.

He was killed, raised from the dead, and ascended to begin the next phase of his mission, sending the Holy Spirit to empower the disciples back on earth as he had been empowered, to do the work that he had been doing.

The disciples did not pick up physical crosses on their way to Jerusalem, nor on their way to Golgotha as Jesus did. But they did pick up crosses — assignments — when they began to follow Jesus. They did whatever Jesus said to do, whenever he said to do it.

If they hadn’t, he would not have taught and trained them, would not have named twelve of them as apostles, would not have remained on earth for forty days continuing to teach and train them after he rose from the dead. (Acts 1:3)

He would not have instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit to empower them also, before beginning the next phase of their own assignment.

Carrying our crosses today doesn’t mean remaining confused, doubtful, sick or troubled. It doesn’t mean having your life destroyed by the enemy.

It means carrying out your assignment — doing whatever the Holy Spirit says to do, whenever he says to do it. Preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead. Continue the mission of Jesus on earth: “For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (I John 3:8)

What I believe and why

(Reprinted from March 6, 2011.)

John 10:10. Jesus said it.

I made a decision many years ago to believe the Bible, accept it as God’s truth, and base my existence on its veracity and dependability. I accepted Jesus as savior and manager (Lord) of my life, studied what he did here on earth and how he did it. What he said, to whom, and on what occasions. Instructions he gave.

These days I am re-studying the Gospel of John. It’s a fascinating book. Recently I read a statement made by someone that Jesus never claimed to be God so why did Christians think he was? That person obviously never read John’s gospel where Jesus repeatedly claimed to be God, declaring it to followers and detractors alike.

I take Jesus at his word, and these days especially John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Who is they? Verse 9 tells us. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” Saved is from the Greek word “sozo,” meaning healed, rescued, kept safe, made whole… a very positive word.

Jesus said he was the gate for the sheep. The sheep are “they.” I’m one of his sheep so I’m included in “they.”

I know full well that human beings have a vicious enemy. He hates all humans but especially believers. After all, if he can wipe out one Christian, he can potentially wipe out many others who might have come to Christ through their testimony.

His specific goals are listed by Jesus in this verse:

(1) Steal — your belongings. Home, car, money or peace of mind. Marriage, children. Health. Reputation. Job, savings or retirement plan. He will use economic depression, natural disaster, fire, flood, earthquake, whatever he can.

(2) Kill — you, your family and friends. With whatever weapon he can use. Cancer. Heart disease. Accidents. War. Famine. Murder. Suicide.

(3) Destroy — anything he couldn’t steal or kill. Especially your faith. Listening to his doubt and fear, gossip, rumors and uncertainty, erodes your self-confidence. He’ll try to nullify your testimony. It’s hard to witness when your mind is full of fear.

The rest of verse 10 tells us that Jesus is proactive. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Not just life, but full life. God-life. Not depressed, not defeated. Overflowing! Abundant!

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus didn’t warn us about the enemy so we could worry when he attacks or blame God for the attacks, but so we could stomp the enemy in Jesus’ name. Defeat him. Destroy his works as Jesus did. (See Acts 10:38). Believe Jesus. Worship Jesus. Obey Jesus. Quote Jesus!

John 14: 12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things that these, because I am going to the father.” Well, what had Jesus been doing?

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” (John 14:11) Miracles, is what he had been doing. Healing the sick.

Some well-meaning Christians think those particular verses don’t apply today or at least don’t apply to everyone today. If that was true, salvation – from the same Greek word, sozo – isn’t available today, either. But it does, and they do.

 

Disciple — What, when, where, who, how

hands-comfort-640x461“My prayer is to be a container that just goes where Jesus is going, says what Jesus is saying, does what Jesus is doing, thinks what Jesus is thinking, touches what Jesus is touching, and does it how he is doing it. Who feels what Jesus is feeling, walks where Jesus is walking, or stays where Jesus is staying (not going, not walking unless he is).” That’s the last paragraph from my prayer diary of 14 Sept 2013. It’s still my prayer.

I learned Matthew 28:19-20 in Sunday School as a child. The teacher used these verses mainly to explain the work of ministers, especially missionaries:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The first disciples took that command seriously. Mark 16:20 records, “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”

Signs? What signs? Signs that confirmed whatever words of Jesus they had been preaching.

Strange, but I don’t recall ever hearing that taught in Sunday School years ago. We should all be a disciple of Jesus, the teacher would tell us. Do what the Bible says, you know, be a good person, keep the Ten Commandments, that sort of thing. Ask Jesus to be your savior, then he will help you to become a disciple.  For many years I put that “ask” thing off, thinking, Christians are boring. Later. I’ll do it later.

But at age 29, I finally did ask Jesus to be my savior. Wow! What a difference he made in my life. Boring it wasn’t, at all. I wondered why I’d put it off so long! (See My Testimony Part I https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/testimony-part-one)

And then one day I wondered, just what exactly did Jesus say about being a disciple? I prayed about that.

“First, look at the ‘everything I have commanded you’ part of that verse in Matthew 28,” the Lord said to me. So I looked, and said to myself, Okay, I see that. But what had Jesus commanded them?

He had told them, “As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:7-8)

Jesus had already given them the power to do that, had showed them by example how to do it, and now he was telling them to go do the same things. Later he sent 70 others out with this same assignment; see Luke 10.

Studying the gospels, I realized that Jesus seldom did the same thing, the same way twice. Sometimes he healed with a command, sometimes with a touch, sometimes with a simple statement of fact. Sometimes it was even at a distance. Always it was whatever he heard or saw the Father do, but he himself did it.

One thing I never found. Jesus never prayed and asked God the Father to heal anyone.

Studying the book of Acts, I saw that the disciples followed the pattern of Jesus – they listened to the Holy Spirit and did whatever he said, however, he said. They didn’t pray and ask God or Jesus to heal anyone, they themselves healed the sick with a spoken command, or a touch, or a simple statement of fact.

They prayed about many other things, many other needs, situations, problems. But not this. They did what they were commanded to do.

At Lydda, Peter just made a statement of fact to the paralyzed, bedridden man Aeneas: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat. Immediately Aeneas got up.” (Acts 9:34)

At Lystra, Paul told the crippled man who had never walked, “Stand up on your feet! At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.” (Acts 14:10)

Dictionary descriptions of a disciple include a learner; an adherent; a follower; an imitator.  Jesus’s descriptions include all of the above, and more. The most important one, however, is to be like the teacher. “It is enough for the disciple that he be like his master,” he said,  (Matt. 10:25) and “The disciple is not above his master, but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” (Luke 6:40)

Notice, these are present tense. Not to be like his master WAS, but IS. Right now. This moment. “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” (I John 4:17 NIV) We ARE. Not will be some day in heaven, but are now, present tense, here on the earth.

And there is a big problem with that. A human will problem. A fear problem. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of looking foolish.

The bodies of Christians are inhabited by two spirits:  (1) our own human spirit that we were born with; and (2) the Holy Spirit, who came to inhabit us when we were born again.

If our own spirit is our master, then we’ll go wherever we want to, do what we want to, when we want to. We’ll do the religious thing, the easy thing, the least risky thing, and think we’ve done our part. We’ll palm off all the responsibility on God. Then if nothing changes, well it must not have been God’s will. Right? Wrong.

If the Holy Spirit is our master, we’ll give him the lead. We’ll go where he wants to, do what he wants to, how and when he wants to. And we’ll begin to see those “greater things.”

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

There are other things Jesus said about being his disciples, of course. Continue in his word. Love one another. Take up your cross and follow him. Did you notice? All of those are also present tense also. We don’t seem to have any qualms about those.

P.S. I like this quote by Randy Clark: “To beg God to heal is to assume you have more mercy than He does.”

Real revival takes guts

This week I have been re-watching some Bay of the Holy Spirit revival videos. In this one from February 2011, Nathan Morris is at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, preaching about revival and the fire of the Holy Spirit, praying for students and others.

As I watch, I realize that many American Christians are spiritual cowards (including some in my own church). They claim they want revival. But what they really want is a nice, tidy, respectable, pretty meeting. They don’t really want revival God’s way.

When God demonstrates his power, your preconceived ideas about revival will need revising. Watch this video and then answer the question — Want Revival? Bay of the Holy Spirit revival at Christ for the Nations, Dallas, TX

The Healer is in the room. The Healer is in you!

I was teaching an Old Testament survey class one evening, substituting for my brother who was the regular teacher. (1970’s)

The class was made up of adults who came to class after getting off work. I didn’t know any of them personally.

I don’t remember what book we were studying but in the middle of the class, a lady raised her hand.

I’m deaf in my left ear, she said, would you pray for it to be healed?

Oh, Lord! I said in my mind — suppose I pray for her and nothing happens!?

If you don’t pray for her nothing will happen, he said.

I laid my hands on her ear, commanded it to be healed, and it was.

She rejoiced, the whole class praised God with her and eventually we went on with the lesson.

I looked normal on the outside, I suppose, but inside my spirit was jumping up and down, going Yippee, yippee, thank you Father!

That woman was never the same. She was changed.

So was I.

I’d had an encounter with Jesus the Healer, who loves people.

We are conduits for the power of the Holy Spirit. Like water hoses. The hose doesn’t create the water!

If you don’t fasten the hose to the faucet, nothing will happen. And if you don’t turn on the nozzle, nothing will happen!

Read the last chapter of Mark. The last chapter of Matthew. Obey him.