HEALING IS GOD’S WILL
Matthew 8:2, “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”MATTHEW 8:1-4Leprosy was a hated disease and its symptoms are described in detail in Leviticus 13:1-46. This leper believed Jesus could heal him, but doubted His willingness to heal him. Jesus showed him His willingness to heal, and since He is no respecter of persons, He established a precedent for us (Rom. 2:11). This leper did not know God’s will concerning healing, but this is not the case with us. The Word of God is the will of God, and it reveals that it is always God’s will to heal.Isaiah 53:5, makes it clear that when Isaiah said “with his stripes we are healed”, he was speaking of the physical healing of our bodies. Jesus provided for physical healing as well as forgiveness of sins. The very word “save” (Gk.-“sozo”) is translated “made whole” in reference to physical healing in Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:34, and Luke 8:48. James 5:15 says, “the prayer of faith shall save (Gk.-“sozo”) the sick.” Many scriptures mention the healing of our bodies in conjunction with the forgiveness of our sins. Healing is a part of our salvation, just as much as the forgiveness of our sins.Nowhere do we find Jesus refusing to heal anyone. In light of Jesus’ statement that He could do nothing of Himself, but only what He saw the Father do (Jn. 5:19 and 8:28-29), His actions are proof enough that it is always God’s will to heal. There are certain things Jesus suffered for us that we should not suffer. Jesus died for our sins so that we would not have to pay for them (Rom. 6:23). Jesus took our sicknesses and diseases so that we could walk in health (Mt. 8:17; 1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus became poor so that we, through His poverty, might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9). If God be for us, then no one can successfully be against us.The Lord has made every provision for you to walk in all He has provided for you today. Don’t put it off a minute longer.
JESUS MEETS ALL OUR NEEDS
Matthew 14:16, “But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”MATTHEW 14:15-18The disciples were using natural reasoning and recognized that they didn’t have the ability to minister to the multitude’s need for food. Jesus did have the ability and the willingness to minister to their needs, so the multitude did not need to depart. All of their needs could be met through Jesus.The same thing is true today. Some disciples today are sending the multitudes to the world to meet their physical needs (finances, health, counseling, etc.) and proclaiming that God only meets spiritual needs. But, “they need not depart.” The Lord is willing and able to heal our bodies, prosper us financially, or counsel us from His Word in any area of our life where we might have need.Before we can be a blessing, we have to be blessed (Gen. 12:2). One of the purposes of God’s prosperity in our lives is so that we can be a blessing to others. The Scriptures instruct us to walk in God’s love towards all men, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus told us to love our enemies (Mt. 5:44). In Galatians 6:10 Paul places a priority on helping fellow Christians. This does not diminish our responsibility to show God’s love to non-believers. Instead, Paul is simply saying “charity must start at home.” It would be hypocritical to step over hurting brothers and sisters in the Lord to find unbelievers to minister to.God didn’t just give us something that He had; He gave Himself. And what was God’s motive for giving? It wasn’t because of His need, but ours. He was motivated out of love for us (Jn. 3:16). In the same way, we should be encouraged to give unselfishly of ourselves. Pray for Divine appointments, to be used of God to touch someone’s life today.
FASTING DRIVES AWAY DOUBT
Mark 9:29 “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”MARK 9:28-29Prayer and fasting do not drive certain demons out. If the name of Jesus and faith in His name won’t do the job, then fasting and prayer won’t either. Jesus is saying that fasting and prayer are the only ways of casting out this type of unbelief.An unbelief that comes as a result of ignorance can be done away with by receiving the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 10:17; 2 Pet. 1:4). However, the unbelief that hindered the disciples in this case was a “natural” type of unbelief. They had been taught all of their lives to believe what their five senses told them. They were simply dominated by this natural input more than by God’s supernatural input (God’s Word). The only way to overcome this unbelief that comes through our senses is to deny our senses through prayer and fasting.Fasting accomplishes many things. One of the greatest benefits of fasting is that through denying the lusts of the flesh, the spirit man gains ascendancy. Fasting was always used as a means of seeking God to the exclusion of all else. Fasting does not cast out demons but rather, it casts out unbelief. Fasting is beneficial in every aspect of the Christian life – not only in the casting out of devils.The real virtue of a fast is in humbling ourselves through self denial (Ps. 35:13; 69:10), and that can be accomplished through ways other than total abstinence. Partial fasts can be beneficial, as well as fasts of our time or pleasures. However, because appetite for food is one of man’s strongest drives, fasting from food seems to get the job done the quickest. Fasting should be a much more important part of our seeking God.
Matthew 17:20 “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”MATTHEW 17:9-20; MARK 9:9-27; LUKE 9:37-42The disciples’ unbelief in this instance was not a disbelief in God’s power to produce deliverance, but rather a “natural” kind of unbelief that came from a hardened heart that was more sensitive to what it saw than to what it believed. Jesus said that a very small amount of faith (a “mustard seed”) is sufficient to remove a mountain, if no unbelief is present to hinder it.Jesus was disappointed that His disciples had not been able to cast this devil out. Most people would have had no criticism of these disciples. After all, it wasn’t normal to have power over evil spirits. However, Jesus had already given these disciples power and authority over all devils. These disciples had also already used this power and authority successfully on previous occasions, making them more accountable than others. They weren’t just normal men any longer. They had a supernatural ability and calling.We also receive power from on high when the Holy Ghost comes upon us, and it becomes our normal Christian service to use this power to witness to others.We can always look around and find plenty of Christians who are not using this power, but 2 Corinthians 10:12 says that comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. Most Christians are living so far below what God intended for them that when someone begins to live a normal Christian life (according to God’s standard), then everyone thinks he’s abnormal. We will be successful when we not only build our faith but destroy our doubts.
THERE IS A RIGHTEOUS ANGERJohn 2:15, “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables.”JOHN 2:12-14Jesus brought the message of “love your enemies” to the world and demonstrated it in such a way that some people have forgotten instances like this when Jesus showed anger. Anger can also be a godly emotion.Ephesians 4:26, tells us to “be angry and sin not”. This means there is a righteous type of anger which is not sin. This is why we are told to hate evil (Ps. 45:7; 119:104, 163; Pro. 8:13; Rom. 12:9). Ephesians 4:26, goes on to say, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath”. That doesn’t mean that it’s alright to be angry during daylight as long as we repent by nightfall. Rather, it is speaking of this righteous type of anger. We are never to let it rest. Don’t ever put it to bed, but keep yourself stirred up against the things of the devil.The key to distinguishing between a righteous anger and a carnal anger is to discern our motives and the object of our anger. Godly anger is directed at the devil with no consideration of self. If we are angry with people, it’s carnal (Eph. 6:12). And if our motivation is self-serving, then it’s wrong.
POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUSLuke 10:17 – “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”LUKE 10:17It was the power in the name of Jesus plus the disciples’ faith in that power that made the demons subject unto them. This can clearly be seen in Acts 19:13-17 where certain Jews called on the name of Jesus in an effort to cast demons out of a man. They used the name of Jesus, but it didn’t work because they had not put faith in that name.These Jews were itinerants who used incantations to effect deliverance for people who were demon possessed. The first-century historian, Josephus, wrote of an exorcism that he witnessed in the presence of Vespasian and many of his soldiers. The exorcist supposedly followed a ritual passed down from King Solomon to effect the deliverance. There is no doubt that men throughout all history have tried to resist demonic spirits, but as this example proves, only Jesus and those who have received His life are successful.Those who relegate demonic spirits to the realm of superstition do not believe in the entire Word of God. The Gospels alone contain over 90 references to the devil or devils (demons). The Apostle Paul said when writing to these people in Ephesus, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). The devil and demons do exist, but all believers in Jesus share in His total victory over them.The name of Jesus is not magic. It does not work like a charm. As Peter said, “His name, through faith in his name” (Acts 3:16) is what brings results.
JESUS PREPARED HIMSELF
LUKE 2:46, “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.”LUKE 2:41-51This is the only scriptural record of Jesus’ childhood. Yet there is much that we can learn from this brief account.At twelve years of age, Jesus’ wisdom astounded the men who had spent a lifetime studying the scriptures (v. 47). Remember that Jesus did not have full time access to a copy of the scriptures like we do today. He had to depend on His visits to the synagogue and the direct revelation knowledge from His heavenly Father.He was also asking these scholars questions (v. 46). This is amazing when you realize that in Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! (Col. 2:3) Although He was God, He inhabited a physical human body that needed to be educated.He also had a clear understanding at this young age of who His real Father was and exactly why He had come to the world (v. 49). We can only speculate how this must have influenced His childhood.So we see that Jesus knew His call and purpose even in His early childhood. However, there is no record of miracles or ministry on His part until after His baptism by John at the age of thirty. Preparing a body for God Almighty to manifest Himself through was no small task. Praise God for His great love that caused Him to sacrifice everything for us.
KNOWING GOD’S WILL IS NOT ENOUGHLuke 1:34, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”LUKE 1:26-38Contrast Mary’s question and Gabriel’s response with the question that Zacharias asked Gabriel and the response that he received (Luke 1:18-20). You will find the questions are similar but the responses are totally different.Both Mary and Zacharias asked how these miracles would occur but it is evident that Mary was asking “how” in faith while Zacharias was asking “how” in unbelief. It is a clear Bible teaching that unbelief doesn’t please God (Heb. 11:6), but the Lord doesn’t mind us questioning Him for the purpose of instruction so we can cooperate with His will in our lives.Abram knew that it was God’s will for him to have a son but Abram and Sarai came up with their own plan which caused them and the world much grief (Gen. 16:1-6). Abram would have avoided many problems if he had asked the Lord how He was going to accomplish this miraculous event.If Mary had not questioned this angel, she might have reasoned that Jesus would be born through the natural union of her and Joseph. This would have been a grave mistake. It would have disqualified her from being used.It’s not enough just to know God’s will. We need to continue to seek the Lord until we know God’s plan for accomplishing that will.
GOD’S CHOICELuke 2:37, “And she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served [God] with fastings and prayers night and day.”LUKE 2:36-40Let’s suppose that Anna was fourteen years old when she married. She would have been 105 years old. Yet she was still fasting and praying night and day! Satan tries to convince us that God won’t use us. He may cite things like age or lack of abilities, or failures that we’ve had. But just like Anna, there are many scriptural examples of the Lord using those who would be considered unusable by worldly standards.Moses was eighty years old before he began to fulfill God’s plan for his life and he worked right up until he was 120 years old. Abraham was in his nineties before he had the son that God had promised him.Gideon was another one who looked unusable. He was hiding from the Midianites when an angel of God appeared and told him he was a mighty man of valor (Judg. 6:11-12). He couldn’t believe it at first and had to have the Lord confirm it three times.Truly, …God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty… (1 Cor. 1:27-28).