I had my time periods of being extremely anti-name-&-claim and anti-word of faith movement.
As a child, I remember watching” Alive” with my family. This movie is based on a 70’s plane crash survivor story known as “Miracle in the Andes”. Being so young, the only things that stuck out to me were the mountains, the cold temperatures, the plane crash, and the cannibalism the survivors had to do to survive for weeks without food. But there was so much more to the story.
I just finished watching the movie some days ago as a 27 year old, spirit-filled adult. And the movie was so much richer than I’m sure even the director intended. God blessed me to open my eyes to the wonderful insights and rich revelations one could glean from that movie.
The movie starts out with a man sucking on a cigarette saying that he was given a glimpse to another aspect of God. For the longest, he was introduced to the God that lets wonderful things happen to us and our loved ones. The God who protects us from harm and danger. The God who shields us from frightening experiences and events. But he said that for those 71 days they were stranded on that glacier in the Andes, he saw God in a new way. He saw the God that we must all become acquainted with in one way or the other. The God who is more concerned with our character than our comfort.
Let me give you the backdrop. This plane was coming from South Africa headed to a game in Chile with a rugby team and some other passengers. There were forty-three persons on board. The co-pilot warned the chief pilot not to fly in the storm. They were above the storm clouds at first and were just 20 minutes from landing, but the pilot did not listen. Warning comes before destruction. He went below the clouds, and the rest is history.
This rugby team was portrayed as fun-loving, playful young men who were naïve and girl-hungry like most young men today. They were running around tossing things to each other while smiling. They were totally unsuspecting of the horrors they would face in just minutes and for days. Next thing they knew, the right wing of the plane ran into a mountain and was broken off. This resulted also in the tail of the plan coming off taking passengers along with it. A few other passengers on the first half of the plane were sucked off and plunged to their death while seat-belted to their seats by the force and gravity as they were thousands of feet above ground. The passengers who were still on board just waited for the inevitable crash. Fortunately, the first half of the plane did not nose-dive, but rather it slid down a snowy slope that eventually landed on a sturdy glacier. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of their horrors.
The injuries sustained from the crash killed some people immediately and left others in agony longing for death to alleviate their pains. Others died from hypothermia, frost-bite, gangrene, starvation, and despair. And just when they thought it could get no worse, they had to unwillingly resolve to eating the frozen flesh of their friends’ carcasses to survive. But when it rains it pours. An avalanche was unleashed and headed their way. And because the opening of their plane was facing the avalanches direction, they lost more people who suffocated in the snow. One man lost his mind and a few came close to it because of the utter despair of the situation. To make matters worse, they saw two planes fly overhead without seeing them. To make matters worse, they had to cope with the news that the search parties had been called off. Everyone had given up hope for them. All hope seemed to be lost.
Remember the God the man in the beginning of the movie said he met in the Andes? That’s the same God you and I will be forced to meet some day if we haven’t already. This God will be the God who seems to let negative circumstances snowball on you when you LEAST need it. First, the snowstorm. Then the plane crash. Then the loss of friends and family. Then the freezing temperatures. Then the first plane misses you. Then more loss of friends. Then the starvation. Then the more loss of friends. Then the second plane misses you. Then the hopelessness and despair. Then you hear the search party is called off. Then you have to eat the friends you just lost. Then the avalanche hits. Can it get any worse? Why God?
But just know that God is sovereign. You don’t think God knew they were 20 minutes from landing? You don’t think God didn’t know they didn’t have enough food on the plane? You don’t think God didn’t know they were not adequately clothed to endure the freezing temperatures? You don’t think God didn’t know that the avalanche was coming? God was sovereign over every event. He could have prevented any one of the factors of the Andes plane crash had He seen fit. But He allowed it. He allowed 29 people to do horrible deaths. And He allowed 16 people to live. Why just those 16?
Sounds like survival of the fittest to me.
Those 16 people lived to tell the story. They lived to tell people about the God they met in the Andes. They lived to tell people that it was possible to live 71 torturous days in freezing temperatures without food or hope. And who knows how much longer they could have lived out there.
I believe that the God of the Andes lets us endure similar situations for the same reasons. He puts us through difficult circumstances because we are proof of survival of the fittest. We prove to others that it is possible to go through a sucky ordeal for a long time and yet still be a survivor. You might not have had been through something as traumatic, but you’ve been through your own private hell. You’ve gone to hell and back. Why didn’t God just leave you there? Because He needed your testimony. Rather, He knew of some people who needed it.
But He also wanted you to learn something about yourself. Doubtless, NONE of these 16 men thought they could survive a plane crash, let alone freezing, let alone starving, let alone an avalanche, let alone for 71 days! God knows what you can bear. He knows just how much you can bear. Who knows? These men might could have survived for 100 days in the plane wreckage. But 71 days sufficed. As for these 16 men, I bet there is NOTHING these men think they can’t do, endure, survive, or handle. They must feel invincible with God! I’m sure they are fearless men who have gone on to accomplish much. God will let you go through hell and back just to prove to you against your own doubts that you are stronger in God than you ever gave yourself credit for.
God knows you can handle more than you think you can’t handle. So just when you think God ought to stop with the trials, God knows how much further He can go. You wanted to stop at first grade, but God knows that what He put in you can take you all the way to a doctoral degree. He’s more concerned with your character than your comfort. He’s more concerned with you knowing that other side of God than you being content with knowing the Santa Claus version of God who fits into your cookie-cutter mold. You either have gone through, are currently going through, or will go through. But you are strong. You will survive. You can endure more than you think can for LONGER than you think you can. If God puts you to it, He must have known you could do it.
Sometimes, religion can be a good thing…
While on my lunch break, I called a friend of mine who is an unbeliever. He jokingly said that I was religious. I told him that I was not. And I usually take offense to be being called religious. I usually say, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual/I have relationship.” But this time, instead of being cliché, I proceeded to explain to him the difference between a person who has a close relationship with God and a person who is just religious without any true relationship with God. We often hear this as Relationship vs. Religion. Just recently there was a very popular YouTube video that became viral overnight. It’s called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. The video was spoken word poetry by a young Christian man who was basically saying why he hated the Christianity religion, and yet retained all of his love for Jesus and the church. He received many likes on the video from people who were disillusioned with church rituals. (Here’s the link to the YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY)
Many believers are growing tired of the Christianity religion and its rituals. Wake up at 9:15am on Sunday morning. Get dressed. Drive to church. Let the ushers direct you to your seat. Stand up when the pastor says to. Pay what the pastor tells you to. Pray when the pastor says to. Fast every two weeks. Pay 10% of each paycheck. Eat this communion wafer. Drink this communion juice. Sing this song. Clap and sway this way. Come to the altar to repent. Come to bible study on Tuesday. Read the bible for 15 minutes every night. Listen to this worship CD on your way to work…Repeat.
I’ve done this ritual for almost my entire life. And lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of people say that so many people have RELIGION, but no RELATIONSHIP. They say religion as if it is profanity or if it is to despised. But while talking to my unbelieving friend, I realized quickly that religion – but more specifically RITUALS – is not always a bad thing. In fact, they can be a blessing.
I told my friend that a ritual can be anything that you do at a certain time over a long period of time. I used hygiene as a good example. For example, every morning, many adults wake up and hop in the shower or the tub. Then they brush their teeth. Then they apply deodorant. If they are not African-American, they usually wash their hair while in the shower. They do this EVERY morning RELIGIOUSLY. When people use the word “religiously”, they mean that a person does a certain activity CONSISTENTLY and FREQUENTLY. Without frequency and consistency, MOST things in your life will be ineffective and inefficient. If you apply consistency and frequency to just everyday routines, it will even help propel you into greatness. Greatness is not just achieved by being born with skill or even by sheer luck. Greatness at anything is usually achieved through practice (which is another way of looking at consistency and frequency).
Consistency denotes someone doing a particular thing every time. Some people get their oil changed on their car consistently whenever the mechanic tells them to. They do it on time every time they are told to change their oil. Some people pay “tithes” consistently. Whatever the Sunday is after they get their paycheck, they give 10% of their income. They do it EVERY Sunday after payday WITHOUT FAIL. But if someone pays tithes on every third paycheck, and then every first paycheck, and then every tenth paycheck, and then every second paycheck, then that is not CONSISTENCY. It has to be every time at the same time to be considered consistent.
Frequency denotes someone dong a particular thing OFTEN. If you have a particular type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, you wash your hands FREQUENTLY. Consistently washing your hands may just be washing your hands after every trip to bathroom, before meals, after meals, and after sneezing or coughing on your hands. But washing one’s hands FREQUENTLY could mean every 5 minutes. Some people pray FREQUENTLY. They don’t just pray at meals and before going to bed at night. Some people pray whenever they get a minute to get alone with God. Some people pray when in their car alone. Some people pray in the bathroom. Some people pray on their lunch breaks. Some people pray while talking their walk. These people pray FREQUENTLY.
Well, consistency and frequency are two important factors in the Christianity religion. If you don’t do Christian “rituals” consistently and frequently, then you will not be referred to as a religious person. People who only go to church on Christmas Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter will not be considered as people who attend church consistently or frequently. So if you remove CONSISTENCY and FREQUENCY from Christianity, what have you? Well, you’d have some pathetic Christians.
I work with toddlers at my job. They tell us to change our gloves after every diaper change/nose wipe. But how great would our hygiene be if we only changed our gloves after every second diaper change/nose wipe? Then after every fifth diaper change/nose wipe? Then after every third diaper change/nose wipe? Then after every tenth diaper change/nose wipe? We would putting one child’s feces on another child. We’d be putting the germs of one child’s mucus on another child. And what if that next child’s whose nose you wipe has a weakened immune system? And because of your INCONSISTENT handwashing this child catches a very serious disease? Change your gloves/wash your hands/use hand sanitizer after EVERY diaper change and nose wiping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. I will be ineffective as a child care provider if I do not use consistency.
How great would your hygiene be if you brushed your teeth twice according to the following schedule: April 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 25, 29? Your breath would smell horrible and being near you would be unbearable! Notice the consistency though. It is every four days. That is consistent. But it’s not frequent enough! You will have inefficient dental hygiene if you do not use frequency.
So we can see in the natural that there are very practical ways in which consistency and frequency are beneficial to humans. But let’s apply this to our spiritual well-being. I can speak from personal experience. When I pray inconsistently and infrequently, things go awry in my life. But those days in which I pray first thing in the morning, talk to God on my way to work, and pray before bed, I have an AMAZING DAY and next day. I ASSURE YOU, when I do not pray as consistently and frequently, I have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. So because of this Praying “Ritual”, I know what works and what doesn’t work in my faith walk. I know that praying for five seconds before rushing out of the door to work DOES NOTHING FOR ME OR GOD. But I now know what works.
When it comes to fasting, I have my Fasting “Ritual”. I fast every first day of the month. I eat or drink nothing for the entire 24 hours. (I had to make an exception for April 1st because my church had communion today and because I had to take an important medicine, but other than those things, I ate or drank nothing else.) I have done this for January, February, March, and April. And take me at my word, I cannot describe the blessings I have received from being faithful to the commitment I’ve made to God for this year of 2012 of abstaining for the 1st of each month. I know from the Old Testament that my God likes receiving the first of things – first-born sons and first fruits of a harvest – so I decided to give Him more attention on the first day of each month (so of course that included the first day of the year) than I did every other day of the month. I couldn’t imagine the blessings He’s bestowed on me because of the first day of the month fasts.
And with regards to church attendance, I go to church every Sunday and most Tuesdays for bible study. I love going to church. And I’m not going to be religious and ritualistic. I’m going because every time I go to church, I get blessed. I’ve found that church always leads me to a spiritual blessing. So since I’ve learned to associate church with blessings, I just add one word before church and before blessings. Consistent church attendance = Consistent blessings. Now, I don’t always get blessed as I would like especially when I visit different churches on Sundays or Tuesdays, but I usually do. So religiously and ritualistically attending church can cause you to be frequently and consistently blessed. If God told you that every time you went to church that He had a blessing waiting for you there, how often would you go? Let me guess… You would probably go CONSISTENTLY and FREQUENTLY. You would attend church religiously. Observers would say that you attend church as if it were a ritual. But you wouldn’t care because unlike them, you are being consistently and frequently blessed.
Now if you are going to a dead church without the spirit of God working through the members and the pastor, then don’t expect to be consistently and frequently blessed. But if you are connected to the right “activity” and the right people consistently and frequently, then expect God to bless you “religiously”!
How would you feel if you had a husband or wife or child or best friend who you only heard from every 5 weeks? That relationship would suffer tremendously and bring a lot of resentment and hurt to you. What if you worked a job where your paychecks were not consistent? The boss paid you every ten days, after that every 3 days, after that every 40 days, after that every 2 days, after that every 180 days? You’d not stay at that job for long!
So as we see, in order for your relationships, health, and Christian walk to be EFFECTIVE and EFFICIENT, it must have consistency and frequency. Religion is characterized by consistency and frequency. If you already have relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, then religion can sometimes consistently help the relationship and frequently keep the door open for the Holy Spirit to continue moving in your life.
What would happen if we obeyed God and allowed/asked Jesus to add His “super” to our natural works? In both syntax and semantics, we’d have SUPERNATURAL WORKS. The bible says that God is able to do EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY more than we can ask or think. And not just that, but also ABOVE. Whatever the most you can IMAGINE God being able to do for you is, just know that God can do sooooooo much more than that. In a true account that happened about 2,000 years ago, we can see what happened when man exhausted their efforts, energy, time, and hope and then encountered a Super Savior.
Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…
John 21 1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”…
We see that the 7 disciples had plans to catch some fish, but in their own efforts, they caught nothing. Then Jesus. Jesus came on the shore and asked a question that He already knew the answer to. Sometimes God will ask you a question that He already knows the answer to, just so that you are verbally admitting 100% that the answer is what God already knows it to be. Once you two agree on that truthful answer, then He can begin to work super in your life. When God asks a question, tell Him the truth. He’s only trying to release a blessing to you.
So anywho, the disciples answered truthfully with a, “No.”That released Jesus to operate in their life. So the next thing Jesus does is give them a directive. It is rare that God is in a relationship with a human without giving them direction. God will tell you what He wants you to do next to receive a blessing from Him. So Jesus tells the disciples to throw their net on the right side of the boat. Maybe the 7 disciples had already tried the right side of the boat, but maybe Jesus told them to try it again to show them that their natural can’t accomplish the same thing that His super can. You can have done something a hundred times already and it ends up unsuccessful, but you can try ONE LAST TIME after God says to do it, and watch what happens. You can have went to marriage counselor after marriage counselor after marriage counselor to repair your severely damaged marriage, and then God can say, “Don’t hire a divorce attorney. Try this counselor again.” And that could make all the difference in your marriage. If God says to do it, just as verse 6 says, “you WILL find some”. You WILL find some (help). God is able to do the seemingly impossible.
The next verse says that the 7 disciples OBEY Jesus. Don’t expect the blessing if you don’t obey the directive. Had they not done exactly as Jesus said – casting the next on the right side of their fishing boat, they would have not received the exceeding, abundant blessing. And check this blessing out! It was so abundant that they were not even able to receive all of it in their own strength! God can bless your obedience so good that you will not have room enough to receive! Let’s see what the Old Testament has to say in this regard. In the Old Testament, the Jews paid tithes. They were commanded to pay tithes by God. Let’s see what happened when they obeyed this old testament commandment.
Malachi 3:10 – Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Was there literally not room enough to receive the fish blessing? God said to prove Him in that. Even though tithing is Old Testament and is no longer commanded of believers, I still believe that God will bless those who obey Him in other commands He gives. Here is a New Testament bible verse on how God will bless people abundantly.
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
This verse says that when you obey God, He will have it so that people give to you a good amount that is pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Reminds me of my job where I feed one of my baby students Enfamil powered milk. The directions say not to pack down the powder when you measure it because it would mean that more powdered milk would be put into the measuring cup. Well when God allows others to give back to you, it’ll be like packed down powder! Ever heard of pressed powder in foundation (face make-up)? That powder is pressed down really tight. So you actually get more powder than you would have had the powder foundation been loose. We’ve all put liquid into a measuring cup. And we’ve all had it overflow out of the cup. That’s how God can give unto us or have others give unto us! And that is exactly what happened in this passage because of 7 obedient, holy men.
And they were SO abundantly blessed that they were not able to pull in the harvest on their own. Some other disciples had to come into the boat to help drag this heavily loaded net full of fish to the shore. And then Jesus was ready and waiting for to help them enjoy the blessings. He already had a fire burning for them to cook the harvested fish upon! He told them to bring some of the blessing fish so that they could eat it for breakfast. Wow, Jesus! Did they really need 153 for 7 men to have a decent breakfast? Why not just 21 fish so that they could have 3 each? And verse 9 says Jesus already had some fish and bread out there!
And last but not least, even though God blessed them with SO many fish, it was amazing and noteworthy that the net did not break. Perhaps this net was only made to contain 50 average-sized fish. This here net held 153 LARGE fish and did not break. God will enlarge your territory so that you can contain what He wants you to have!
So the purpose of this blog note? To show you how blessed you can be when you obey God. To show you that when you’re at the end of YOUR rope, there is still hope if Jesus steps into your situation. To show you that God WANTS to bless you beyond your wildest expectations even when you don’t ask for it. To show you that we serve a God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above ALL that humans can verbalize or conceive. I serve a God who’s extremely great!
And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. – Luke 8:43-48
The woman with the issue of blood had been desperately searching for twelve years for something, everything, and anything to make her clean and whole. She had been to many physicians near and far for years but to no avail. None of these knowledgeable, experienced docs could help her. Maybe they had helped other women in her same predicament. Maybe she had had other diseases that they healed. But this one disease she could just not shake. This one disease stumped all the doctors. This woman’s search for a cure had robbed her of her money. So now she was discouraged, diseased, and broke. But she heard a word.
She heard about this new man in town named Jesus. He hadn’t been in ministry for long. (Jesus was only in ministry as we know it for about three years even though he was on earth for 33 years of life.) So He was not there for her to touch for at most nine years of her affliction. But then she heard a word about this man in town named Jesus and of all the many, wondrous miracles He had wrought on Earth. She heard the word that He gave sight to the blind. She heard the word that He gave hearing to the deaf. She heard the word that He gave speech to the mute. She heard the word that He gave healing to the sick. She heard the word that He had fixed the limbs of the lame. She heard the word that He gave hope to the hopeless, relief to the desperate, and deliverance to the bound. She heard a word.
And because of these words, her faith was activated. Had she not heard about what this man could do, she would not have developed the faith that He could help her. So she acted out on the heard word and then the faith. She said to herself, “If I can just touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made whole.” She did not say, “If Jesus would just stop in His tracks, turn around, and look at me, I shall be made whole.” Neither did she say to herself, “If he would just send out a word of knowledge saying, ‘All women with issues of blood will be healed on today, I shall be made whole.'” She did not even so much as say, “If Jesus wills that I be whole, I shall be made whole.” ALL SHE SAID WAS, “If I can just touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made whole.”
The story continues. Jesus stops to ask His disciples, “Who touched me?” His disciples were perhaps thinking, “About a hundred people have touched You, Master. What do you mean? We can’t pinpoint the exact person. There’s too many that touched you!” Mind you that Jesus was in a throng of people. He was like Chris Brown at an all-girl middle school in Memphis. People were all over Him! Many were desperate for Him to deliver a word that would set them free. Many were desperate for Him to heal their afflictions. Many were touching Him. But one had a touch that actually caused some of His virtue to leave Him! Someone touched Him and made some of His virtue to leave Him! More specifically, someone touched His clothing and caused some of His virtue to leave Him.
There was nothing supernatural about this woman that would cause her touch to stop Jesus Himself. She was just a sick lady with some faith. She had set out on her faith, and this faith made her whole. How come no one else who was sick that touched Jesus stopped Him and made Him ask that question? Why was just her mentioned? There may have been other people who touched Him in faith and made some of His virtue leave Him, but the Bible only mentions this woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years.
What struck me about this passage is that Jesus did not say, “I have made thee whole.” Nor did He say, “My virtue hath made the whole.” He only said, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” If Jesus had visited downtown Memphis, I believe many people wouldn’t think of being healed of their afflictions by simply touching Jesus’ clothes. They’d probably be thinking, “I wish Jesus would stand up and give a prophetic word to us. I wish He’d say a rhema word (revelatory word from God) or word of knowledge (when God tells someone that He’s going to heal a particular thing). I wish he’d tell us to come and give an offering to symbolize our healing. I wish He’d anoint my head with oil. I wish he’d at least say, ‘Be ye made whole!'” But how many of them would just run up to Him when He wasn’t even looking or aware of their presence and touch His clothes?
Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” He didn’t even notice the woman! He didn’t even say for her to be healed. He didn’t sit down and ask her the symptoms of her disease. She didn’t consult with Him. She just let the word activate her faith, and she let the faith activate her move. Jesus was not even responsible for calling her towards Himself to activate her move. She acted on a word. I don’t think she even shared with anyone her plan to go to Jesus.
…how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:14-17
For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother`s womb. I will give thanks to you, For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well. My frame wasn’t hidden from you, When I was made in secret, Woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my body. In your book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there were none of them…. – Psalm 139:13-16
Something about God’s creation amazes me. God is so amazing! He makes His creation perpetuate “amazingness”. Not only did He make the gargantuan sun, but He made the sun to revolve on its axis and continue to exist for what is speculated billions of years. Not only did He make wonderful trees, but He makes His wonderful trees produce more tree seeds that make more wonderful trees. His amazing creation continues on its own “amazingness”. Glory be to God! Not only does He make humans, but His humans make baby humans who make more humans. His humans also make computers, cars, and cell phones. His glory is so glorious it makes His bits of glory make glorious things.
Think of the body. The body heals its own self. When you accidentally cut yourself (if you’re not a hemophiliac), your body sends platelets out to the wound site to begin to clot the opening in your skin. You don’t tell the body to do it, it does it on its own. Even when you don’t know that you cut yourself, your body heals the cut. Your body doesn’t even need your permission to heal itself. It does it on its own because God’s so glorious, He makes His creation amazing enough to fix itself. Glory be to God! God puts in your body’s cells the DNA to make your hair grow. Except for people who are getting older who have male-pattern baldness, your hair continues to grow the same way. Did a baby have to remind its hair to continue to sprout? Babies don’t even know to do this. Good thing they don’t have to. God did the work. There’s no way we can tell our cells to do certain things. We also cannot tell our organs to do certain things. You can’t tell your stomach not to churn your breakfast. You can’t tell your heart not to pump your blood. You can’t tell your brain not to keep your other organs in check. You can’t tell a sperm not to go to the egg and ferment and grow. Except for in some cases of hypnosis, you can’t tell your nerves not to feel pain. The body does what it got to do on its own unless you do something to mess up the order God set up.
If you allow an infected hypodermic needle to infect poison and viruses into your body, then it can change the perfect order God set up. If you smoke toxic gases into your lungs, they will not operate as effectively as God originally set it up to operate. If two people with sickle-cell trait have at least four children, one of the four are supposed to get sickle-cell anemia and their body will produce sickle-shaped red blood cells that don’t deliver enough oxygen rich blood to the organs. I’m not sure how sickle-cell anemia works. All I know is that my mother had it when she was ten and was healed and delivered from it after the prayers of a preacher at her church! She has anemia, but no sickle-cell attached. But that testimony is for another time.
I wonder if our thoughts keep us from getting healed. Is that why rest is always suggested when one is recovering from surgery or has the flu or a cold? Is it because when we are asleep our thoughts can’t screw up our body’s natural tendency of healing itself? Our body has a great detoxification system through our liver. But sometimes our lifestyle and eating habits can mess up our God-made detoxification system. If you drink so much that it destroys your liver, you can no longer rely on your liver to detoxify toxins in your body. These bad effects on your liver interfere with your body’s ability to kick the bad stuff out.
I plan on getting certain body cleanses because I know that many symptoms of fatigue and headaches are a result of what’s in my body. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee when I was young (JRA Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis). I heard that symptoms can be aggravated by dental metal in your mouth. I hadn’t had problems for a long time, but then I went to the dentist because I had about 13 cavities. Most of these were filled in with metal. (Sucks for me!) It seems as if my knee is bothering me more since I got them. Sometimes, you have to see what you’re doing to make symptoms appear. If you have a headache because your body is loaded up with aspartame (an artificial sweetener I would suggest no one ever uses), praying is almost unnecessary to stop the headache because cutting out the aspartame is what will stop the headaches. God did not make your body to thrive off of fake sugar substitutes. So your body is telling you, “Stop poisoning me!” You praying for weeks for it stop, when you need to stop eating aspartame. Fasting in this case would help! Sometimes prayer will give you an answer to why your body is suffering in certain ways. I may have to get all my dental metal removed. Or I can pray and believe for a creative miracle (when God reproduced a body part). But until then, I may have to tolerate it.
So to rap this up, I thought of a book I bought some weeks ago called, “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” by Dr. Joseph Murphy. I studied a lot of psychology in college, so I am intrigued by the conscious and subconscious. However, I am much more Christian than anything, so I always see everything as being God-designed and made to bring God glory. (I am not into the New Age type religion, so I hope this doesn’t sound anything like that.) The book also said, “Many believe there is an intelligence that will take care of your body if you let it alone.” I believe that what they call “subconscious” or “intelligence” is really just God’s well-thought out, miraculous design and plan for the body that the body is made to comply with.
Dr. Murphy was saying that the way the body organs function and the way the body heals itself is just the work of the subconscious part of the mind. I say that the “subconscious” the book is talking about is actually my God’s intelligent design for the body. Just like He has an intelligent design for the world to rotate 360 degrees in 24 hours, and the Earth to revolve around the sun in 365 days (except for leap years), and the moon to have phases (quarter moon, full moon, gibbous moon, crescent moon, and new moon), He has an amazing, intelligent design for the body.
Girls who live long enough realize that their body is God-designed to have a menstrual cycle once every 28 days. Babies double in size the first three months of life. Pregnant women realize that the sperm takes 10 months (not 9) before the baby is ready. Men have to reach a certain age before they can create sperm. Women have to reach a certain age until they have menopause. None of these things are things that we can control. You can sometimes prevent getting pregnant, but after the sperm is released inside, the baby will come (unless abortion is had or miscarriage occurs).
Dr. Murphy made some interesting statements that attempted to explain the way that healing works. It’s kind of confusing, but tell me if it makes sense to you.
And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, according to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened…. – Matthew 9:28-30
“When the sick came to Jesus to be healed, they were healed by their own faith, together with his faith and understanding of the healing power of the subconscious mind [God’s original plan for the body]. Whatever he decreed, he felt inwardly to be true. He and the people needing help were in the one universal subjective mind [?], and his silent inner knowing and conviction of the healing power changed the negative destructive patterns in the patients’ subconscious [negative thoughts/misbeliefs/lies that said and reminded them that they were “not well”]. The resultant healings were the automatic response to the internal mental change [the subconscious mind agreeing with God’s original plan for bodies]. His command was his appeal to the subconscious mind [God’s original body plan] of the patients plus his awareness, feeling, and absolute trust in the response of the subconscious mind [God’s body plan] to the words that he spoke with authority [God in the flesh telling His own body plan to quit playing and get it right!].”
And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. – Luke 8:48
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:4-5
Approximately 2,000 years ago, Jesus died on the cross for our sins and by the stripes He was given with whips, we are healed. He has already extended the healing. We just have to touch Him. Many had groped at, reached for, and bumped into Him, but she had TOUCHED Him. We pray and pray and pray that God will offer healing to us for to cure our diseases. He gave the free gift of healing before we were even born just as He extended the free gift of salvation before we were even born. There’s no obstruction coming from His end. It’s from our end. It’s our lack of faith. According to our faith we are healed because He’s already given it and has faith for our healing. There’s no doubt in His mind that we can get healed because He designed our bodies. If a car could live, it should know that the manufacturer knows exactly how the car should work. If the manufacturer wanted the car fixed, it would be considered done unless the car doesn’t want it done and drives off.
And a certain man was there, who had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity. When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time [in that case], he saith unto him, Wouldest thou be made whole? The sick man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked. Now it was the sabbath on that day. – John 5:5-9
From the looks of it, Jesus had been wanted dude to get healed. In other bible versions Jesus is like, “Do you want to be made well?” He’s been sitting her for 38 years, and He could have been healed sooner! The man tried to make an excuse when Jesus wanted to heal him! Jesus wasn’t trying to hear all that, He said, “Get up, get the bed, and walk.”
And a certain man was there, who had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity. When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time [in that case], he saith unto him, Wouldest thou be made whole? The sick man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked. Now it was the sabbath on that day.John 5:5-9
From the looks of it, Jesus had been wanted dude to get healed. In other bible versions Jesus is like, “Do you want to be made well?” He’s been sitting her for 38 years, and He could have been healed sooner! The man tried to make an excuse when Jesus wanted to heal him! Jesus wasn’t trying to hear all that, He said, “Get up, get the bed, and walk.”
This man did not have faith like the woman with the issue of blood; she was going to receive the healing for herself. This man wanted for Jesus to talk to him first in order for him to get healing. But the point of this passage in this note is to show you that Jesus was trying to tell the man something to the effect of, “Do you even want to get better?”
It’s already been provided for and delivered to you. It’s just like how a family member sends a package in the mail and you have to pick it up from the post office. The receiving (or lack their of) is a result of what’s going on at your end. Once you ask for the gift and Aunt Millicent hands it over to the FedEx people, you just have to open your mind to receive it. Stop obstructing it with lack of faith. Stop perpetuating the sickness with unhealthy habits. Take care of your body and open up your mind to receive what God has already extended. And always remember never to forget that God and Jesus love you very much. And so do I!
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. – 1 Peter 2:24
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: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. – Matthew 8:16-17
I really want to wrap my mind around this thing about how important it is for us to have the right mindset. When I hear about the Israelites being lead out of Egypt by Moses, it frustrates me! The journey from Egypt to Canaan, was an 11-DAY JOURNEY! These people took 40 YEARS TO GET THERE! Most of the DID NOT GET THERE! Why you ask? Because of their mindset. They had a negative mindset. They were ungrateful, fearful, whiny, and idolatrous. Have you ever seen a more ungrateful bunch of people?!
These people were suffering in Egypt for about 210 to 400 years. It was believed to be 400, but research says,
“Our sages explain that the countdown of 400 years began with Isaac’s birth. G‑d’s promise does not refer to Egypt by name, rather to a “land that is not theirs.” As soon as Abraham had a child, his seed were subjected to living in lands that were not theirs—including Canaan which wasn’t “theirs” at the time.
Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob was born, and Jacob was 130 years old when he went down to Egypt. This means that 190 of the 400 years elapsed before the Israelites arrived in Egypt. So the Israelites were in Egypt for a total of 210 years.”
God was nice enough to hear their prayers for at least two centuries and a decade for a rescuer and deliverance from their oppressors. He chose to use Moses. Moses should have been slaughtered like all the other baby boys his age, but God spared him so that he could deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. God was even so kind as to allow Moses to be raised by the very Egyptian royalty that he was going to be going up against!
As Moses performed plague after plague after plague to convince the Egyptians that he was not playing about the power that God possessed that could destroy them, the silly Egyptians had hardened hearts towards believing God. They suffered so many avoidable hurts! Had they just listened when Moses first said, “Let my people, go”! There didn’t have to be any frog plague, locust plague, and death of the first born plague. Had they done what was right the first time, things could have been resolved without all the damage. When God tells you to do something, it’s best you listen the first time around. Don’t wait until He sends ten plagues your way before you get your heart broken and submit to Him. If God tells you to let that no-good man go, don’t wait until you hear of rumors of him cheating on you, hear about him cheating with your best friend, have him clear out your bank account, have him ruin your credit, have him give you a STD, have him leave you for another man, and have him break your heart. Listen up front! It’s for the best!
So anyways, as the Israelites left Egypt, the Egyptians changed their mind (foolishly) about letting the Israelites go, and they decided to pursue them and bring them back. God wasn’t going to let that happen. Even though God knew that many of the Israelites would want to go back during the journey, He cared so much about them that He protected them. God parted a whole sea for these people! Imagine how trapped they must have felt at first. Behind you, you see your torturous past; and in front of you, you see an uncertain, unknown, and possibly dangerous future. But you must look up! God is with you! You thought you should give up and turn back to the past you know rather than the future you don’t know, but God knows the plans He has for you! Believe me that if you are on His side, they are good plans. There are women who are being emotionally and physically abused by their live-in boyfriends and husbands. They know the past sucks, but they are accustomed to the torture. Some would rather stay there than to begin dating again and to risk finding true love, but they don’t have to decide the entire future for themselves. They can look to God, and He will make the future less daunting and lead them to a healthy, loving relationship.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
So my God (the same God I serve today) parted a SEA for His people. For those of you who have been to a beach before and that have seen a large stretch of water, imagine seeing a clearing in the ocean going as far as the eye can see. Now I don’t know how far across the Reed Sea is, but it’s still a pretty big deal! This is not just a children’s bible story about a fairy tale God. This is the self-same God that we serve this day. He’ll do the same for you and me!
Malachi 3:6 – For I am the LORD, I change not
FROM WIKIPEDIA –
“The Reed Sea (or Sea of Seaweed, Sea of Reeds), was the name for a large lake close to the Red Sea, which has since dried up due to the Suez Canal. It was in Egypt, specifically in the Suez valley next to the Sinai Peninsula, and north of the Gulf of Aqaba.”
(There is a common misinterpretation that the Reed Sea is the Red Sea.)
“In the Biblical tale of The Exodus the phrase Yam Suph refers to the body of water that the children of Israel crossed following their exodus from Egypt. The Hebrew name literally means “Sea of Reeds.” Some scholars thus understand the term to refer to some marshy body of water rather than the “Red Sea.” Nonetheless, the fact remains that this same phrase is also used to denote the body of water referred to in 1 Kings 9:26, which is clearly part of the Red Sea: “And King Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-Geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Reed Sea, in the land of Edom.” Eloth, or Elath, was the name of a seaport on the northern shore of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba.”
So back to the Israelites’ ungratefulness! Their prayers were answered, but they complained so much that they made a 250 mile journey take 40 years! I hear that the trip can range from an eleven-day journey to about a month’s journey depending on how much you take a break to eat and sleep. Two million people are supposed to have went on the exodus. The bible says there were 600,000 men. They were probably all married so that is 1,200,000, and they more than likely had at least 1 child per couple. So about 2,400,000 embarked on this journey. Of those people, ONLY 2 made it to the promised land. Joshua and Caleb made it because of their faith, belief, and grateful attitude towards God. No one over the age of 19 made it except for those two. People gave birth to more children on the 40 year journey who made it to Canaan, but only two of the original crowd made it.
WHAT JOURNEY IN YOUR LIFE IS TAKING YOU SO LONG BECAUSE OF YOUR WRONG ATTITUDE?
Some people believe that God is the one who wanted them to take that long, but I believe that it was their negative mindset. There are people in the world who respond very differently than others do when they go through a crisis. When some women unfortunately lose a spouse, they will never recover for the rest of their life. Some women can get married a year later. Some people can lose a job and never apply again. Some people will be fired from a job they worked at for 40 years and will get right back in the market looking for work. Some people are thwarted by the loss of a limb, and some people will get a prosthetic device and do the most extreme sports that I would never do! Some people are diagnosed with cancer and lie down and resolve to die, but some people like Lance Armstrong will race marathons and win! Some couples have experienced the totally devastating event of losing a child to a miscarriage or an accident, and they will never try again. Some couples experience miscarriage three times and continue to try again.
Exodus 13:17 – When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” 18But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.
Also, God wanted to teach His people about Himself and his laws. This also took up time. But as referred to above, the major delay by far was because they doubted God’s power and showed cowardice.”
I’m not dare going to judge anyone’s circumstances because I have never went through either of those scenarios, and I praise God for it daily. I may go through them or some similarly devastating ones if I keep living long enough, but I know that it is important to keep a positive mindset. What a waste of life! These Israelites could have enjoyed so many blessed years in a promised land flowing with milk and honey! They could have enjoyed bunches grapes that it required two men to carry. They could have dwelled in an amazing place, but they never got there because they were ungrateful. They were rescued from slavery, but they didn’t like to walk in a desert? SHUT UP! If you had asked my ancestors to choose between walking a month’s journey or staying in slavery until they died, the overwhelming majority would have said, “See ya, Old Dirty South!” They would probably praise God because of His goodness and grace in hearing their prayers regardless of how long He took. But not these Israelites.
When you are untrusting of God, He may make you take the long way to your destination. You could be there in eleven days, but because you are so scary and don’t trust in God enough, He will take you the “Punk Route” which will take much longer. Suppose you wanted to get married at age 20, but because you were not serious about doing the work it takes to be a good wife or husband, your marriage is postponed. I admire cultures from India. These young women are taught from a young age how to cook, clean, be chaste until marriage, and respect men. Therefore, they are ready for marriage at a younger age. Now even though some of them may not feel developmentally mature to be a wife, they are ready.
In America we want to depend on our mommies and daddies forever, then we want to eat out all day, we are messy and unkempt, and we want to sleep around. We also have a problem respecting men. We say, “I’m not about to submit to man!” The bible said to do it, and men have obligations to us too! Men want to be childish and sow their wild oats, and they want to be children and not get a job to support their future wife and future kids. We seriously need to grow up mentally in America and get over this prolonged childhood that many Americans go through. And we wonder why we get married at 32 for men and 25 for women on average in the United States and why it 24 for men and 19 on average for women in India. Marriage is on the forefront of their minds, and they have long-lasting marriages. What you do not respect, you will not attract.
God will not bless you with things that you are not ready to experience. Some people want to do this, that, and the other, but because they look at their circumstances and limits rather than at God and His unlimited power and faithfulness, they end up taking the long trip. I don’t want to get married at age 40! I pray that God prepares me mentally and emotionally this year!
Not only did my God (the same God I serve today) deliver them from severe oppression, He also provided BREAD FROM HEAVEN! Imagine walking in a desert and seeing slices of Wonder bread falling for you. You did not sow that bread so you should not have reaped it, but God takes care of us like He does for the animals in His creation. God will take care of you! He will not ask you to embark upon a journey where He could not supply your need. He even provided them a cloud and some fire to lead them. He will be your Jehovahjireh even when you act a fool!
Exodus 13:22 – He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
Matthew 6:25-26 – Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Deuteronomy 32:16-20 – They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
Don’t build up idols when you don’t feel God. He’s there just as He was when He sent the plagues, as when He opened the Sea of Reeds, and as when He let manna fall down from heaven. How do you begin to doubt the same God who has been there for you so many times in the past? My mother would be insane to doubt God now when as a child, He healed her from Sickle Cell Anemia! Even if He does nothing else for her for the rest of her life, she knows that there is no cure for GENETIC DISORDERS! Cancers can be removed with chemo, radiation, and diet change, but you can’t change someone’s genetic code unless you’re GOD! What loser can see a split sea, know that it was God, and then melt together their earrings to make a fake calf?
It is so sad that these people never lived a good life. They were in bondage for so many years, and they died never seeing the promised land. How dare they pray for so many years for something and then not even appreciate it! Don’t pray to God for so many years about something if you can’t follow through with it – even with God’s help! Don’t pray to my God for 5 years for a wife and then give up when the times get tough. Don’t pray to my King for a job, when you are lazy and want to quit when the times get tough. Be careful what you pray for. Make sure you have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into when God decides to answer.
We need to learn how to Praise Him In Advance. Sometimes you can’t wait to praise God when the battle is over. You know why? Because no matter where you go, there will always be another battle. You can’t wait. You have to praise him in the midst of your storm just as David did so many times in Psalms. It’s like this. They were fortunate enough to know what would happen in the end of their journey. They KNEW they would have milk, honey, grapes, and freedom. In life nowadays, we don’t have as many specific prophecies. We don’t always see God do things as amazing as parting seas and raining down heaven bread. But these people saw God in a big way, knew where they were going, AND knew God was faithful to perform. The ONLY thing stopping them was their fears (trust in their enemies more than in their God), ungratefulness, idolatry, and complaining. If God told me that I was going to get a brand new Ferrari with a drop top with Lamborghini doors in just eleven days, I’m going to be GRATEFUL, I’m not going to worship the devil instead, I’m NOT GOING TO COMPLAIN, I’m not going to let my enemies scare me off from getting it, and I’m definitely going to do all that I can not to postpone it!
When there is the fear of the unknown in front of you and the familiar pain behind you, you don’t have to choose from this quandary. There is always another way out. LOOK UP!