If We Have Enough Faith Will God Always Heal Us?

jesus-heals-at-bethesda

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 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 thirty-eight 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?” (John 5:1-6, ESV2011)

Have you ever noticed that there was a multitude of blind, lame and paralyzed, but only one was healed that day by Jesus? Interesting.

Many of us live in a society that places little value on suffering. If you watch the evening news you see a continuous stream of pill advertisements that promise relief from whatever ails us. The drug industry seems to have a pill for everything and they have the ears of the medical professionals who prescribe their wares. These modern-day hucksters even offer pills to counteract the side effects of their other medicines, but of course the fixes have their own side effects and the beat goes on.

If we live out our lives as true followers of Christ, we soon find out that God uses suffering in our lives to help bring us to His goal for each of us–to be conformed to the image of His Son and He learned obedience to His Father by the things which He suffered! But many of us at one time or another have heard the anti-cross gospel if we hung around churches long enough. You know the line, “God love you and He does not want you to suffer.” “We are the King’s kids and we should live prosperous lives.” Then there is the old faithful twist of logic that blames those who suffer for their own problems, “Jesus did all the suffering for us on the cross and we don’t have to anymore. By His stripes we are healed. If you are sick and suffering it is because of your lack of faith!” Has it ever occurred to these people that the healing that God is interested in comes through putting that old Adam in us to death and raising His Son up in us as the “Last Adam”? Those things that are seen are temporary, but those things that are not seen are eternal and God’s heart is on the things which place HIS eternity in us.

A while back I shared that I have had two compression fractured vertebrae that have given me much pain. After much prayer I had a non-invasive procedure done that has helped alleviate some of the pain, but as it is with most back surgeries, it was not a perfect fix. The aching and spasms continue, but to a lesser degree than before. “Getting old is not for sissies.” If I hadn’t been outside Pentecostal circles for so many years, I would have expected a couple of comments I got, chastising me for not being healed because of my “lack of faith.”

What value does God place on  negative experiences in our lives? Do we grow in faith, as some preach, by living lives of comfort and in opulence with God as our “Sugar Daddy” in the sky? Paul did not seem to think so.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. (Rom 5:1-5, KJ2000)

Wow! What a chain of events God wants us to go through that we might experience His glory! The world has an expression that is close to the truth, “No pain, no gain. No guts, no glory.” This chain of God’s actions in our lives all starts with suffering that is a result of having faith! How backwards is this line of drivel that is heaped on those who suffer that it is because of their lack of faith! Regarding this passage from Romans, T. Austin-Sparks wrote:

So experience is the very sum of what is practical. It is experiential, experimental, it is the practical side of knowledge. That is almost too obvious to need saying. Tribulation is very practical, very real, you cannot get away from that. The demand for patience in tribulation is very practical; that is no theory. And if the object of the tribulation in its working of patience is steadfastness, is experience, it is exceedingly good. We may lack many other things, we may not have great knowledge or learning, great capabilities or cleverness, by which the world sets such store. Should it come to our being tested by this world’s standards of ability, and we were to answer and say, ‘I have only experience’, it would not go down at all. They would say, ‘What degrees have you, what examinations have you passed?’ …But it is not like that with God… We may not have many things, we may not be very much, we may be despised when it comes to what we have accomplished in the academic way, what titles we carry, what degrees we have – we may not be much in that world, but remember that God puts a very great deal more importance upon experience than upon all the rest, and that is a thing we can all have. From the least to the greatest, we can all have experience, and because in the sight of the Lord it is so important, He sees fit to let us know a good deal of tribulation. “Tribulation worketh… experience”.

Have you got the full meaning of that word that is translated into our English word ‘tribulation’? Tribulation is a picture word in the Greek – the picture of a farm instrument that we call the harrow; and you know what we mean when we say we have had a harrowing experience. Oh, the tearing and the cutting and the lacerating from the harrow! That is the word here, literally, actually; the harrow going over our backs, and it works experience. Experience is of such value. (1)

A harrow is a farm implement that is dragged behind a tractor to break up the clods left behind by plowing, making them into pliable soft soil again, ready for the planting. I about choked when I read these last two sentences by Sparks. Little did I know that all this back pain I have suffered has been part of the process of Him answering that prayer. He has literally been harrowing my back! I thank our Father for Him going ever deeper into my heart to root out all that is not of His Son.

The work He is doing in us through experiencing suffering has no value in this world nor in the carnal churches of man, but to those who have spiritual eyes to see, spiritual ears to hear, and His Spirit in their hearts to feel, His saints who have been through great suffering in this life are a very precious find. These are the ones that have reached the goal in the above verses from Romans, “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.”

Finally, I want to share an observation that Sparks made with his final paragraph in this article that I have found to be very true and a sign of the stronghold the enemy has on our culture, even in the churches where youthful ministries are considered everything and the old people are to be pushed to the rear.

“What more can one say other than that it [experience] must be of eternal value? The value must be eternal, otherwise life is an inexplicable mystery and an enigma. The time may come when you young people, having passed through deep experiences and having bought your experience at great price, and thus having in your possession something of very great value, find that younger people do not want your experience, nor think anything at all of it, and never consult you. When what you have through deep experience has very little outlet in this world, a very limited scope for expression, what an enigma! All this you have gone through, all you have bought at so great a price, what is the value of it? It must be eternal. God must be working to get something with a longer range than this poor life. With tribulations increasing perhaps as you get older, what is it all for? Well, He is working with a longer view, and there must be something that counts with Him beyond time, and so He allows the tribulation to produce patience, and patience experience; “Whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away”; but experience shall abide and serve in the eternal ages.” (1)

(1) http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/001978.html

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45 comments on “If We Have Enough Faith Will God Always Heal Us?

  1. Michael, He has me there too. I read that Sparks article recently as well, and, wow! – the further along I walk and am brought on this journey with and in and towards Him, every last detail is altogether different from what I believed was the Christian life, as well as what I’ve been privy to of other Christians.

    I have difficulty in my breathing, like pain in the back, it affects every aspect of life, an undeniable block to how we – mark, WE, want to live. I have experienced great anger with my lot in life, and yesterday morning in reading another article from Sparks, I was brought to my knees with sorrow for my having misunderstood Him so in all these areas of “suffering” He has so sovereignly placed me…in that particular article I was reading of Sparks, he mentioned our being in a difficult or even ugly situation, and that we are there by Him even if it means daily self – crucifixion. Deep sigh…He has me there.

    Anyway, thank you for this post. It does help to know others are out there.

    In Him,
    B.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Becky, Yes WE!!! I had great plans to build a shop building on our ten acres this fall and my back went out. I kicked against it and kept on trudging with my strong self-will until I could hardly move without intense pain.
      This whole thing reminds me of Jesus’ words to Saul of Tarsis, “Isn’t hard to kick against the goads?” To this he replied, “Who are you, Lord?” Like you said, we finally have to be brought to the place where we see that HE is Lord and not at all the way we thought He was and give up our wills to Him. For some of us this takes a long time and a lot of suffering.

      Bless you my sister with more of Him in you!
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Carina says:

    Dear Michael,
    As I was reading your post and my soul was giving Amens and HalleluYahs, the Holy Spirit brought attention to a passage that is little understood, especially among “prosperity” circles.

    Matthew 7:7-11
    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

    We come to God for bread, and He promises He won’t give us a stone instead. He may give us what to our natural eye LOOKS LIKE a stone… but it’s truly bread! Not mere natural bread, but eternal bread!
    Sometimes the answer we get is not exactly the one we expected. Like the Samaritan woman who wanted natural water so she wouldn’t have to come to the well every day, and Jesus was offering eternal water of life.
    God may give us affliction instead of comfort even after praying consistent and mighty prayers… but He will never give us a stone. That is, what He allows in our lives is ultimately always good. Always. He will not give us a snake to poison us with its sting… though death’s sting seems to hurt us so much sometimes… the end result is always resurrection!

    Daniel’s friends were not saved from the fire… they were saved in the midst of the fire. And their answer to the king when threatened speaks of such a great faith. God has the power to save us, but even if He decides not to, we won’t bow down to your statue! And many Christians experienced literal fire destroying their physical lives at the hands of the Inquisition (religious people always persecuting!) and yet they did not deny Jesus.

    If you analyze Hebrews 11, the last verses talk about people who suffered greatly BECAUSE they had great faith. Verses we want to skip when we read the chapter, but they’re there for a reason!
    Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

    I wonder what Bible the prosperity people have been reading? I spent about two years in a seeker-sensitive church, and such passages were never ever preached! I have to say in this sense, the teaching I received in the Roman Catholic church previously was more Biblical because at least the priests had to follow an order of readings and sometimes they included tough passages!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Carina, for your comment. As for whatever troubles us, Amy Carmichael wrote:

      “Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
      Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
      What matters beating wind and tossing billow
      If only we are in the boat with Thee?

      Hold us quiet through the age-long minute
      While Thou art silent and the wind is shrill :
      Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, are in it;
      Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?”

      How many blessings of His care we must rob ourselves of as we strive to do all we can to keep from experiencing the fellowship of His sufferings?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        And I believe many trials, especially of the kind that we have experienced many times before (repeated tests when we have failed previously or only had partial success in trust?), come precisely so that we will learn how to be quiet during that age-long minute when God seems to be doing nothing to calm the storm!
        If only we would learn to trust and obey, to despair of our OWN resources and fully rely on Him, perhaps He wouldn’t NEED to allow so much affliction?

        BTW, I began to read Antichrist in Man and, boy, is that a confirmation of what the Holy Spirit has been teaching of the evil lurking within. I’ve long understood, from painful personal experience, that the tendency of my old self to backslide is such that I don’t need to look for apostasy outside. And old self needs to be killed moment by moment or else it keeps rearing its ugly whorish head.
        Tying this to your topic, I have found affliction is one of the many ways Daddy has used to bring this rebellious sheep back to the fold.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Well said, Carina. I am glad you are finding this book by Joseph Salmon a confirmation. We have enough to work on in our own shortcomings not to worry about the faults of others, it would seem.
        Bless you, dear sister.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Feeeew!! Reading this Pentecostal stuff brought back some not so nice memories… My brother, I am so glad that this false-faith-foolishness is over for us! 🙂

    This has been a very timely post for me. Today I have been walking with a limp because I twisted my right knee (a tendon) in the morning as I got up too quickly when the door bell rang. Of course, I asked God to heal me if He liked, but somehow I felt I should rather seek His presence than healing. And so I did my big shopping today slower than usual and I sensed that His peace remained. In a certain sense I even began to feel some joy although my knee and later also my neck and lower back have been aching…

    Somehow I believe that God wants to bring us to the place where we can rejoice in our sufferings when we are more and more transformed into the image of Christ. Btw, Michael, it was interesting for me to see that you also wrote about faith. I finished my blog post today about six hours ago, yet I will wait on the Lord as to if and when to publish it.

    PS
    Michael, I did notice that only this man was healed that day at the pool of Bethesda and I thought it had to do with the fact that he was sicker than those others and most probably solitary at that, since he answered Jesus, “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.”(Jn 5:7 ESV)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne,
      I am so sorry to hear that your knee went out again along with the pains in your neck and lower back. BUT it is a joy to read about your thankful heart. I think that what our Daddy seeks in us is that we would love Him back with the same unconditional love that He gives us no matter what happens in our lives. It is then that He knows that we are becoming mature sons and daughters in Christ.

      Yes, lame man said, “I have no man…” maybe he was chosen because of this very fact. He had come to the place where he quit looking to men and was looking to Jesus alone. I think that there is a great lesson in this for all of us.
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • David Murry says:

      I also am sorry to hear you are in pain, Susanne, but if I apprehend the mind of Christ, I suppose I should repent of that thinking and instead rejoice with you that in His immense LOVE He is calling you forth to know His love and presence in an even stronger way through this all.

      God bless you, Sister and so glad to see you on the blog. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for compassion, David. Right now I am doing a bit better already. Thank God!

        Yes, coming back to the blog(s) and to the internet after having announced my ‘Good Bye’ even publicly has been pretty surprising for me as well. God’s guidance, always like the wind, indeed! 🙂

        May God bless you, too, my brother!

        Love in Christ,
        Susanne

        Liked by 2 people

      • David Murry says:

        I am glad to see He still is using you around these parts. 🙂 I’ll be praying for complete relief of pain as well.

        Liked by 2 people

      • 🙂
        Thanks for your prayers, David!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carina says:

        David,
        Thanks for everything you’ve shared. You have blessed me, too, with you kind words for our dear sister Susanne, and your other comments where you share good pieces of wisdom.

        Susanne and Michael, I’m always really glad to read you both. I agree with Anna that your posts and comments show great insight and deep truths that are fundamental for a solid biblical foundation. I pray that the Lord will heal you both and make you whole in spirit, soul and body.

        I’m afraid, though, that the Lord is calling me to a period of silence (or near silence). I plan (and God may thwart my plans if He wills) to continue to read what you and other commenters share, because it’s good “meat”, but if I don’t comment, know that it’s because God is dealing with me in a deeper way and I don’t want to be a stumbling block for others as I’m learning to get rid of whatever is interfering with that fellowship with the Father.

        I appreciate your prayers, since this has been a very challenging and heart-wrenching time in my life. God has made some progress with this former child of disobedience, but there is still too much of the old clinging to “me” like the leech in Proverbs 30:15. I have to concentrate on this war. Thanks again for everything. If I seem to get silent for too long, you may send me a Hi by email.

        Love you all!

        Liked by 3 people

      • You have my prayers, dear Carina. Thank YOU for your prayers for us! If you are too long too silent, I will send you an email just as the Spirit leads. And if you can’t take God’s dealings with you any longer (sometimes it can be pretty hard), you could write me as well.

        Un abrazo gigante para ti, mi dulce hermana! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂

        Susanne XOXO

        Liked by 1 person

      • David Murry says:

        Carina, I hear your heart and the cry of your heart is also heard by our Dad.

        I hope this may encourage you some:

        As you mediate on how much He loves you, you may find the mind (soul) actually wanting to reject that love for any number of reasons. begin to confess that rebellion and receive His love over you. The revelations of His goodness and love are what compel us to seek more of His love and goodness. From there, we begin to yield to Him more and more.

        Forms of “self-hatred” (in its deep and elusive forms-many of them under the guise of spiritual maturity) are what rob us of being transformed into His image by the power of the HS regenerating us… and instead we attempt to perform this from the power of the soul.

        This is a great deception in this hour. It is the power of the resurrection life inside us that enables us.

        We will always be compromised in our ability to be transformed into the full stature of Jesus Christ to the degree we do not see ourselves as He sees us by the accomplished work on the cross.

        We love Him because He first loves us. And the love of Christ compels us… to the degree we perceive that love.

        Anyway… I hope a small piece of this ministered to you, and again, I’ll be praying for you during this time. Such is the family of God.

        Humbly,
        David

        Like

      • Carina says:

        Susanne,
        You’re such a sweet heart. ❤ And you even typed your hug in my language. I wish I could take a plane and give you a big bear hug. One day we’ll get to meet in person, either here or in the New Jerusalem. 🙂

        David,
        What you’ve said came straight from the Holy Spirit and is such a good diagnosis of the place I’m at right now. Self-hatred… Do I know that feeling. And it’s true. Though in a sense we are called to deny our souls and hate our OLD selves, that is not a rejection of our REAL selves, which find their identity in Jesus. I have prayed the “Wretched me! Who will deliver me of this body of sin!” so many times… and need to be reminded that after Romans 6 and 7 comes Romans 8.
        I’ve been very well-acquainted with the spirit of rejection, beginning with my dad who had an explosive temper and such a hurtful tongue, then being bullied and called all sorts of names at all the schools I went to, so for me, to believe that God loves me and actually accepts me is more difficult than believing I can move mountains with my mustard seed of faith.
        In fact, the reason I sense I need to refrain from commenting for a while is God has been telling me to stop seeking affirmation and acceptance from people and go get that from Him first. I need to focus on being a God-pleaser rather than a man-pleaser, because seeking man’s approval is such a dangerous snare. I have been feeling very lonely (that’s why I seek to connect), but deep down I know this is a thirst no person on earth can quench. So back to my first love.

        Liked by 3 people

      • David Murry says:

        He is so faithful, isn’t He, Carina?

        Enjoy the sweet time with Him in a new, deeper, more wonderful way.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Charles Erway says:

    Amy Carmichael knew much of the Lord’s hand in her life as she had been bedridden from 1931 until her translation in 1951. Many writings and encouragements flowed from her pen during those years. “In acceceptance lieth peace,” was not just an idle phrase with her but a truth lived out most of her earthly life and more so in her last 20 years.
    If I understand Scripture correctly, He does all things for His glory; He is the potter, we are the clay, He the Shepherd, we the sheep (for the slaughter?).
    What was Paul’s commissioning? “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name,” Acts 9:15-16 ESV.
    ICor. 6:19-20 tells me that by the Spirit that God has given me to dwell in me that I am bought with a price and I am not my own, and therefore I am to glorify glorify God in my body.
    Deut. 29:29 tells me that there are secret things and there are revealed things and therefore I do not or will not always have an answer. But Jesus can say to the storm (in the soul), “Peace, be still.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Charles, thanks for your comment. I wrote a short reply to you earlier that did not do your comment justice because I was on my cell phone and not on my laptop where I can type much easier. Thanks for sharing your quote from Amy Carmichael and her story. Susanne and I were discussing your comment on a chat and we both were not that familiar with Amy so we looked up some quotes from her on the net. It was very enlightening. This woman knew the way of the cross, for sure! Yes, brother, God does all things for HIS glory, but He seeks to incorporate us into the glory of His Son and that comes by the fellowship of His sufferings and being conformed unto His death. I am still seeking more revelation in my heart on these things so that I might pray for them as Paul did and mean it. Suffering is still not my heart’s desire. “Be still, oh my soul.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. David Murry says:

    I wrote this on Susanne’s blog but meant to write it here:

    Thanks for sharing, Michael.

    I think, in the end, all we need to seek is the revelation of His love. All things become so, so simple as we grasp to deeper and deeper depths… His love so immense He gave all for us.

    Always honored to read what is on your heart and spirit.

    David

    Liked by 2 people

  6. David Murry says:

    Forgive me if there are duplicate posts here… (My mobile devices are tricky for me and can’t always see if when I post something if it actually goes though)

    So well said “Love one another…” that sums it up. I have read and listened to you and Susanne’s blog’s here for a while now. I can always hear the willingness to seek His heart in all things. I am at times quick to pray, and am still learning how to go before Him to get His mind in ALL things.

    This blesses me always, and thank you.

    Susanne- your heart to seek Dad’s mind in all things is a huge encouragement to me… especially when I see so many others in pain. I am sorry you are in pain, though (again if I repeated this sorry… my phone is a bear to navigate) Love in Christ-

    Blessing to you both, 🙂

    David

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, David. Yes, Susanne’s example is a shining light of how important it is to “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thess 5:16-18, KJ2000). As for myself, I have a long way to go.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much, Michael. As long as it is His light that shines, I am fine with this, but I do hope that my ‘own’ light does not come in between that often. In fact, I do not want people to see the little me instead of Him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Yes, dear heart, but we who are IN Christ have a promise coming,

        “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isa 60:1-3, KJ2000)

        Oh, the power of His cross!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your comforting words, David. Yes, I try to seek His will in all things, but that does not mean that I always ‘succeed’. Sometimes I need to vent before Him, still. 😉

      And I do know these problems with posting comments from my cell phone, too. 😛

      Every divine blessing to you and yours,
      Susanne

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I could not agree more, Michael. Your teaching is always biblically sound. In this instance, you have struck a nerve w/ me.

    I have had my share of suffering, certainly enough to attest to the fact that God uses suffering to shape us to His ends. There are, however, those who genuinely believe we malign God by suggesting He does anything but bandage our wounds. That in my own view diminishes God, attributing greater power to evil than good.

    The emphasis on healing as a test of our faith likewise holds the potential to undermine that faith. Millions suffer from chronic conditions. Is that “proof” of the insufficiency of their faith? Are only the healthy — albeit dead — allowed into heaven? That kind of thinking leads only to discouragement by the sick, and pride by the healthy. It is akin to the mistaken belief that wealth is the measure of godliness.

    And what of those who firmly believe they can heal others (and may well have done so, in God’s discretion), then find themselves unable to heal? I met one young woman who lost her faith entirely when that happened.

    Christ performed miracles to demonstrate that He was the Messiah…not to disparage the medical profession.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    With love,

    Your friend A.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna,

      I am guilty of going off into my own personal prejudices in my writings all too often (once is more than enough) and this does not give glory to God or His Christ. I prayed about your reply and it has been a needed rebuke to me, dear sister, and through your words it started to come into focus what I had done. Then this morning I read the following from Oswald Chambers and his words told me where the error comes in when we write our blogs or get into conversations as members of Christ’s body…

      “If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me…” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again. If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me [ but His words through a yielded saint ARE important to ME -mdc]. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives.”

      Thank you dear sister for being my friend and speaking the truth to me in love,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carina says:

        I don’t see where you needed the rebuke, brother.
        Anna, I really liked what you said. I believe in God’s sovereignty, and that to me is a source of great comfort. He will let the righteous be afflicted many times, but will always supervise the fires we face with a very attentive eye. He knows exactly what He is doing!

        Liked by 4 people

      • Michael, I must confess that I am at a loss. I never meant to rebuke you, and am still not sure on what point you believe I did?? If anything, I am constantly awed by your scholarship. Not that we should place our faith in men, at the expense of God.

        When you speak from personal experience (if that is your concern), I am invariably moved. That makes your lessons that much more vibrant. I can more clearly that way see their application to my own life. You are never prideful doing this. I used to hang around some very large legal egos, so I think I would noticed (LOL).

        Befuddled,

        A.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Dear Anna, I feared that I might have offended you by my disparaging remarks about the medical profession. I know that you must be acquainted many professionals that are sincere in what they do. I know that many doctors are used of God to heal and I am afraid I was painting with too broad of a brush because of my own painful experiences with them lately.

        Anyway, God has put a fear in me about offending those who believe in Christ and have humbled themselves as His little children (see Matt. 18:3-6) and I am aware of how often in the past I have steam-rollered others with my own uncrucified ego. I am glad you were not offended with me.

        Love you IN Christ, my sister,
        Michael

        Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Michael,
      I just found your blog through something on one of Anna Waldherr’s blogs. After reading your About page and a few of your posts, I love this blog already. I am a new follower.

      I don’t see a rebuke in Anna’s comment above, only affirmation of your writings. Perhaps I am missing some back story?

      Anyway, I just want to thank you for this great faith building blog. I was raised in the Pentecostal belief system that if we have enough faith, we can have everything we want simply by asking for and claiming it.

      My dad was the preacher of the church we attended. My parents lost their faith when I was 12 years old. I lost my faith then, too.

      I came back to that same type of church when I was 24. Once again, I immersed myself in the “name it and claim it” teachings.

      I eventually got a job working with a major TV evangelist who promoted that same mindset. I worked there full-time, 40 hrs per week, for almost 3 years, as a “teleminister”, praying on the phone with people and soliciting donations. I averaged a little over 70 prayer-solicitation calls per shift.

      This was in the 1980s. When I quit that job, after more than 45,000 prayer-solicitation phone calls, the head of that ministry was running for President, and several other big-name televangelists had recently been caught in big-time sins: involvement with prostitutes, etc.

      I am ashamed to say that I left my faith behind, once again, when I left that job. I remained staunchly agnostic, almost an atheist, for the next 15 years. I returned to the Lord in 2003, shortly before my 50th birthday.

      Today, my faith is not in naming and claiming and signs and wonders, my faith is in Christ, who died on a cross, rose from the dead, and told us to take up our cross and follow Him. He also warned us that in this world we will have tribulations.

      My spiritual journey has been so convoluted, and riddled with so much ignorant, selfish, destructive sin, that I am amazed the Lord would allow this shaking reed, this wave tossed on the sea, this horribly sinful prodigal daughter with a stony heart, to come back to Him again!

      Yet He not only took me back, He welcomed me with great joy!! Wow wow wow!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Dear “Linda,”

        I went to your blog and read some of your story. I have learned that people on the net use aliases for different reasons. Some are being stalked by former abusers or hostile relatives, even by religious pharisees and find it necessary.

        I also know what it is like to have PTSD as a Vietnam War vet and growing up with a father (and mother from living with him) who had PTSD as well. God has done a lot of miracles in my life to get me from where I was after returning home after three tours over there in the navy to where I am today. One of the biggest miracles is that my wife is still with me after all I have put her through. When we were going together I was thinking about breaking off with her (running from commitment – another PTSD trait) and God told me very clearly (this was before I came to Christ), “If you let this woman get away, you won’t find another one like her. She will go the distance!” And she has. We have been married over 50 years and we give God the credit. Even our kids survived and turned out to be a real blessing!

        Yes, Anna W. is a blessing to me. She has always been very affirming in the things I write. I read her book and was deeply touched by what she has gone through and overcome. You can’t help but love a sister like her who has overcome such a deep wounding and reaches out to other abused people with so much compassion. I am glad you came to my blog from hers.

        Wow, you were a Penticostal faith preacher’s kid? I can only imagine how that effected your trust in God. The “faith message” is like socialism… sooner or later you run out of other people’s money to spend. I know another sister who did the same work you were doing for this same televangelist you were with. She ALSO came away realizing that “the king has no clothes.” I have been close to the inside of some smaller ministries who kept up a public persona for gain to come to the same conclusion. Pentecostal hype dose not float with me.

        It is such a blessing to see the grace of our Father at work in the lives of His prodigals and that while you “were yet a long ways off,” He came out to greet you. Welcome home, my dear sister. Jesus did not come to establish a new religion with men and women ruling over the children of the Father, but rather to restore us to Him in a loving and very personal relationship with His love flowing through our hearts. Most people “lose their faith” because they were taught to equate the Father with earthly men who claim to be talking and acting for Him. After making this mistake myself and going off into the wilderness for years because of the wounds I received “in the house of my friends,” I finally came to see that all that glitters in worldly churches is not heavens gold. Christ has become my sufficiency in all things and what David said in Psalms says it all,

        It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in [pulpit] princes. (Ps 118:8-9, ESV2011)

        It might take us a while to finally learn this, but once we do, the heavens open to us on a new and wonderful journey as we follow THE Good Shepherd wherever He goes.

        Agape love to you and your husband, dear sister,
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

      • Your reply gave me happy tears. Thank you, brother Michael. 🙂

        Despite PTSD, your marriage has lasted more than fifty years? That is truly a miracle. Many of our friends are Vietnam veterans, most of whom have been married and divorced multiple times.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Linda, I used to be part of a Christian Vietnam vets organization. Most of these men met the Lord later in life, but you are right, Dorothy and I were the only ones that stuck together of all the guys we met and had never been divorced. PTSD has taken a terrible tole in the lives of most veterans. I am glad that God got hold of me early on or we would have never made it. I am glad that you two are doing well.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Marshall says:

    we don’t know for how many were cured at Bethesda, as the one man described was provided in background to an interaction regarding Sabbath.
    Where God provides faith to be cured, there comes His cure also. Where He provides faith to endurance, then endurance.
    Whether via theology or poor memory, people at times presume faith as something to be worked-up in the man… but, no. The faith of Jesus comes from God.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      A good reminder, Marshall. Some people are very uncomfortable with a God who would allow them or anyone else to suffer. At times like this we can look to him for the grace to endure suffering and that is where the real lesson begins.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carina says:

      Very good. Yes, I believe God wants to heal a person, He will reveal this either to the person needing healing or the people He has called to pray for that person. This is very different from claiming general promises and applying them as if they were magic spells.
      I believe by Christ’s wounds we were healed, but that refers primarily to the wounds of sin. God may sovereignly decide to apply that passage to our physical bodies, but that is His call, not ours.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I feel like Much-Afraid, in Hinds feet, when the Shepard asked her; What if I deceive you?.

    I was taught by fellow Christians, when I met the Lord at 24, that the scriptures teach… healing ended with the apostles. Since retiring at 65, I have been exposed to the idea that healing didn’t end.

    I searched the scriptures to see what they say and came to the conclusion that healing did not end. I also believe I have seen my Lords participation on this for me.

    Each of my scriptural arguments against healing have been undone. (These are not for argument, but if anyone has more that I should read, I will be happy to do so.)

    “With his stripes, we are healed.” Coming from a life of crime and drugs I certainly thought this referred to the sickness of sin and I concluded that I would not believe otherwise without proof of another context. I believe the following scripture place’s it in the physical healing realm.

    Matthew 8:16-17 (NASB)
    16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”

    “The gifts… will cease” To me, this statement is made to tell the reader that the gifts are not the final goal. Even “Hope” and “Faith” will cease when we are “face to face” with him. I don’t think this has happened yet. When he returns and we are face to face with him, we won’t need “Faith” or “Hope” anymore because he will be face to face. Only “Love” will be there.
    When I consider the above scriptures, along with the one below, I believe he is telling me something he wants me to believe so I can to bring him glory.

    John 14:12-15 (NASB)
    12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

    I don’t have all the answers to this issue. I am determined to seek the truth of his word and pursue a relationship with him for the guidance I need.

    Regarding our article question, I think the Bible says yes… he will keep this promise every time… if the conditions included in the promise are met.

    Love to you all.

    Like

    • Carina says:

      Hi Russ,
      I don’t have all the answers either, so just my two cents.
      Amen to what you have said. I believe in miraculous healings for today, and I believe in gifts of the Holy Spirit. BUT… The big perversion of the “prosperity gospel” is the “name-it-claim-it” part. We have NO right to DEMAND a miracle. We humbly request it. We absolutely believe God CAN do it, and WILL do it HE wants to. We don’t know all things, and from our human perspective it may look like a miracle is a good thing to get unbelievers to bow down and recognize our God. But His ways are not our ways, and only He knows if that is indeed the case.

      Having a Christian WAIT ON God without receiving the promise (yet, because you may or may not eventually get it) can build our faith enormously while we are waiting, as long as we continue loving God and submitting to His perfect will and timing and if we accept the ultimate NO if God decides to take the sick person home or leave you with a chronic disease such as asthma.

      Abraham waited 25 long years for the promised miracle of barrenness healing. Would he have had his faith strengthened if he had got his miracle right away? (Five years, no baby here!) In that case, Abraham could COUNT ON the miracle because God had already revealed to him that he was going to do it. But most of the time, when we “claim” a healing, we have received no personal revelation of the matter. And Jesus did not heal all the sick in Israel, even when he was alive, and neither did the apostles heal all the people they met who needed healing.

      I believe the same about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can earnestly desire the gifts so that we can effectively serve the church, but the one who makes the decision of who receives what gift is the Holy Spirit. I believe all gifts are active today, but there are true gifts and there are counterfeit gifts, and if we want to receive gifts to “lord it” over others, we are likely to get the counterfeit and not the real. There is holy fire and there is “strange fire”. Sadly, many use fleshly strategies for emotional impact, just like advertisers do when they try to sell you a product. But it’s “deceptive advertising”. The “product” you finally get is not what you intended to “buy”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Carina, Russ and all,
        I have been praying about what to write regarding this “healing thread” on m blog. I agree with what you have shared here, Carina. In my case, years ago, I received physical healing in my body by the laying on of hands and prayer and the person who prayed for me was not walking totally in the light of God! I ALSO have been used to pray over two people with terminal cancers (with others agreeing with me in prayer) and they were both healed! Am I a healer? NO!!! I just happened to be the person that God used in these two cases. I have prayed for other to be healed and noting happened. The gift of healing is not in the person doing the praying, but it appears in the person who is healed! Why, because they are holy or have tremendous faith? No! It is a gift from God. Do we give gifts to our children because they have been perfect and obedient all year long? Do we first look to see who has been naughty or nice? No! We give them gifts because we love them. I remember one birthday when I got no gift at all because my parents were flat broke and we were living out in the desert with no department stores within many miles. But my mom took a large piece of white butcher paper and painted a personal, loving birthday message on it to me, because of her love for me. I kept that “card” for years!

        So, back to my blog article and my recent back problems. I prayed and others who know and love me prayed for months that my back would be healed and nothing happened. I “suffered much” during that time because the many doctors I went to did not have eyes to see (or ears to hear) where the problem was that was causing my constant debilitating pain and mussel spasms. After six months of pain in this latest round, I finally (by God’s leading) asked a mechanic I had gone to about my broken backhoe (funny… broken back [hoe]) if HE knew of a good chiropractor and he highly recommended a woman that had done wonders for his back in the past when he was almost paralyzed by back problems. This woman knows backs and more importantly she knows the voice of God who told her one evening after three sessions with her right where my problem was… “a compressed vertebra between T6 and T8.” This led me to getting a good set of x-rays of that area which led to an MRI of that area which led me to getting a procedure done by a specialist that has taken away my most of my pain and spasms.

        Sometimes God heals us according to HIS plan and timing and not our preconceived ideas. Paul did not pray for Timothy about healing his stomach problems, but rather told him to drink red wine for it. The fact is that God used physical healings in the Bible to prove to people that HE is God and that Christ and HIS gospel is the truth (the gospel with “signs following”). He did NOT heal Paul whom He had used to heal others while he preached the gospel. After much prayer, he got his answer. His thorn in his flesh was to remain. Why? Because he needed to be humbled because of the abundance of revelations that the Spirit had given him. The healing that God was concerned about was in his heart! I wish that these people who have been healed by God who have exalted themselves over others “because of their lack of faith” had received the gift of humility as Paul had! Nothing stinks more to God than a proud man or woman who exalts themselves over others because of “their great faith.” Healing is a gift from God and so is faith! If 1 Corinthians teaches us anything about spiritual gifts it is that people who use the gifts of God without love and humility are totally carnal!

        I know that I have received my answer from the Lord about my back. He told me that my weak back is a gift from Him to deal with my self-willed nature to “stretch forth my hand and go where I want.” (John 21:18). I am finding out that my Father is fine-tuning my will about doing things just because I have the money with which to do it or because it looks like it is all coming together at the time. He wants me to pray about every move I make, every word I say and every word I write and when I don’t, letting cause and effect (sometimes very painful) be my teacher.

        Russ and Carina, thanks for your input. Yes, Russ, it has been 46 years since the Spirit and Jesus came into me and it has been a life filled with many experiences both “good” and painful as my Father has rebuked, chastened and scourged this son of His, but I love Him for every bit of it. Has Jesus ever lied to me? When we were eating out of dumpsters and about to loose our home to the bank it seemed like it at the time, but HE is the Truth, not some text that we name and claim for ourselves from the Bible and He was working HIS Truth into me by these hardships. Praise His name forever!

        Like

  10. In the book; “Hinds Feet in High Places”, author Hannah Hurnard has the Shepard (representing Jesus) ask the question “What if I deceive you? I think the reason for this is because he knows that there may be times when Much-Afraid, (representing us followers) will not understand what he wants her to learn and it may seem to her as if “He deceived her”. Her response to his question is that she would never let him go.

    Carina, I agree with your comments about giving our Lord room to do whatever he wants to do in a matter and I can see how it could actually hurt a persons faith, if the promise is not kept exactly as stated. For this reason, I think I will press him for a wet fleece before taking action on others. I think I will probably focus on hearing from him about these things. The reason I feel like I should not necessarily dump the “Name it and claim it” is because the Word says; “whatever I ask, believing”. I feel I should keep the door open in case there is something he want from me, more than I understand. If there is one thing he has shown me over the last decade is how badly I need his guidance.

    Michael, It sounds like you have more experience with this subject than I do and I will take note of your concerns.

    I can count on God for this guidance.

    Liked by 1 person

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