Thursday, January 31, 2013

Position Yourself For A Miracle- John Mellor

Since I've been posting things I was not liking out of some ministries, I figured, I needed to post some of the things I do like. Not all ministries are being condemning to the sick.

I really like what John Mellor from Australia has to say about preparing yourself to receive a miracle. Watch this 2 part video.

Part 1
1) Jesus is the healer (Isaiah 53:4-5)
2) Unbelief- True faith is a decision to believe. You cannot reason out a miracle.
3) Confess Sin and Forgive others
4) God loves a Desperate Heart- You can't separate desperation from miracles in the Bible.
5) Willing to pay price for miracle-Giving up disability, benefits, compensations etc
6) Do you want to be healed? Wrong doctrines and attitudes about sickness and healing. Be persistent
7) Your words are important. Words of life. Nothing is too hard for God to heal.

Part 2
8) Don't allow disappointment to take you out. After several prayers this can set in. It can become a barrier. (This is a tough one!!!)
9) Forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice.  Jesus took this on the cross for all.
10) Persistence. Just keep going! Even if you've been prayed for 100 times, today is a new day.

I really just love how encouraging John is to the sick. You really don't hear this encouragement from most ministries in the US.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Where's the Love and Compassion for the Sick?

Life with a chronic illness is tough. Not only because of the limitations it brings, but because of the horrible things people say to you about your illness. You ignore it mostly and get over it, but sometimes it can be too much to bear. You tend to keep your sickness to yourself and only tell people when it's absolutely necessary.

Once I learned of the healing power provided to us through Jesus, I thought people in the church and those who believed in laying their hands on the sick would be more understanding about illness. We have the life of Jesus to look upon for how to treat the sick.
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14
However, I found many do not understand. Sadly, some are downright rude and condescending. They may quote a scripture, but there is nothing loving about what they are saying. :(

A lot of the things said, makes it seem as if some think that a sick person wants to be sick...When was the last time you had a conversation with your friends about wanting sickness in your life?
 "I really want a debilitating, illness with no cure to take over my life! That would be a great experience."
Thinking that sick people want to stay sick or it's their fault in some way is terrible. Jesus did not do this.

I have two general rules:
1) If you would not say what you are about to say to the mother of a child with an illness, then do not say that to an adult with an illness. The age of the person suffering does not change things. If that child did not "deserve" the illness, then neither did the adult. 

2) If you are about to condemn a sick person, by telling them they aren't thinking right, don't have enough faith or something else, then you better be able to use your great faith, lay your hands on that person right now and heal them. Otherwise whatever you are about to tell them is just self-righteousness and not part of Jesus' ministry. 

People who are saying these types of things to sick people, please re-examine your intentions. Why are you saying these things at all?  What are you trying to convey? What effect are you really having on this person?

Most of the time, the stuff said is not from a place of love, compassion and understanding. It is out of self-righteousness and ignorance.

Some people have made it about themselves.
"I'm healthy and feel great, so why aren't you?" "Why can't you just receive your healing?"
If you are in good health and feel you are being called to pray and minister to the sick, please do not look at your own good circumstances and try to apply that to the sick people you are ministering to. Praise God for your good health!! However never ever ever think that these people have poor faith, a bad relationship with God, a curse or something "blocking" their healing. If we start to think and minister like that, we will begin to resent the sick and never have faith for anyone's healing.

Whenever you see a sick or lost person...Imagine them as a child of God needing YOUR help. They are looking for someone to care enough to give them a hand that will do whatever it takes to pull them out of their situation.

Don't just look at a sick person and tell them every reason why they shouldn't be sick.

Here's a few examples of what I mean.

"You know you have already been healed. Now you just need to reach for it and receive!"
"Jesus died for you 2000 years ago, it's finished and done! Just take it!"

Yes, I agree with everything above. However practically speaking what does that mean to a sick person who is struggling with getting that healing? Instead of telling them why they should already be healed (when they aren't), how about grab that person by the hand and bring them the power of God. If you can't bring them that healing through your own faith, then dare I say, you don't have any right to say anything about their faith.

The very last thing a sick person needs to hear is more condemnation. Think for a moment the amount of condemnation that is presently in a sick person's life. They likely feel they are letting their family and friends down. They are unable to fulfill obligations or support the household due to their illness. They have had to let go a lot of the things they love in life.

The sickness itself is doing a good enough job.

Sick people do not need someone to lay it on even thicker. It's not going to make the sick person feel good and will likely leave them worse off than before they talked to you. Sick people don't need reminded of the things they can't do.

Condemning Messages Aimed at the Sick

Below I'm going to go through some things I have seen online or read from people about healing that I feel need paid some attention.

"Every moment you spend sick is another moment you are not accessing Christ as the healer. Jesus is always Jehovah Rapha. Healing always is. We can access this provision at any time. Healing always is...its always flowing...its always on"

I like a lot of what Curry Blake says, but not this phrase.

The is just so very condemning. I don't even think people realize it.
"Every moment YOU spend sick is another moment YOU are not accessing Christ as the healer....We can access this at ANY time".

This is pretty much saying, it is your fault for not getting healed. Since it is soo easy and accessible at any time, so why haven't you figured it out yet? As if any sick person has CHOSEN to be sick in the first place. This line also makes it seem as if you just repeat a phrase and then you are healed.

Sadly many healthy people in the faith movement actually believe this... They honestly believe that receiving a healing is as easy as repeating the phrase..."Jesus you are my healer!"

"Sick people are needs driven and should not seek prayer and go "person to person".

This one was in a video posted on Youtube from a Power and Love conference. The concept behind this sermon would have been great if sickness and an example of a shoulder injury had been left out of it entirely. I really love Dan and Todd, but I have some issues with this message.

First world problems and sickness are not equal.

You cannot compare someone being upset for getting stuck in traffic or "having a bad day" to someone looking for prayer because they have Parkinson's. You cannot compare someone going to a conference "for an experience" with someone looking for prayer because they have epilepsy. It's absolutely wrong.

Jesus did not do this. He did not tell the multitude they were too needs driven, leaving them hurting or making them feel bad for wanting to receive prayer for their ailments.
Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. (Matthew 15:30)
Sickness should never be used to gauge a person's faith or relationship with God. 

If we start to conclude that healthy people have great faith and sick people have bad faith, we are going down a slippery slope. Sickness is from the enemy and never from our Heavenly Father, so how can we blame the sick person for wanting prayer to get rid of it? Because of this video, we have people regurgitating this message and telling sick people to not go "person to person" for prayer.

What is a sick person supposed to do then? Most of the time the answer is "Keep the faith". "Just keep pursuing Christ"

Ok, you can still receive prayer from people and be seeking Christ and keeping faith. You don't have to be doing one without the other. In fact, if you continue to seek prayer after not seeing anything at all, that's a level of faith most people have not experienced.

It's harder to stand in faith for a healing when you aren't feeling healed and constantly dealing with symptoms.

The reasons why sick people look for "a person" today are the exact reasons why people brought their children, friends and family to the disciples in the Bible. They heard the stories of miracles and came in faith to see what was going on. If someone with a sickness goes to "see a person" who is representing Christ Jesus, then it is not this weird idolizing/idolatry thing. It is about a sick person having an elder in the church to pray the prayer of faith for healing.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
(James 5:14-15)
One of my biggest concerns with the Power and Love Conferences is that it is encouraged to pray for a stranger on the street, a waitress in Applebees, a store clerk or random person in a cast at Wal-mart, but if it is someone who has attended your own conference or in your own church, then they are just needy and should not be asking for prayer. This is unacceptable.

If we look in the Bible, Jesus admired people who traveled, were determined and asked for prayer. He considered it great faith, not neediness.

*In the story of the Gentile woman's daughter. The message was not yet for the Gentiles and yet this woman persevered and actually argued a bit with Jesus. What did Jesus do? He was pleased with her determination and faith. He did not get upset with her nor send her away...
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
(Matthew 15:21-28)
*In the story of the woman with the blood disorder for 12 years, she fought her way to touch Jesus' garment and was instantly healed. Jesus saw this determination and was pleased with her faith.
And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.  And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
(Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48)
*In the story of the epileptic boy, the boy's father brought him to the disciples, but he was not healed. Instead of the father giving up, he went to Jesus himself. The father was persistent in his faith and went to see Jesus himself. It paid off because Jesus immediately rebuked the spirit and the boy was healed.
Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
(Matthew 17:14-18; Mark 9:17-27; Luke 9:37-42)
If sick people are going "person to person" to seek healing, then that means the church is failing these sick people. Don't get mad at the sick for being persistent in their healing. It might just be the 45th prayer that finally breaks a person free.

As I wrote that, I am reminded of the video I recently posted of a woman with MS. I'm glad she didn't get told to give up and stop getting prayer. She might not have been healed.

I love this quote from her in the video at 17:19. 
"No matter how many prayers, you need to have, never stop praying and stop going to get prayer because it might be that 50th prayer, 49th prayer that breaks through and so I just want to encourage you to keep going."

To that I say, Amen sister! :) 

If we start telling sick people to stop getting prayer, then how many will remain in sickness their whole lives? Are we too easily accepting a "no" when we pray?

If you found out today, you were diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis, would you be willing to be one of those who remained sick? Who was told they were being too needy?

Think about it.

"Just receive your healing" "By His stripes you are healed! You are healed!" 
"You may need to walk out your healing"

This one is probably going to make some people a bit angry. Let me explain what I am saying with this before people have a panic attack!

Having a healing manifest is not as simple as repeating scripture over and over again. Many point to these scriptures in reference to "believing" for your healing.
"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."
(Mark 11:24)
"And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
(Matthew 21:22)
These scriptures don't mean you need to recite passages over and over again to convince yourself of healing. It also doesn't mean you have to pretend you are healed even when you are having symptoms in that very moment.

I have had people pray for me and then tell me I was healed, even though I was not. Ugh...I really don't like that at all.

I think those with illnesses that cannot be seen from the outside are more likely to be victims of this "pretend you are healthy" message. We don't need to lie about the healing power of God. He is plenty capable of miracles!

There is a difference between believing and pretending. I'm going to touch upon those as quickly as possible here.

Believing  that it is God's will to heal is different than pretending God has healed. Believing in a healing doesn't mean I have to walk around and disregard what I'm feeling.
"I'm having a really bad day, so I need to use my walker, but I know Jesus is my healer and I will get through this."
Pretending you have been healed when you are not is actually dangerous. Some people may stop taking medication because they are pretending to be better. Some people may try to walk without assistance of a wheelchair or walker. Do not do this unless you are actually better.

Some will point to specific scriptures and draw wrong conclusions from the scriptures. If Jesus told a person to get up, then some say that you have to ignore your sickness and "work" for your healing.

Essentially some are telling people to stop "focusing on symptoms" and just "live your life" and then you will be healed. Basically this kind of teaching is only discouraging because it is about what YOU are doing. It is about what you are feeling and what you are thinking. The more you ignore symptoms, then the more pleased Jesus is with you...

This is not in the Bible any where. Jesus never once said that to a single person.

Even before I knew Jesus, I was already ignoring my symptoms and trying to live life as best as I could!... I have always said to myself, what other choice does a sick person have other than taking their own life? A new day will dawn and they will continue to the next.

Telling people to pretend will only make a sick person more frustrated and confused. Many people who push this idea wrongly mistaken this as faith, but I think it is quite the opposite. How long does a person need to pretend until they see results? 1 week? 10 weeks? a year? 5 years?

In time those who are only pretending for a healing, will be completely distraught as they get worse and worse. This is when you have people begin to question God's will for healing, get mad and think that God must have given them their sickness to teach them a lesson.

There is a difference between believing and pretending. I can very easily test if I am actually doing better by just standing up. If my heart rate increases, then I am not healed.  

I don't need to hurt myself or convince myself into a healing. Jesus is not MIND MEDICINE. 

Mind medicine is the exact opposite of Jesus because it is all about being self-focused and self-aware. Is this about what Jesus did or is it about your abilities?

Symptoms are real. I think telling people to "pretend" is insincere and discouraging.

If the sick person has been trying to receive a healing for some time, telling them over and over again to just receive is insincere. Please read rule number 2 from above. If you have it figured out, then just lay your hands on them and minister to them for a healing! That simple! YAY!

But it is not that simple, so that is why these new catch phrases and taglines are created.

This has got quite long. Wow. However, I really think we need to step back for a minute and really see what it is we are conveying to the sick. Is it truly encouragement? Is it what we see in Jesus' ministry?

No one knows all of the answers to healing, but I think we need to re-examine what we say to the sick.

We need to get back to having real compassion for people. Encourage them. Call them unexpectedly and tell them you want to pray for them. If they are unable to get prayer on their own because of their illness, offer to pray for them in their house. Pick them up and take them to local healing services.

I really think if we hang around with the sick more and understand what it is they actually go through on a daily basis, we will grow up into Christ. We will start to see people with love and compassion just as Jesus did.

Sick people don't need to feel better about their illness, they need a miracle.