Monday, June 24, 2013

Welcoming the Sick into the Church

I saw this article today about fibromyalgia where it is now being admitted it is NOT all in your head. The medical community is just figuring this out decades later...

"Fibromyalgia, a painful condition affecting approximately 10 million people in the U.S., **is not imaginary after all**, as some doctors have believed."
This article underlines why the church has to become THE place where sick can go to for healing, comfort and love. We can't be judging them or disqualifying them for taking a disability check or telling them they don't have enough faith. The rest of the world already does a good job at demeaning the sick, so when they come to the church they don't have any patience for it anymore. They will quickly leave if they feel attacked! I have a soft heart for the sick probably because I've been sick practically my whole life to some degree and I know what they feel and I know what they go through. They did not choose to be sick. They did not think their sickness into existence. They were attacked without permission by the enemy and we need to treat them with LOVE, respect, dignity like Jesus did. Amen!

I don't think the church realizes how much the sick are abused on a daily basis. They are told that they are crazy, lazy for not working, a hypochondriac, "hyper vigilant", just stressed, having anxiety or really not sick at all... In reality they are actually sick, but the medical community has no cures or solutions for them, so they are labeled in these derogatory ways. Here's where it gets messed up, normal healthy people think the doctors labels are accurate, so they then treat the sick poorly too. Many who have not been sick in their lives, simply do not understand how messed up the medical system can be!

The sick are looking anywhere for some help! We as believers can step in and be that help! We are letting the new age, energy counterfeit medicines like acupuncture, mind medicine, energy crystals, energy tapping, chakras, yoga and many other treatments to take over where Jesus reigns above all of those ways. Sick people need to know the amazing story of what Jesus did! No expensive treatments required! lol Jesus is the most powerful and most high healer on earth and he paid the price for our healing. :)

The sick need real help, not just a "feel better about your sickness" pep talk. If they want that, they can go to Barnes and Noble and get that in the new age, self help section. Christianity is supposed to be different and I actually think we are bringing down our message with searching for root causes and making it about the person in front of us. It's always been about Jesus and his amazing, willingful sacrifice for us. He knew exactly what he was doing and he died before we were even born, so we could be saved, healed, delivered and set free. That's a pretty sweet deal!

With all of the stuff that has happened to me in my life, I don't want to focus on myself.  Every time I do that, the enemy sweeps in and tries to get me to stay in shame and condemnation. I'd much rather talk about Jesus, what he did and what he thinks of me! I get rather defensive when people want to talk about my past abuses. Instead of trying to tackle issues as if we were psychologists, we need to trust Holy Spirit to guide us and to heal those who have a hurting past.

I want the sick to have a safe haven with the church. We need to tell the sick they are loved by Jesus. We need to tell them that God did not do this to them. We need to tell them what God thinks of sickness! Many are in bondage over this issue because they think God made them sick for some higher purpose to suffer for him... We need to tell them the parasitic nature of sickness from Satan himself. He is the enemy of God, so he looks for anyone to devour and he attaches sickness to people without permission from God.

We have to stop being afraid to admit that some people are more anointed in healing and miracles than others. We don't seem to have this fear when it comes to other spiritual gifts. There are plenty of prophets, evangelists, singers, teachers and seers who willing place that title on themselves, but when it comes to healing, the church is simply terrified to embrace this. [I suspect this is because of the abuses that occurred from some of these "healers" in the past few decades]. Instead of running from power though, we need to embrace the power given to us by Holy Spirit whether that is prophecy, healing, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues etc. We are given these gifts by the grace of God to use so that we can build up the church and ultimately bring in the lost, sick and hurting. We believers of Christ give them real hope. We believers of Christ give them real life, real family and a real means of being free from the past and being free from sickness. We need to continue to give them the real Jesus!

Maybe what I'm saying is really bold, but this is really what was on my heart today for some reason. This might be a bit preachy and I'm sorry for that. I say all of this out of love and I want the church to be walking in such power that the world can't turn away and ignore us anymore! I feel like those days are coming.

As I was writing this today, I saw John Mellor post a testimony of a woman being healed of fibromyalgia and several other ailments... SO powerful! Thank you John for devoting your life to Christ and for your dedication to praying for the sick. You have been so instrumental in my healing journey! When I was getting beat up by some teachings, I just kept looking to John for encouragement each day. If any of you are not following him on Facebook, I highly recommend you do. Every day you will get wonderful healing testimonies and be encouraged!  :)

Video of her getting prayer-
Video of testimony afterwards-

I was teary eyed as I watched this and as she hugged her husband. I lost it! haha!!. The joy in her eyes after prayer is amazing. Thank you JESUS! AMEN!!!

And I write all of these posts as I am suffering with my own sicknesses. I am losing more vision. I woke up on Friday morning and had a large gray swath of vision, just gone. I prayed against it for a while and about 2 hours later it improved! There is a new blind spot in that eye and it can be scary to lose vision suddenly, but I have been hopeful despite all of the bad that's going on right now in my life. My financial struggles and health problems are not lord. Jesus is Lord and he will heal me and deliver me from all of this. I know it.

Everyone feel free to email me and comment. I love all of your emails. It's just awesome to hear from you all. :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Dangers of Doctrine Becoming Our Identity Instead of Jesus

Before I was saved, since I was sick I used to be very involved in the natural health, chronic illness communities. I used to be the one researching theories, coming up with ideas and trying out different treatment options. I knowingly and willingly made myself a guinea pig in hopes to finding something that may work for all of us.

Over the years I began noticing that people would almost immediately invest their personal identity into a diet, supplement regimen, treatment plan or even a doctor. Other followers would jump on the bandwagon and invest their personal identity in it as well.

When someone came to the group and told them they weren't getting better (or in some cases getting worse), instead of the group having compassion and saying  "I'm sorry this didn't work for you", it became about protecting the doctrine. The blame was always thrown to the sick person and all attention was made on what the sick person did not do right.

"Well you must not have done the diet right"
"I bet your veggies weren't organic"
 "You probably used the wrong form of B12"

They would throw out catch phrases like.

"Everyone sees results".
"Sometimes you get worse before you get better".

Others in the groups learned to regurgitate this and the cycle began over and over again. I have been guilty of this.

I'm seeing this same thing in the church when it comes to grace and healing doctrine. Now in this post I'm going to talk solely on healing.

Jesus is a Healer. No Doubt
One thing I want to make clear is that I believe Jesus is a healer. I believe that if Jesus touched you or me right now, we would be healed of all illnesses. POTS, CFS, blindness, lasting effects from a stroke, MS, arthritis, kidney disease and more. This is demonstrated many times throughout the Bible and throughout the ministry and life of Jesus.

As we look at different healing ministries, we can see that each have their own way of ministering healing prayer. I'm not even going to go into the specifics on those ways in this post.

Similar to the health communities, most churches or ministries set out some sort of plan for you to follow when seeking healing through Jesus. You are to believe in it, act on it and then be healed.

After you've tried the plan or done exactly what it calls for, if you are still not healed and you try to seek help, you will find the church in general is NOT very helpful or encouraging. [This has been my experience.] Immediately the sick person is put in a defensive position because what comes afterward is usually an onslaught of attacks of your character and faith.

"Well you can't possibly have done it all".
"You must have some doubts you don't want to admit to".
"Maybe there's some sin in your life that you just won't let go".
"You don't really believe in your heart Jesus is a healer."
"You probably haven't repented for something you've done".

The church believes if the sick wasn't healed by their approved doctrine, then something is wrong with that sick person. You are labeled as broken and then written off. 

Being a sick person in the church, especially in a church that believes in healing, it is a tough place to be. People become offended at you, simply because you are sick. They see you with sickness and immediately their personal doctrine of healing is attacked. You don't even have to say anything or even do anything...haha! People just become uncomfortable around you especially if you have limitations that are visible on the outside. If you have an invisible illness, you will just be ignored.

As I read online, many sick people are becoming jaded, bitter and completely giving up on getting prayer. Some have completely given up on Jesus being a healer and or have given up on believing in God!

It hurts me when I see people in this place, but I understand why they have come to that point.

When you get prayer from someone and nothing happens, it can be devastating when your healing is focused on man and on a teaching method. You are at a weak place and are looking for anything to comfort you. Unfortunately in those moments, the enemy is also there waiting to destroy you. Sometimes a misguided friend, minister or person at a church will speak lies to you from the enemy, which may be an attempt to shipwreck your journey with the Lord.  

"You must have some secret doubt about healing."
"You're faith is not sufficient for healing"
"You need to read this guy's teaching on healing!"
"Maybe you don't really want to be healed"
"You've made your sickness, your identity. That's the problem!"

If someone has said any of those things to you, I'm sorry that happened! However know that those words spoken to you were not from God.  The enemy can speak to us through other people. He tries to hurt you when you are down and he tries to hurt you when you are making progress too. He just wants to hurt you, period. The enemy will do whatever it takes to get you mad at God and away from seeking a closer relationship with Him!

Sick People Have to Ignore the Mean/Misguided Comments
Sadly the church is not walking in the same love as Jesus. Many people are trying, but we make a lot of mistakes and we say a lot of stupid things to sick people. Many don't believe you can be sick and believe in Jesus as a healer, so they will immediately attack your belief systems. Many don't believe you can be in the will of God for your life and be sick. Many don't believe that God may ask us to walk a journey with Him towards healing, so they say misguided and wrong things that are not true.

I have had my beliefs questioned almost at every healing meeting I've been to and these were from ministers who would deny that they do this to the sick. Who these ministers are in person is very different than what they show online in their videos and in their teachings. The sick must not let these ministers and their followers walk over them like a doormat. Be firm with your beliefs and stand mighty with God. It's important to truly know our identity in Christ and not just know the catchphrases and buzzwords. That way when someone says something dumb to you, you can just laugh it off and move on.

I've even seen people try to boast in the number of people they've seen healed. This only makes the sick person feel even worse because now you are not only telling the sick, something is wrong with them spiritually, you are also boasting.

"Well I've seen hundreds healed".
"Oh well I've seen several thousand healed"
"I see 90% of sick people healed" (You can usually prove this wrong in a single meeting)

As a sick person seeking healing, you have to learn to ignore these people who are in spiritual pride and to find those who have a balanced view of Jesus Christ as healing. You must find those who are encouraging, loving, kind and compassionate. There are people out there who don't blame the sick, but I admit, it is nearly impossible to find them. My advice is always keep seeking God for healing. Don't ever give up, no matter how long it takes and no matter how many prayers it takes. (Authors Edit: Since writing this post in 2013, I no longer go to meetings and get prayer from people because of the abuse I suffered. In Sept of 2013, the Lord called me out of that rat race and told me to get my eyes off of men and to look directly to Him. We obeyed the Lord in this. My husband and I still pray for each other and we continue to seek the Lord from our house, but we rarely if ever go to meetings).

The Church Is Abusing the Sick and Hurting
We tend to beat up the very people in our church coming for help, so it's no wonder the general public refuse to believe in healing and think it's a bunch of con artists. I have found many exaggerate their testimonies, inflate the number or percentage of people they have seen healed and generally blow things out of proportion to make themselves look good. This is all at the detriment of those who are truly suffering and sick.

The church as a whole says such awful things to sick people. You'll be told to read some guy's book, watch this video, go to this conference, but very rarely will you see people offer love, hope, encouragement or any real path for the sick to continue believing for their healing. We teach revelation and knowledge as a means to be healed instead of faith in Jesus Christ.

In the same way that people can make their health theories, sports or politics part of their identity, many have made their favorite healing ministers with their many "revelations" on healing a part of their identity too. For many people it actually ceases being about trusting Jesus and becomes about preaching some doctrine or revelation at whatever cost, no matter who it hurts. Our walks with the Lord are not a regimen like we see in the natural health communities. It is a faith walk that has risks, unknowns and where we are out of control. That means we won't always have perfect answers or have all the loose ends tied.  It's not a 10 step program. It is about knowing your identity through Christ and building your life around that foundation. It's about learning what it means to surrender our will to the Lord and letting His will become more important than what we want in our lives.

When we treat the sick inappropriately or say hurtful things, it directly affects how the sick perceive their Heavenly Father.

Instead of us representing God as good, loving, faithful and caring, many healing ministries are actually representing God as a jerk who is just waiting for us to meet some magical level of faith or revelation that's required to be healed.

It's important to remember throughout this journey that being healed is not the way we know that God loves us or cares about us. If it requires us being healed to know the love, kindness and goodness of God, then that is an unstable foundation that will likely be tested. We see the love of God that He sent His Son Jesus Christ, who then willing sacrificed and suffered for each of us on the cross.

Jesus is the perfect example of how we are to live our lives and minister to others. He was humble, bold, fiercely passionate and yet gentle towards the hurting and rejected. The church are to act as ambassadors of Christ, speaking to HIS people and pleading with them on God's behalf to be reconciled to Him. Whenever our own motives start getting in the way, it becomes more about "doctrine" instead of about Jesus and what he did. Then is when we get into big trouble and can lead people to destructive teachings.

When we tell sick, hurting people inaccurate healing theologies, we are in fact pushing people away from God and setting them up to be disappointed.

Most sick people aren't solid in their relationship with God, so ministers should be building them up in that instead of questioning those areas. I've read countless posts on Facebook and on blogs of people who at one time were seeking prayer for healing and gave up after friends, ministers and people in their church told them how effortless and easy it was to receive healing, only to be disappointed time and time again. Their hope and faith were completely stolen from them and many went to just give up on healing altogether because it was a harder journey than they were prepared to walk.

A Healing Ministry Is About Compassion for the Sick
Praying for healing has never been about us or our ministry. It is about the love of God and wanting to set people free and God wanting to see His children healed. God does not heal because our doctrine is right or because the sick person has"perfect doctrine". We need to take the burden off the sick people. Jesus being a healer is supposed to be good news. Not bad news!

I feel we have placed such a huge burden on sick people and have forgotten about the love and compassion that Jesus had for all. We seem to remember Jesus flipped over tables and yelled at the Pharisees, but we forget that he is also the same person who would go out of his way to help others.  Jesus was looking to rest and pray after hearing John the Baptist was killed, but when he saw the sick, brokenhearted people coming towards him, he was moved with compassion! Instead he went out to help those people in need and even stayed to feed them. This is where the miracle of feeding 5000 took place. Matthew 14

We have so much hurt and frustration in our own hearts about the disappointments we have seen in life, that we can't clearly see to comfort or understand others when they are hurting.

Colossians 3:1-4

1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Let's just be more careful with the way we say things to each other. An unbalanced view of healing can be extremely detrimental to the sick and when these teachings become part of our identity, not only do we hurt ourselves, but also every single sick person we come in contact with.

We have to keep praying and keep an open ear for the Holy Spirit to guide us as we do. Sometimes the Holy Spirit may tell us things we don't want to hear. That was certainly the case with my husband and I when the Lord told us to "wait" for our healing. Perhaps some of the frustration that ministers and sick people have is because we refuse to accept what the Lord is telling us?

If you've been seeking prayer for healing, please comment!! Those who have been rejected by others, please email me. I want to keep in touch with you to encourage you to keep moving forward. Take care. God Bless!

Updated 2016- My beliefs have changed drastically over the last few years, so I decided to clean this article up. Thank you Jesus that you opened my eyes to the unstable foundations I had built my house upon and have now corrected my path.