Daily Discipline #192
By Colleen Donahue
It is now about ten years ago when I went to the Boston area on a sales trip and the temps reached 103 degrees. One night, shortly after going to bed I woke with my head spinning so violently I didn’t know what was happening. It was scary. I couldn’t think straight or get out of bed for fear of falling. My equilibrium was gone and this made my stomach sick. I had never heard of “vertigo” before, but after a trip to the urgent care, it now had a name. I was told by the doctor on duty, “You have a common salesman’s condition.” He explained, “You are in air conditioning, then you go out to your car --which on a 103-degree day might be 110 degrees or more. You are in and out of air conditioning all day long and this affects your inner ear."
I just accepted what he said, picked up the medication he thought might help me, and continued to work. Over the next several years vertigo came and went. It was often so violent that I wasn’t sure I could continue to work. I drive the East Coast of America as a sales rep and if vertigo started while driving it meant that my head was spinning and I couldn’t see straight. If I walked into a store with my products, I would have to hang onto counters so as not to fall over. It was getting harder to pretend in front of customers that nothing was wrong.
On several occasions, I could not stop throwing up. The loss of equilibrium, causing my head to spin, also caused my stomach to get unsettled, and that caused me to throw up. During these years I just accepted what was happening and tried to live through it the best I could. It’s sad to say this, but it never even occurred to me that this might not be normal or part of God’s will!
While all this was going on, my mother had been diagnosed with the terrible disease, they nickname ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. This drove me to the scriptures to find out what God had to say about sickness and healing. I came to one conclusion for myself and that conclusion was that God wants us to be well so we can do the good works he has planned for us. There is a health plan in God’s kingdom that is far superior to our wonderful medical system in the United States, but you have to reach out and receive what God offers.
I shared with mom what I was learning and she patiently listened to me. But I could tell she didn’t believe it. She was settled that death was calling her and she died two years after her diagnosis.
That same year I decided to do one of those “staycations” instead of a traveling vacation. I remember distinctly getting up on my first day of vacation with my head swimming and my stomach nauseated. I sat on the edge of my bed and prayed, “Father, if this vertigo is from you, I accept it and know you’ll give me the grace for it. But if Satan or one of his demons is laying this on me, I absolutely reject it. Now I ask you to show me which it is.” Then, I just sat there on the edge of my bed for another five minutes with my head spinning.
At the end of those five minutes, the spinning stopped and it has never restarted. I was healed. I have not had vertigo back since and once when it tried to come on me, I stood my ground and said firmly to God and Satan, “I reject this vertigo and will not have it in my body.” It was gone again.
Perhaps my testimony would have more weight if I could tell you I had been healed from some terrible cancer, heart disease, or ALS as mom had. But I think for most of us we are plagued with benign things like vertigo, migraine headaches, arthritis, etc. that aren’t killing us outright but are keeping us from all that God has planned for us to be and do.
This is now my fourth study on what the scriptures say about healing (see: https://seekinggoddaily.com/topic-healing-sickness/) I keep learning more, and therefore there is more I want to share. So, join me in my own journey to the discovery that….
GOD WANTS US WELL - Part 1
1. Most believers have no trouble believing that God can heal them, but they aren’t sure that he will heal them. What does this kind of thinking make us?
And therefore what will we receive from the Lord?
2. If you are a Christian, then you have a covenant with God that includes divine health. But Christians have allowed sickness and disease to destroy their bodies. Why?
Our ignorance as to what God has done in Jesus for us physically, as well as spiritually, has left Satan free to ruin and cut many lives short before their time. As believers, we live in two kingdoms and each one has a medical system. Most of us only rely on the “kingdom of man” health plan while we totally ignore what God has to offer.
I hope this study will help to shatter the ignorance most of us walk in (that I have walked in) and bring us to a place where we are convinced that God wants us well. He has good works planned for each of us to do (Ephesians 2:10) and we won’t be able to do them if we are in pain or unable to think straight. If disease and pain leave us with a weakened body and mind then that will be our focus rather than God. Satan wins because God’s work through us is left undone.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD MEDICAL PLAN STARTS WITH GOD’S WORD
3. In a kingdom government, the words of the king are absolute and unchanging. What He says is the law of the land. Now, God is THE KING in the Kingdom of God and His words recorded in the Bible are absolute and unchanging. When Jesus was teaching the people about God’s word what did he liken it to?
In this famous parable of the sower, the seed is the Word of God, and men’s hearts are the ground it lands on. For any of God’s promises to take effect, they must be planted in the soil of our hearts. The word germinates and faith begins to grow. Then, a harvest can take place.
4. If our enemy can keep us from even hearing the word – that is the best! But he also knows that even if we hear the word, he can easily get us preoccupied so that we forget all about what God’s promises are. Read through Christ’s explanation of this parable and then we’ll look more closely at what happens to each part of the seed.
Notice that only a quarter of the seed falls on good ground where it can take root and produce a harvest. I pray right now that our hearts will be part of the good ground and that God’s truth will find good soil to produce an abundant harvest. While God has done the work to prepare the soil of our hearts to receive the seed of his Word, Satan has been busy doing everything possible to make sure that the seed doesn’t take root. Let’s review what happens to the seed.
One-quarter of the seed fell on and alongside the footpath. What does this represent?
Anything that doesn’t make it to the soil of your heart – to actually get planted -- is likely snatched away by Satan. This would include all those good sermons you might hear, as well as Bible passages or other Christian books you read casually. Yes, you might remember something for a day or two, but it’s gone like a puff of smoke and therefore not available when you need it the most.
One-quarter of the seed fell on stony ground. What did this symbolize?
If we don’t allow God’s word to take root in us, then we’ll have no confidence to act on it. That’s the difference between a casual reader of the Bible and a diligent student. You may have read Jesus saying, “in this world, you will have trouble but I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) At the first sign of trouble, all you’ll remember IS that you were promised trouble, but the part about overcoming will be totally out of your mind! It had no root in you and therefore now when you need assurance of overcoming you don’t have any.
One-quarter of the seed fell among the thorns. What does this symbolize?
The worries of this life, that include the desire to get ahead and make money, are often the best tool Satan has for keeping the message of God’s word crowded out. When those things take all our time and energy, there isn’t much left for being concerned with what God says. Thorns in the heart are deadly.
THE GROUND OF OUR HEART
Unless we are convinced by God’s Word and Christ’s actions that it’s God’s will to heal us, then we will have no basis by which to expect our healing. It’s like a farmer trying to harvest a crop where no seed has been planted. Even if you believe in healing, you need the seed of God’s word firmly planted in your heart so that faith can grow. It’s through the Word that we can know without a doubt it is God’s unchanging will to heal us.
5. Our heart is the ground. At one time our heart was corrupt and unable to produce anything good. All we could produce were crops of sin. God paid a huge price to make you good ground for his word. What was that price?
2 Corinthians 5:21
6. And so, when Jesus took our old sinful nature into Himself on the cross, when He died, we died – i.e. that old sinful nature that can’t do anything but sin (Romans 6:6). And as a result, what does this allow us to do?
7. You can see that it is God Himself that has prepared our hearts so that we can be good soil for his word and a clean place for His Spirit to dwell. God has put us “in Christ” and what does Jesus become in us?
1 Corinthians 1:30
8. Setting our minds and pursuing only what this world offers is directly opposed to what God told his chosen leader Joshua to do. As you read these verses, list for yourself God’s instruction to Joshua.
Like Joshua, we are also admonished to set our minds and hearts on things above.
And what advantage is this to us?
9. We have the same way of success that Joshua had. God gives us His Word (his seed) —but then WE set our hearts on it. WE set our minds on the things above. Wherever our focus and concentration are, that is what ultimately takes root in the heart. And once it does take root, what do we need to do?
We must guard God’s word in our hearts, because from it the course of our lives is determined.
10. The word of God IS the will of God. Whatever God says in his word is true, right, and something that He will back up. When it’s planted in the soil of our hearts then the crop produced will be his will for our lives. When we act on the word then it germinates and brings forth fruit in our life. Faith is acting on God’s word whether we see the results yet or not. We have a beautiful example of this in the life of Abraham.
Now let’s go through these verses carefully so as not to miss the important points.
Romans 4:16 – The promises of God come by faith or are received by faith. Faith is the hand that reaches out and grabs hold of what God says for ourselves.
Romans 4:17 – Abraham believed in a God that “calls things that are not as though they were” (NIV) or a God who “brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing” (NLT).
Romans 4:18 – Even when there was no reason to hope that he would have the son God promised (so as to become the father of many nations), he still believed what God said was true over his circumstances.
Romans 4:19 – Abraham faced the facts of what was happening in his life but his faith did not waver even over time.
Romans 4:20 – Therefore Abraham never wavered through unbelief and that’s why his faith actually grew stronger and stronger so that it brought God glory.
Romans 4:21 – Abraham was fully convinced that God had the power and the will to do whatever He promised.
Romans 4:22- Because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous - or in right-standing- with Himself.
Romans 4:23-25 – And God will count us righteous as well when we believe that He raised his Son Jesus Christ from the dead so that our lives could be raised from the ash heap of sin, self, and sickness.
11. ACTING on the Word is what makes the difference between good ground and bad ground. Before a farmer can harvest a crop, the fruit needs time to grow. This means we must act on the word BEFORE we see the results.
Mark 11:24 / 2 Corinthians 5:7
Good ground HEARS the word, RECEIVES the word, and ACTS on the word.
IT STARTS WITH GOOD SEED
12. If a farmer is going to have a good crop, he has to start with good seed. It’s the same in God’s kingdom. How does Peter describe God’s seed?
1 Peter 1:23
In your translation of the Bible, you might read the word imperishable or incorruptible. This means that God’s seed (or his word) can’t be spoiled by anything that Satan would use to destroy it. If it gets planted in the good soil of our hearts then it will produce a good harvest. God’s seed has eternal life and power within it.
When we were born again, God’s incorruptible seed of salvation was planted in our hearts and it produced in us the faith to receive our salvation. For example, we read John 1:12 – that all who would receive Jesus, and believe in His name, would be given the right to become children of God. That planted word took root and faith grew in us until we reached out to take hold of our salvation.
13. Now faith for healing (or victory in anything) will come in the same way. We can wait for the word to just “fall on us” on Sunday morning and maybe take root, or we can get up each day and dig for the truth ourself. Either way, what is the way that we get faith for anything God promises?
TRADITIONS THAT DESTROY THE WORD
There is one great danger for us to be aware of when we take in teaching about God’s word. To receive the whole of God’s truth we must be like children. And what are children like? They are humble, dependent, and trusting. Children know that they don’t know everything and are quick to learn. They are dependent on their parents for all the basics in life. Then they believe that their parents will tell them the truth and do what they say they will do. The Holy Spirit is your indwelling tutor who will lead us into all truth. We must learn to depend on Him to teach us and confirm what we hear others teach us.
14. The Word of God taught only through head knowledge (instead of by the Holy Spirit) leads to men developing their own “traditions” or ways of thinking. What does Jesus tell us man’s traditions do to God’s word?
When it comes to God’s promise of healing, instead of taking God at his word, the church has developed some “traditions” that are keeping us from receiving the healing God offers us. These traditions have nullified God’s word on healing and have kept many from taking hold of what is their legal right. One of the most common traditions today is that God certainly can heal but it’s not necessarily his will to heal everyone. From my studies of the Word I believe this is opposite thinking to what is presented in the scriptures and I’d like to show why I think that.
15. In this situation a man had brought his son to the disciples for healing, but…….what happened?
So now this same man and his son come before Jesus … and what happened?
The puzzled and humiliated disciples privately asked Jesus why they hadn’t been able to heal him.
Although most modern translations for verse 20A read:
“because of your little faith” or “you don’t have enough faith”,
I think the King James Version is probably most accurate here. It says, “Because of your UNBELIEF.”
The Greek word used—apistos-- has the sense of actively disbelieving and being faithless. If you finish reading Matthew 17:20b you’ll see that if the disciples had had even a tiny bit of faith, they could have healed the boy. But they didn’t really believe they could, even though they tried.
So here was an example of a man who believed, but the healers didn’t believe. Jesus in overriding his disciple’s unbelief clearly showed it was his will that the boy is healed. And since Jesus only did his Father’s will (John 14:31) we know it was God’s will for him to be healed.
16. The gospels and Acts tell us repeatedly that Jesus “healed them all”.
Matthew 8:16-17 / 9:35 / 15:30 / 19:2 / 21:14 /
Luke 6:19 / 7:21
Since Jesus healed those who came to Him, how was it possible that it was God’s will for some of them to NOT receive healing? Did Jesus go against His father’s will? What does Jesus himself say about what He does?
Jesus NEVER refused anyone who came to Him for healing, for the Word says: “He healed them all!” Jesus has never changed.
If it was God’s will in Christ’s time to heal the sick, then it’s still God’s will in our time to be healed by Christ. And because He hasn’t changed, we can know that it’s His will to heal us.
17. Only one person came to Jesus for healing and prefaced his asking by, “If you are willing.”
What was Jesus’ clear answer and action?
18. Perhaps the most important reason to get straight in our minds and hearts that it’s ALWAYS God’s will to heal is that the King’s words are absolute. God is King of Heaven and earth. When He speaks, He means what He says. As you read these two verses write out what they say clearly about YOU.
Isaiah 53:5 / 1 Peter 2:24
In light of these verses, how can you and I be declared healed if it’s God’s will for some of us to be sick? We would have to declare God to be a liar and that can never happen. Why?
Isaiah 53:5 is talking about Jesus who would bear our sins, our sicknesses, our pains, and our diseases in his own body on the cross. If it was God’s will for some of us to carry our own, then Jesus clearly violated God’s will. But scriptures tell us that Jesus only said and did what the Father wanted him to do. Since Jesus has already borne our diseases, then it must be God’s will for all to be well.
19. If it isn’t God’s will for all to be healed, that would mean faith doesn’t come from God’s word alone. It would mean that we would need a special revelation from God to know whether or not he has favored us. We’d need a special revelation to know if it was his will that we be healed. We could never know by reading the word alone what God’s will is. We’d have to pray until we could “hear” God speak directly to us about our situation. And of course, Satan would be eager to oblige us with a word in the matter. Can you see how this misguided tradition opens us up to listen to the Evil One instead of to God? NO! God’s Word is God’s will! In a kingdom government what a king says IS the law. It can’t be revoked. When we read what God promises to do, then we can clearly know what He wills to do. The only way to build faith in your heart is to read and study what God says about the issue of your concern. Reread…
If it isn’t God’s will to heal all, then his promises would not be dependable. Take for example John 15:7 where Jesus clearly says, “Ask whatever you want”. This “whatever” has to include healing. If it doesn’t then Jesus didn’t speak the truth and therefore once again, we call God a liar.
This promise in John 15:7 is prefaced with the condition that we as believers abide (or live) in Jesus and that His words live in us. Jesus is the living Word of God. He was in the beginning with God and as the living word on earth, He is God. He is the one that gives life to everyone.
So the real issue in believing whether it’s God’s will to heal all, is whether or not we will humble ourselves to believe what God says in His Word.......and then stand on that word.
20. Sometimes believers point to the fact that the Apostle Paul had some kind of ailment that God refused to remove from him. But let’s read his situation to see what really happened.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Verse 7 says that Paul was given “a thorn in the flesh” and then the next phrase describes what this thorn was – a messenger from Satan to torment him. The Greek word for thorn is “skolops” and means point or prickle. When you pick a rose and that thorn goes through your skin it definitely hurts and is an annoyance. But it’s not a disease or a sickness. This “thorn” that Paul dealt with all his ministry life was usually in the form of men rising up against him.
Acts 13:45,50 / Acts 14:5-6, 19-20
Wherever Paul went, Satan would incite men and women to go against Paul. Satan, in using people, was that thorn in Paul’s side. This clearly confirms God’s word that believers will face problems, hardships, and persecutions while serving God in this world.
Matthew 10:21-22 / John 16:33
Paul acted as we would do today. It says that three times he begged or pleaded with God to take the thorn away (2 Corinthians 12:8). But in this case, God was going to use that thorn to express his grace and power through Paul.
2 Corinthians 12:9a
Paul was given great revelations by God (2 Corinthians 12:1-4) and they could be dangerous to Paul in the form of pride and self-exaltation. When it became clear to Paul that God would not remove the thorn what did Paul do?
2 Corinthians 12:9b-10
God had revealed to Paul the authority every believer has over the powers of darkness. Paul had authority over Satan because:
A. God had given him His Word.
B. Jesus had given Paul the use of his name and
C. The Holy Spirit was now indwelling Paul to give him all the power he needed to overcome.
So, Paul was going to have to stand in faith for every revelation that God had given to him. We have the same authority that Paul had and that’s why God instructs you and I to deal with Satan directly.
Mark 16:17 / James 4:7
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 the King James Version says that “Paul was now glad to boast about his infirmities.” The Greek translation of that word infirmities means “want of strength, weakness, and inability to produce results”. In the previous chapter Paul lists for us what these infirmities were.
2 Corinthians 11:23-28
***Notice that sickness is not on his list.
A misunderstanding of Paul’s thorn in the flesh has produced teaching saying that God gets glory from sickness when the world sees how well a Christian bears the pain and agony. But the world has no interest in suffering. They are looking for a way out of it. Satan has sold the church a lie – i.e. that suffering through sickness is the will of God. It goes against what Jesus did in healing “all” so that the world could see the love, mercy, and power of God.
Yes, it’s true that this world will have troubles, but Jesus clearly tells us that we can take heart because he has already overcome them and therefore we can overcome them. See again John 16:33
There is no parent who would lay diseases on their children to teach them a lesson. Do you think your Heavenly Father loves you any less?
In Part 2 of this study, we’ll look at God’s attitude and plan from the early days of the world to keep us well and then how we today can enforce that in our own life. We’ll study what can hinder God from healing us. His big heart of love and mercy wants us well so we can finish the work he has given us to do.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Healing the Sick by T.L. Osborn
God’s Will for Your Healing by Gloria Copeland
Divine Healing by Andrew Murray
None of These Diseases by S.I. McMillen M.D.
Jesus the Healer by E.W. Kenyon