Sunday, February 28, 2010

Healing in the New Testament

As you read this you will need to have your Bible handy. Don't take my word for this, search it out yourself.

I was introduced to healing as a reality in 1968. My dad was in a terrible car wreck back in Illinois. Mom called me and said he was near death so I hurried home from Cincinnati with Karen and our daughter, Julia.

Upon arrival, it was apparent that Dad was in a very bad way. When I asked the Doctor how he was, I received a coded message that he was going to die. Dr Alexander said, "Get hold of your brother in Korea and have him come home immediately."

The next day my elder brother Maury arrived from Maryland and we began to sit next to Dad's bed to keep him from pulling the tubes out of his body. As were sat and watched I also prayed fervently that God would touch Dad and spare his life. About 2:00 PM one the first day of Maury's visit I felt a release of the Holy Spirit in my body and I could see a definite response in Dad. His breathing eased and he relaxed. No longer did he try to pull the tubes out or thrash around on the bed. I knew that he was going to be OK.

Since 1968 I have pursued healing of the whole person; body, soul and spirit. I have seen God's love, truth and power bring many changes in the lives of people through ordinary believers. Below are some of the Bible passages that speak of the healing ministry of Jesus.

Matthew's summary (Matt 4:23-25, see also Mark 1:39)

This with Matt 9:35-38 forms a parenthesis around the sermon on the mount and a group of healing miracles in chapters 8 and 9. Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in Synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Because his fame spread through Syria (bordering Galilee to N and W) people brought all who were ill with various diseases and he healed them. Specific things are mentioned: those suffering severe pain, demon-possessed, those having seizures and the paralyzed.

Matt 9:35 essentially repeats Matt 4:23 but continues with Jesus' compassion for the crowds because the were harassed and helpless. He commands his disciples to pray for more workers because the harvest is plentiful - a prayer to which they themselves are the answer as the sending out of the 12 with Jesus' authority follows immediately afterward (Matt 10:1 f)

If we were to take every verse associated with healing out of the Bible it would shrink by almost half. Jesus came into the world to save it and heal it. I cannot imagine any Christian ministry that fails to include healing prayers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is It Still A Healing Community

I am still getting a lot of calls from people who want me to pray for them. In fact, an old friend called tonight telling me that he is getting similar calls. People we knew 30 years ago are wanting us to minister to them because they do not have a church that knows how to pray for healing. That is a shocking situation.

I recently spoke with a woman from Europe whose Missionary husband told her to stop praying so much. He restricted her to 15 minutes each day of prayer and he told her she was praying for other people too much. It seems that many young mothers were calling her asking for someone to listen to them and pray for them. "It is unseemly," he said, "for these people to air their dirty laundry in front of others and ask them to pray."

Can you imagine St. Paul telling his small band of believers not to pray so much. In fact, the Bible says to "Pray without ceasing". If there is anything that is taking up too much time it is not prayer. Television, radio, sports, coffee shops and gossip take up more of our time than prayer.

When we get to the place that the Ministers do not know how to pray for people we have passed crisis and entered into chaos and agony. How many churches do you know that have prayer meetings and healing meetings? Not many.

We are doing a research study on ways the church can help families with a disabled child. One of our questions was, "Has the church taught you to pray for your child?" Few answered "YES!" In fact, not many churches pray for the child or the family.

Can you imagine training doctors who did not know how to take blood pressure? Would want a Doctor that did not know how to use a stethoscope?

Would you take your car to a mechanic that could not drive?

Would you hire a carpenter that was unable to use a hammer or screw driver?

Basic tools of the trade must be mastered by every profession yet so few Clergy know how to pray for healing and how to teach their members how to pray.

No wonder so many people are chronically sick, weak and debilitated. What happened to the simple truths that Jesus practiced and taught about healing prayers?

The story is told about a Pastor that was awakened from a deep sleep one night in New York City church. When he opened the locked door, a homeless, sickly old man confronted him by asking: "Well, are you doing it or not? The Pastor replied, "Are we doing what, sir?"

The sickly man said, "Are you doing hat you advertise on the cornerstone of the church?" The Pastor said, "What does it say?" and he went around to read the cornerstone which had on it: "Jesus Christ told His followers to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

"No," said the Pastor. "We don't do those things today. We have doctors, medicines and Psychiatrists so it isn't needed."

"well then," replied the man, "take that off the cornerstone or I will sue you for false advertising."

What do your advertise? Do you still deliver it?

See Sweeten Life Systems For more information about how to disciple.

A Healing Commmunity

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a small village in the East, a man came and lived among the people. He was very kind, and gentle, especially to the children.

The people grew to love this man, and before long, he began to teach them how to live more fruitful and exciting lives. He some times worked in his little shop at the edge of town, but he sometimes came to the village-square and talked to the people who would gather there.

After some months, the townspeople started to call him, teacher, and came to him for personal, private advice and counsel as well as for his little lectures.

One day, he surprised the group by announcing that he had discovered some secret formulas for bringing health and joy to the sick. Since medical care was not available to most of the villagers, and its quality poor, they reacted with surprise and expectation. In Accordance to the times and his style, he handpicked several people from among the villagers to work with him to learn the principles of healing and health.

“I have only a very few years to stay in this place before I must return home. So, it is important that you learn As much as possible about these principles so you can then choose a group like this to pass them to in the same manner as I am giving them to you. I am giving you the power and knowledge to change the world, so go teach students everything I have taught you.”

In the early years after the teacher left the town, his students did just as they were told. Many people came to them and asked for the formula for healing and they passed it on with happiness and joy. Before long, the authorities, which were worried that the group was going to form a political party, passed laws prohibiting them from giving the formula away. As a result, they formed into small groups and scattered around the whole world telling people in other countries about their teacher’s great discovery and how they too could learn the his secrets. Much to their surprise and shock, many leaders and physicians were angry with them for telling their good news. In some places, those who took the secrets to the people were persecuted and even killed.

Despite the harassment and persecution, the news spread far and wide as more and more people were formed into small groups who were taught how to pass it on to others. Before long, the whole of the area was abuzz with talk about the teacher and his formula for life.

It is a well-known fact that stories that start off so well must have a part where something awful happens. In this story, it is no different, because a few of the people who were supposed to spread the good news became involved in politics. It seemed like a good idea at first because the king promised them safety and security if they would only give him the right to use the teacher’s words as his own political slogans. He even went into war with the peace logo of the teacher in his weapons, and told everyone that, unless they followed him, they would be enslaved or killed. He also suggested that the teachers stop giving the formula away. “Since it is so valuable,” he said, “ we should make sure that only those who are in our political party should get it. Here is what we shall do. Our first task is to place the formula in a special safe so only our own leaders can get to it. Next, we will set up a school for teaching the formula that will only be open to our select group of students. I know that the teacher said that anyone could take the formula and pass it on to others, but he was a bit naive in how the world of politics really works. In fact, we should teach the formula in a secret language so only the most select people can learn it. Then, we will make special clothes for the Code Keepers to wear and the regular people will realize that they are too ignorant to read it for themselves or apply it to their own lives.”

Lastly, we shall take the formula and allow people to come and look at it only once per week. We do not want it to become too popular or profane. Let us make its appearance into a very special, holy act.”

The result was just as you might predict. The formula for life, health and peace was locked in a vault in a large, fancy building. Each week, a few beautifully dressed officials would take the formula from the vault and read a small part of it to the assembled crowd. They were always careful not to read too much lest the rabble learn the formula and destroy the authority of the politicians in charge.

On a few occasions, some member of the rabble stole copies of the book and wrote it in the language of the people. In most cases, however, they were caught and killed in a very painful manner to warn others not to try the same thing.