I started this Blog because God has sparked within me a desire to bring the message of health, hope and healing to all those who need it, but especially to those that have been touched by physical infirmities. At least some level of healing is available to all who ask, seek and believe!

Join me as I take a step of faith out of the boat and into the murky waters to begin my own journey of health and healing. We will be taking a closer look at how to find healing in our modern-day world and what God has to say about the process as well. Some of the posts will be on practical ways to achieve healing in our bodies; others will be inspirational and are meant to bring you hope. I think most of you will find that a lot of the information here challenges what you think you know about good health.

May Jehovah Rapha--God, Our Healer--open your hearts, minds and eyes as you explore this website. And may you never forget...to Always Hope.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My "Illness" And A Revelation From God

Isaiah 53:4-5
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Today when I read that scripture, I had a revelation. You see, being "sick" has brought many well-meaning people into my life. Friends and professionals that want to see me get well and want to encourage me. I am grateful to God for each one of them and they are all playing a part in the ultimate healing that I am receiving. But occasionally, I will come across someone that follows in the footsteps of Job's friends, wondering what exactly it could be that I have done or not done to either bring this illness upon myself or allow it to remain here: 'Is there sin in her life?'; 'Does she truly believe God can heal her?'; 'Maybe she is struggling with doubt?'; 'She must be holding on to unforgiveness.' All of these questions were asked by Job's friends at one time too and yet look how God treated them in the end of that story: the Lord was "angry with [them] for they [were] not right in what they said about [Him] as [His] servant Job was."

From the very beginning of this "illness," I have believed that God can heal me. And that He wants to heal me. And that He will heal me. And that somewhere in space and time, that healing has already taken place (you see, God is omnipotent and knows no space or time; this is why we can pray for our healing now and believe it has already happened, even if the manifestation is yet to come). It is only God and God alone that knows when that healing will take place. Our job in the meantime is to wait (to expect and hope) and to believe. Psalm 27: 13-14 says, "Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." John 11:40 says "Only believe and you will see the glory of God." Okay, awesome. So that means I can sit here and shove pizza and soda down my throat, not exercise and keep doing the things that I know will harm me, but it's okay because all I have to do is wait and believe that the Lord's going to heal me, right?! Wrong. If you believe that, then you have been duped by the father of lies, satan himself.

In my particular situation, God has shown me MANY things that I can both do and refrain from doing WHILE I am waiting and believing for my healing. These are things not only to help me feel better now but to help with the manifestation of my healing. Does God need my help in manifesting my healing? No, of course not. Has He specifically requested in this instance that I play a pivotal role in it? YES! In my many conversations with the Lord, He has shown me that my illness is a permissive one but one that He will use to bring life and healing to many nations.

Now, this is where it gets a little hard to understand because it is difficult for some people to wrap their heads around the fact that God is a God that can be both Good, and at the same time, allow an illness like mine. But we must look at it like this: God created this world without sin. He gave man free will and with that came the freedom of choice. If there was no free will, we all would be walking around like robots--preprogrammed machines void of everything that makes us human. Unfortunately, man (and woman) abused that free will and chose to sin against God when they ate of the tree of good and evil. At that time, sin entered the world. While God is life, sin is death and decay. Romans 8:20-21 says: "Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay." Now, God didn't want to curse us, He created the world without sin. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the tree of good and evil, God's curse was unleashed upon the world through man's actions.

Think of it in this way: if we do something to break the law, we get punished. We may have to pay a fine, do community service hours, or even go to jail. We do not blame the law, the police or the judge for our disobedience and wrongdoing, nor do we blame them for the punishment that we must suffer because of it. No, we must own up to our mistakes and realize that there are consequences to our actions and to the choices that we make. In the same way, the curse of God, which is sin, was not meant for man, but came upon man after he disobeyed God's law. God tells us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death BUT (I love God's "buts") the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wow. Okay, so let me get this straight. God created a perfect world without sin. We messed it up. But God still loved us SO MUCH that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for us so that we might have everlasting life (John 3: 16) with Him? That's right, everlasting. Forever. For eternity. So that means that even though I have, and will, continue to disobey and sin against God, He loves me so much that He made a way for me to be righteous again through the blood of Jesus? And all I have to do to accept that gift is confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, like it tells us in Romans 10:9? That's it, seriously?! Yep, that's it. Seriously. Salvation is a gift from God to us. We have done nothing to deserve it. We can do nothing to earn it. We are not worthy to receive it. Not a one of us. But God still offers it to us freely anyway. And it's all because GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD. Last time I checked, that world means me, and you. There is no exclusion there. Yes, it all starts with love, because God IS love (1 John 4:8).

As we now know, the presence of sin in this world has produced death, decay and disease. That by NO means is intended to translate as "You are a sinner and that is why you are sick." Do NOT let the father of lies tell you that. Now, could it be possible that sin and unforgiveness are causing or exacerbating an illness? Yes, most definitely. But if you have confessed that sin and are working on the unforgiveness in your life (this is an action and a process, NOT a feeling) and are still sick, then you must NOT take stock in the notion that God does not want you well, or that you need to be more holy in order to be forgiven, or that if you say just 10 more "Hail Mary's" God is going to hear you and act. NO! All of those are LIES! God's Word--which IS God according to John 1:1 ("In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God)--tells us: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” James 1:6-8. I have heard it said that "Worry is like prayer, but in reverse." I don't know about you, but I don't like the mental picture of undoing all of my prayers because of worry! We need to live in the freedom available to us through God's Word and to do that, when He tells us something in His Word, we are to believe it.

Sin and unforgiveness were certainly things I immediately addressed in my own life when I first became ill. And of course, like many of us, I had both of these things present in my life. So I prayed. And I confessed. And I forgave. And I did my best to try not to worry. This was true even though it literally felt like my body was being shut down, one cell at a time. It was like the lights were being turned off in my body, one switch, and then another, and then another. I literally drew up my last will and testament and got as many things as I could in order because I believed there was a chance I could die. I spent many nights in our guest room crying out to God to heal me, to save me or even just to give me some relief. Talking to Him like this was comforting and God wants us to cry out to Him in our times of trouble. We see King David doing this all throughout the Psalms and we know from God's Word that David was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Sammuel 13:13-14). In Psalms 142, we can find one of David's prayers:

1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.

3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.

4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.

5 I cry to you, LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”

6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.

7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.

I love David's prayers because though we can easily see the suffering he was going through, his prayers to the Lord are not only filled with complaints and requests, but also praises! David said in Psalm 3:7 (b), "…For you have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone, You have broken the teeth of the ungodly". Here David knows the secret of praise and also knows what happens to the enemy when we praise God: we literally silence our enemies. The enemy keeps talking to us day and night about things that are not the will of God for us. Therefore it becomes necessary for us to silence him. If we do not silence the enemy he will continue to talk defeat into our lives and that is the reason we often feel so beat up at the end of the day. Praise shuts satan up. So the next time something is troubling you and you are at the end of your rope, cry out to God! With prayer and petition, but always with thanksgiving, ask Him to meet your needs--and be specific, be bold in your requests! For the Lord your God loves you and wants to help you.

One of the other awesome things that sticks out to me about David's prayer (and there are many) is that he feels like "no one is concerned for him" and that "no one cares for his life." Often times, when we are sick, it feels like no one could possibly know what we are going through and that even if they do, they don't care. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. I have had struggles--many in my own family--with people that didn't believe I was ill and even after I had received an actual “diagnosis,” these family members still don't ask me how I am doing or feeling. That can be tough, even devastating. But when we start to feel that way, we need to take those thoughts captive and cast them down in the name of Jesus as He tells us to in 2 Corinthians 10:5: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Then we need to follow David's example. After he laments about his isolation and just about the time we think he is going to have a pity party, he says in the very next verse, "I cry to YOU, LORD; I say, YOU are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” David knew that he could not get what he needed from his family or friends but from the Lord ONLY. David didn't try to deny or lie about how he was feeling and the suffering that he was going through. He knew that there was no lying to God because God knows the hearts of all men, but he told God of his feelings and then recognized that it was only the Lord that could give him his portion here on earth.

One of the special and encouraging people that God has brought into my life lately explained it to me like this: You cannot go to Home Depot looking for bread. Home Depot is not equipped with bread; they don't even stock it. So there is no way Home Depot can sell bread to you. It's like this with what we desire from people. If you are looking for something from someone and that person does not even have it to give to you, well then of course you are going to be disappointed! If someone is not equipped to give you what you're searching for, then you're not going to get it. Now, whose fault is it that you went to Home Depot looking for bread? Home Depot's? No, of course not. So don't go to man to get your needs fulfilled. You are going to come away disappointed, hurt and even devastated. Seek God instead and get your needs met from Him. HE is the one that will give you your FULL portion.

After I dealt with the sin and unforgiveness in my life, I still did not get well. However, dealing with these things helped me feel a WHOLE lot better and the joy that filled my soul was like a beacon of light that radiated from the inside out. People that I spoke to even told me that they saw an anointing on me and I could feel it too. My flesh was weak with disease but my spirit and my soul were rejoicing in the Lord. We often harbor sin and unforgiveness in our lives that we don't even know is there. The Holy Spirit will give you wisdom and discernment concerning these things. Even if wisdom and discernment are not spiritual gifts that God has given you after you have accepted Christ into your life, the Bible tells us that we can pray for wisdom and that it will be given to us. And not just given to us, but given to us LIBERALLY: "...If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting)..." James 1: 5-6a.

The Lord has given me great wisdom and discernment concerning my health and the things that are going on with my body; things that conventional medicine cannot explain and many things it will not even acknowledge. I have sought this wisdom and have specifically prayed for the wisdom and knowledge of Solomon (King David's son). Appearing to Solomon in a dream, God said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give to you” (3:5 NIV). With this statement, God placed no limits or restrictions on what Solomon could have asked for. With such an invitation, we might expect Solomon to launch immediately into a long list of petitions. But he does not do this. Solomon begins his prayer with heartfelt praise. Solomon thanks God for His “great mercy” and acknowledges that he is king as a direct consequence of the mercy God extended to his father David (3:6). Solomon then moves from heartfelt praise to a humble approach and confesses to the Lord, “I am but a child; I do not know how to go out or to come in” (3:7). And lastly, Solomon comes to God with an honorable petition, he prays, “give Thy servant wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?" 2 Chronicles 1:7 God answered Solomon by saying, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have." (1:8-12). Wow, what an example David and Solomon have set for us in how to approach our Heavenly Father.

When God imparted on me the wisdom, knowledge and discernment concerning my health, it wasn't like I knew everything I needed to know all at once. It has been almost four years since I knew I was “ill” and God is still bringing things into my life to help manifest my healing. Not only that, but oh how sweet a time I have had with the Lord over these last four years! My flesh has been ravaged by "disease" but my soul and my spirit have flourished! There has been a lot of emotional healing going on in me during this time, all a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit and the life that we find through Him.

I have been bold and have prayed for a healing of my TOTAL being. Why ask for anything less? That is just putting limitations on God and God does NOT have limits! Since we are told that "God created man in His own image" (Genesis 1:27) we know that we are comprised of flesh (the body), the soul (the psyche/personality), and the spirit (the life). The flesh is pretty easy to understand, but it can be a little more complicated when we are looking at the difference between the soul and the spirit. I think it is more easily understandable when we view our soul as the "make-up of man." The soul, then, is our personality and how we relate to each other. The spirit was breathed into us by God and is what gives us life. Genesis 2:7 says: "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Throughout the Bible, man’s spirit (not to be confused with the Holy Spirit who is part of God) is always referred to as the immaterial part of man. Man is not a spirit, he has a spirit. When you are reborn, you are born of spirit (John 3:5-6). The spirit is part of the soul, much like the mind is part of the soul. It is the soul, though, that comprises who you are.

As you can see, the flesh, the soul and the spirit are all very much intertwined. Like God, we are all one being, but yet three separate parts. Doesn't it make since then, that if one of those parts is sick, the whole being would show signs of this? The "disease" that man experiences can be related to any one, or more, of these three parts. The soul and the spirit can be just as toxic as the flesh and it is imperative that if we truly want complete and total healing, we must seek out the roots of what is making us ill. Dealing with emotional toxins is just as important as dealing with physical ones. Now, the Holy Spirit has told me that my "illness" is rooted in the flesh, BUT in order to receive total healing for my WHOLE being, I need to also treat the soul and the spirit.

My special friend that also told me to quit trying to go to Home Depot for bread has introduced me to a man here locally who is a recovery specialist. This man actually founded the Believers In Recovery program at our church so many years ago. Among other things, he and his wife work with women that have experienced dysfunction in their childhoods and who now want to shake off that baggage, find out who they are in Christ and get on with the life that God has called them to. Wouldn't you know it, but he is starting one of these small groups at the beginning of October. :) I am going to see him on Wednesday for my "intake" session. I am very excited about this opportunity and I look forward to confronting some things in my past, putting them to rest and then moving forward. I am also involved in a Bible Study on David and seeking a heart like his.

It is no coincidence that these things are in my life. In fact, when I look at the way God has bringing everything together, I cannot help but to be overwhelmed with awe-struck humility. I mean, who am I that God would care this much for me; that He would impart a spirit of wisdom and revelation in me; that He would choose me to bring you these words right now; that He would love me SO MUCH, He would sacrifice His only son's life for me? Awe-struck, truly.

So this gets me back to the well-meaning people and the revelation I had this morning while reading the scripture in Isaiah, which says: "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (53:4-5) The Holy Spirit revealed to me that like Christ, I am being pierced, crushed and punished for things that have nothing to do with anything that I did or did not do to God or others. And while man may say that I have been stricken, smitten or afflicted by God, this is a TOTAL LIE! By Christ's wounds I AM HEALED! I believe it and I claim it but like Christ, I have been allowed this burden because I am being called to help manifest a healing in others so that they can also have peace. THAT is a burden I will gladly bear. Praise God that He finds me worthy of such a task as this!

One last thing...while I almost did not write this blog because of the sheer terror of comparing myself to Christ, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am a Child of the King (Romans 8:17), a Saint (Deut 33:3), and that He calls me Holy (1 Peter 2: 9)! So I submitted my will to Him and let the Spirit do the talking. I pray, then, that you have received exactly what you needed to hear today. I know I did. God Bless you!

Always Hope

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