What’s following your belief?

Israel mountainIsrael in Spring

Believing is like waiting. Abram (later Abraham) was 75 when God told him to leave his family and become a nomad in a land he did not know. God promised him descendants numbering beyond the stars in the heavens.

And so Abram believed God and started walking.

And Abram waited in expectation of a son.

Twenty-five years later, Isaac was born. And Abraham believed God and waited for more.

He [God] said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Genesis 22:2

And so Abraham believed God and started walking. Belief … not understanding. Belief working.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. James 2:19-23

God gave me a promise, an impossibility. He impressed upon me that He would heal me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no cure.

I believed God, even though I’d had hands laid upon me, and I had been anointed with oil. I was still in pain.

Yet, my husband, Keith, and I started walking and praying through the Scriptures.

We believed God. We waited upon God.

Two years later, November 21, 2010, God healed me.

We believed God’s healing, and the walk became an adventure of unlimited possibilities of signs pointing to God.

We learned and are continuing to learn, that we had limited God’s work in us.

When we simply believed God and started walking, God worked.

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mark 16:16-20

What is following you as a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ?

My prayer for you:

Father in Heaven, You are the God of all possibility and all that is good. Thank You for Your patience with Your believers. Bless us with Your wisdom and the knowledge of You. We want to believe in You, but we have limited our understanding of You. Help our unbelief, and teach us how we should walk in faith. Work in us and confirm Your Word by what follows us. We thank You for all that You are and do. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray.

Jesus singled out one man. “Do you want to be healed?”

churning water

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. John 5:2-8

Thirty-eight years of sickness. We’re not told what the man’s affliction is. He sees the waters stir, someone steps into the pool and steps out seeing, leaping for joy, healed.

There he lies waiting for the waters to churn. There he lies waiting for someone else to step into the waters and be healed.

Jesus singles out this man.

“Do you want to be healed?”

What kind of question is that? He’s there at the House of Mercy, sometimes translated House of Grace. He waits. He hopes.

Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.

What kind of answer is that? There’s only one miracle for one stir of the waters. In himself, he has no hope. He sees no other way to be healed, so he gives an excuse instead of “YES!”

I’ve been there, and I’ve seen others there. I thought that I had to do something to be worthy enough to be healed. I had to manufacture enough faith to be healed of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

I really wanted to be healed. I tried miracle diets, miracle supplements, risky medications, detoxifications, and all sorts of miracle cures that people sell desperate people.

I was anointed with oil, prayed for, claimed healing, and pleaded with God.

I can’t step into the healing, and I have no one who can carry me to the healing. It matters no more. I just want more of you.

That’s when Jesus singled me out of the blind, broken, sick, and deaf waiting to be healed, touched my body, and told me to walk in health.

Are you waiting for a miracle, yet, hopeless?

My prayer for you:

Father, Thank You that you single out Your children and meet them as they wait for You. In the waiting is blessing. You are our hope. Give us more of You. Abide in us and enable us to abide in You. Renew our strength, renew our spirits, and renew our bodies. What a mighty God! What a gracious God! We are so blessed that You single us out and ask if we want to be healed! Thank you.

5 strategies to possessing God’s promise for you

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Entering the Colosseum in Rome, visitors are struck by the magnitude of the stone walls–as grasshoppers to this amphitheater of memories past–gladiators fighting to the death,  Christians martyred, sailors surviving mock sea battles, hunters pursuing wild animals, and executioners slaying men and women. Walls 157 feet high with a base of 6 acres and an original perimeter of 1,788 feet, this gargantuan death memorial collapsed on its outer south side in the great earthquake of 1349, tumbling travertine stones to the base.
 

Several thousand years earlier, Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River on dry land to camp at Gilgal. Looming in the canp’s view were the mighty walls of Jericho, with a stone wall around it of 12-15 feet high, an embankment of about 3 acres with a mud-brick wall at its highest point 46 feet higher than the baseline.  Continue reading 5 strategies to possessing God’s promise for you

The leper’s 7-step process to total healing

Cobblestones

“Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19

As Jesus traveled to Jerusalem along the border of Samaria and Galilee, 10 lepers stood at a distance from him and raised their voices:

“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:13

Leprosy was a contagious disease – linked with sin in Biblical times. Lepers lived outside the city and were considered unclean.

“Unclean, unclean” was their cry when they came near people.

There was no cure. There was no hope – except in this man Jesus who went about healing the blind, raising the dead, and feeding the thousands.

“Go and show yourselves to the priests.” Luke 17:14

Ten lepers asked Jesus for mercy, and Jesus cleansed all of them. This ceremonially cleansing enabled them to live a normal life and to enter the temple. They were physically cured.

The Samaritan, however, returned in gratitude and threw himself at the feet of Jesus loudly praising God.

“Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19

Jesus proclaimed that the Samaritan’s faith made him sozo, or whole, completely restored to health and saved from destruction. The Samaritan received all that Jesus offered when he fell at Jesus’ feet in thanksgiving.

The Samaritan’s healing was a seven-step process.

  1. He cried out for healing.
  2. He obeyed the command of Jesus to go show himself to the priest.
  3. He recognized his cure.
  4. He returned to Jesus.
  5. He fell at the feet of Jesus.
  6. He praised God.
  7. His faith made him whole.

The healing that Jesus offers is more than a physical healing. He offers a healing that is complete, a healing that will make you whole, a healing that will restore your mind, body, soul, and spirit to what God has planned for you and all the promises, treasures, and fullness He has for you, sozo.

My prayer for you:

Gracious Father, You, alone, are good. You, alone, are our Healer. Restore our minds, bodies, souls, and spirits to all that You have planned for us. Bestow all the fullness of your promises, treasures, and plans that You have prepared for us from the beginning of the world. We praise You for Your amazing love, that You would have mercy on us and grant us fellowship with You. Thank You, Father.

5 things I’ve learned since the Lord healed me 2 years ago

Keith and Karen at the Taj Mahal. Impossible with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

In the fall of 2010, I was at the end of my hope. I was on reduced work; my doctor was trying to get me to agree to go on disability, and he had recommended that I needed to think about resigning from my job. I knew that God had work for me to do in my current job, and I clung to that knowledge.

Yet, I just got worse.

On November 21, 2010, God miraculously healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. That Sunday night, I took no pain or sleep medication. I slept through the night until 7:00 a.m. Even with medication, I had not had such a restful sleep in, perhaps, a decade.

Coincidentally, the next afternoon, I had an appointment with my doctor. My doctor, a dear Christian, listened, asked many questions, and then said, “This could be good, Karen. What do you want to do?”

I went back to work and am no longer on fibromyalgia medication.

Five things that I learned since the Lord’s healing:

  1. God requires a walk of true faith. Friends asked me if I was afraid to say that I was healed. What if this was the placebo effect, and two weeks later, I still had fibromyalgia. Jesus asked many people He healed to do the impossible, like the man with the withered hand–stretch out his hand.
  2. God creates opportunities to point people to Jesus. Because of my experiences, I am now able reach out to others in similar conditions and give them hope. This has occured in one-on-one conversations, opportunities to speak, and a Bible study on the promises of God, healing, and walking through chronic illness.
  3. God equips us for His plans. Without the healing, I would not have been able to accomplish what I am doing now, including accompanying my husband on study abroad courses. Each one has provided an opportunity to point students to Jesus.
  4. God has a sense of humor. I had to learn how to be well, and our first physical demonstration that I was well was on New Year’s Day. I ran on the San Diego beach flying a kite.
  5. God blesses His children beyond what we can think or imagine. No limitations. I had limited God. I did not realize the power of the promises in the Bible.

My prayer for you

Our Great Healer, You know the suffering that Your children are enduring. Thank You that You are carrying them through their valley and that You are in control of their lives. Draw Your children to a much deeper intimacy and knowledge of You as You work Your perfect will in their lives. Bring healing to their bodies and their souls. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His Holy Name!

What is the Lord teaching you as you walk with Him?

From forgivness to healing … What are you choosing?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” Mark 2:9-11

Jesus meets us where we are when we come to Him. He told the paralytic that His sins were forgiven. That’s what the paralytic needed to address first.

Jesus also knew what the teachers of the Law were thinking … only God has authority to forgive sins. They were right.

Jesus met their thinking with a question:

Which is easier, to forgive or to heal?

A former guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister had been held approached her after she spoke at a Munich church:

I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’“ …

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ …

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

Corrie Ten Boom chose to lift her hand towards the man. She also chose to pray, asking God to give her the emotion of forgiveness that she could not stir up within her. God met Corrie Ten Boom where she was when she took action to forgive as the Word of God commands. At that moment, I believe that Corrie Ten Boom was healed of her past hurts, as God’s intense love coursed through her veins.

Which was easier for Corrie Ten Boom to do, speak about forgiveness in a Munich church or to lift her hand to her former guard?

Jesus came to teach, to heal, to disciple His followers and ultimately to die on the cross, taking on the wrath of God as payment for the world’s sins–my sins, your sins–so that we could obtain forgiveness.

Jesus chose to allow sinful men to beat Him, to scourge Him, to nail Him to the cross. As Jesus hung on that cross, He took on the sins of those who lived before Him, the sins of those who lived in His time, and the sins of those who would live in the future. Jesus chose to pay the consequences of those sins by taking on the wrath of His Father. He paid the price for the world’s sins, for my sins, for your sins.

Which was easier for Jesus to do … heal the paralytic or hang on the cross and become sin for the paralytic?

His question was an either/or question to the crowd in a Capernaum house that day. Jesus chose to heal the paralytic to demonstrate His power over the world’s natural laws, and He chose to forgive the paralytic’s sins to demonstrate the power of the Son of Man, the One who paid the price for sin, the One who brought forgiveness to man.

My prayer for you:

Merciful Father, may we understand the cost of our sins and the depth of Your love. We do not understand that kind of sacrifice, a sacrifice that necessitated Jesus becoming our sins, a sacrifice of You pouring out Your wrath upon Your own dear Son. All because You desire to be with Your children for eternity. What an awesome God You are! We fall down at Your feet and glorify Your name!

What choices are you making to forgive others?

What healing are you experiencing from that forgiveness?