Mar 23 2018

Thorns in the flesh

Have you ever encountered someone who has a sickness or physical impairment, and who thinks that God gave it to them to teach them something? There’s a passage of scripture in 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul refers to a “thorn in his flesh” that was given to him to keep him humble. Some people have taken this verse to mean that God sometimes puts a sickness on us to teach us a lesson. Just recently, I met a lady who was wearing hearing aids and she asked me to pray for her ears. She was advanced in years, so most people would just assume the hearing loss was a result of her age. But she told me that she believed God was punishing her for something, and that’s why she lost part of her hearing. I didn’t let her go any further, and led her through a quick prayer of renouncing the lie she had believed. Eighty percent of here hearing was restored after she renounced the lie. God wasn’t trying to punish her, and as soon as she stopped believing that, she received most of here hearing back!

I never really agreed with this “God made me sick” theology because the idea of God making someone sick to teach them a lesson stands in stark contrast with all the other scripture that talks about God being our healer. Something clicked for me when I came across this verse again this past week. Holy Spirit reminded me about the times an evil spirit was sent by God to Ahab and Saul in the Old Testament (you can read those stories in 1 Kings 22 and 1 Samuel 19) in order to bring about a specific result. Evil spirits are subject to God’s commands just like any other created being. Just because they rebelled against God doesn’t mean they get to ignore him. God maintains the authority to use them to bring about his purposes.

In Paul’s case, I have come to believe that there was an evil spirit constantly reminding him of his past. Here’s a guy who was used by God to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and perform many miracles. And yet, he had a past that most people would think disqualified him from ever being used by God. If any of us spend enough time thinking about our past mistakes, I am sure we can all make a list of reasons why God should never use us. And I imagine Paul probably thought about this as well. But then, there was this “thorn” which I don’t think was a physical ailment, but an actual spirit coming to remind him of his past failures. Paul refers to this thorn as a “messenger of satan” that was sent to torment him. Did God send this spirit to perform this action? We don’t know, but in Paul’s case, these reminders served the purpose to keep him humble.
If you have been battling a sickness, don’t believe the lie that God gave it to you. Trust in him to bring the healing you need.

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Mar 16 2018

More than an exercise

I met a man this week who has been suffering from problems in his hip due to a several years old injury. We chatted for a few moments and then I prayed for God to heal his hip. As he was testing it out, after the prayer, he noticed it felt a little different, but not completely better. Then he said this to me, “That was a cute little exercise you did there, but you need to understand that my hip is fused together and there is nothing that can be done to fix it.” His response was a little comical on the surface, not because he didn’t have faith, but because of the way he expressed his position. This opened an opportunity for me to share some testimonies with him about what we have seen God do in the past. Prayer is so much more than an exercise, it’s a step of faith with an expectation that the one we are praying to is able and willing to accomplish our requests. There is nothing he cannot do. Even when doctors say something is impossible, we know that nothing is impossible with God. The one who designed the human body is fully capable of healing the body, and he wants us to partner with him in delivering the healing that people need. So, I want to encourage you today that if you have been contending for a healing, and it hasn’t come yet, don’t give up. Your prayers are more than an exercise. God has heard you, and he will answer. Keep contending and you will see a breakthrough!

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Mar 9 2018

Relevance

I’ve been thinking about relevance lately, and how our attempts to be relevant in today’s society can sometimes conflict with the concept of pursuing the idea of bringing God’s kingdom to earth. It’s easy to lose sight of the target when we get distracted by the current popular movement of the day, but we have to remember that when we say yes to Jesus, we are saying yes to a king, and not just any king, but the King of all kings. This is a concept we don’t have a good reference point for in Western civilization, probably because we are too many years removed from the times when kings ruled many of the nations of the world. In that era, when you bowed before a king and offered your life to his service, you gave him complete control to determine your destiny. The king decided every facet of every capacity you would serve him. He decided where you were sent, what you were to do, and when you were to return. When you bowed before the king, you did it knowing that you were giving him control over your life. So, when we serve the King of kings, we give our lives into his service, no matter what the cost, or what he requires for us. But how do we stay relevant when we are tied to his decisions? It’s easy. Jesus told us to seek first his kingdom, and taught us to pray for that kingdom to come to earth. The world is hungry for authenticity. This generation craves truth and is drawn to the supernatural. If we make His Kingdom relevant on earth, we will instantly become relevant in every sphere of society. If we keep that as our primary focus, everything else will fall into place.

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