Thursday, October 16, 2014
In my morning times with the Lord I've been reading through the Old Testament. Looking again at the history of God's dealings with His people, it jumps out that God was angered with ancient Israel because of their idolatry, their stiff-necked rebellion, and their unbelief.
Psalm 78 recounts the children of Israel's sagas of skepticism. Even after God had dramatically caused water to gush from the rock, the people essentially said, "Yeah, He produced water but I'll bet He can't give us meat in this wilderness." It was posited in the form of a half-mocking question: "Can God spread a table in the desert?" (Psa. 78:19, NIV).
God's response to their faithlessness was swift and strong. "Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His deliverance" (Psa. 78:21-22).
God demonstrated His authority over the environment with a deluge of manna and a blinding rain of quail. He also gave these skeptics something else -- spiritual famine. "He gave them their request [for meat], but sent leanness into their soul" (Psa. 106:15).
Here is the Psalmist's verdict: "How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again, they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (Psa. 78:40-41). Their unbelief thwarted their own deliverance. In this sense, they limited God. That's one indictment I don't want over my life.
These Old Testament stories "were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Ro. 15:4). A serious caveat unfolds from these stories for our situation and our times. There is way too much "wilderness whining" coming out of people, churches, and ministries. "Well, with the economy the way it is . . ." "In this kind of climate, we can't even think about growing; we're just trying to hold our own." "Obviously, we'll have to cut back." Confessions of faith are being subverted by declarations of doubt.
Are we making God angry? Are we limiting the Holy One of Israel?
Life sees to it that we walk through some deserts. But while we may be walking through the desert we are not subject to the desert. We belong to another Kingdom and we are subject only to King Jesus. While others die from the blazing heat, we live under God's protective cloud. While those not in covenant with God perish from the cold, we are warmed by a pillar of fire. God provides and spreads a table in our desert!
You may have lost your job. Your investments may have tanked. But I have a message for you. If you belong to Jesus Christ you're going to get through this! You're not going to starve. Your needs will be met. And there's a Promised Land in your future!
Let's not tempt God by unbelief. Let's not limit the Holy One of Israel. Watch your words -- and trust your King for supernatural protection and abundant provision.
Monday, October 6, 2014
It is important for us as believers to realize that healing was provided for us on the very same basis as forgiveness of sins and salvation. Healing is in the atonement. Divine healing was promised to us by prophecy in the very same verse that declares our salvation.
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
You can see clearly in this passage, the twofold aspect of our redemption—our healing was provided by Jesus beating at the whipping post and our freedom and forgiveness from sin was provided by His death on the cross.
The prophetic fulfillment of this promise was foreshadowed by Jesus’ earthly ministry:
Mat 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
Mat 8:17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
We as believers can minister healing to others with the same confidence we present the message of salvation. We do not have to pray for some special anointing, as we already have the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Nor do we need a special leading or “word” from God. While some do ,in fact have a “Gift” of healing, we as believers simply need to recognize and acknowledge that healing is part of our purpose and calling.
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
We have a commission to minister the Gospel to the world and the whole Gospel message includes the reality of Divine Healing. The Apostle Paul made this clear in his letter to the Romans.
Rom_15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The Gospel presented without signs and wonders, is NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to adjust our thinking and realize that this ministry is our responsibility, and is not to be limited to some sort of “professional clergy.” Our pastors are given to us for the purpose of traing and equipping US to do the work of the ministry.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Not only do these verses make it clear that we as believers are the ones responsible for the ministry of signs and wonders; they also emphasize that the five-fold ministry will endure until the coming of Christ at which time we will be perfected.
We see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Peter’s letter to the Church:
1Pe_2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
We can go forth in confidence bringing the full Gospel message of salvation, healing and deliverance. This is not only our privilege, it is our responsibility. We are accountable to God for what we do with our Great Commission. We can no longer sit by and leave this to others. It is time for saints to rise up and take our place in the world with the message and ministry of reconciliation.
2Co_5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;