Monday, February 18, 2013

Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel

High Plains Drifter:  A Hitchhiking Journey Across America
By Tim Shey

Excerpt from Chapter Seven:

Sometime in July 1998, the Lord wanted me to take a bus to San Luis Obispo, California.  Of course, it seemed to make not a whole lot of sense, so I said, why not?  I took the bus from Ames [Iowa] and went through Denver then LA and ended up in San Luis Obispo.  I slept in a motel the first night.  The second night I slept on a hillside just outside the city.  I was in a Burger King and the presence of God came down on me heavily and I believe the Lord was telling me to go to Santa Fe.  So I got a bus ticket to Santa Fe.

I touched down in Santa Fe in the evening and walked to a motel room and I was not a happy camper.  I have wrestled with the Lord before and I was really wrestling with Him now.  I just couldn't understand why I had to take a bus here and take a bus there, hitchhike here and hitchhike there.  Later, I calmed down and realized that God's thoughts are higher than my thoughts and that I have shared my faith with lots of people on the road.  So I might as well shut up and put up.  I am here to take orders.  The Lord tells me to jump and I ask how high.

I started hitchhiking north out of Santa Fe on the road to Taos.  I got a few rides to Dixon and stopped by to see Mike and Pat Johnson who owned La Chirapada Winery.  I met them back in 1984.  Nobody was home, so I continued north.

This guy picked me up north of Dixon and drove me north of Taos.  When he dropped me off, he shook my hand and said that his name was Israel and that he was Jewish.  He drove off and I stood there semi-stunned:  that is the first time I have ever heard someone called Israel (except Jacob in the Old Testament, of course).

I walked up the highway for a mile and this older guy picked me up.  He drove to his house just north of Questa and I said I would keep on hitchhiking.  I stood there for an hour and then it started to rain cats and dogs.  The guy ran out of his house and told me to get inside because of the rain.  We sat down and watched some TV.  We watched some Spanish TV and then a Christian station.  He told me his wife and daughter were gone and that I could sleep on the couch if I wanted.  The church he attended was just up the road and I was free to come along.

We went to church the next morning---it was a small Pentecostal church.  The text that the preacher used was from Genesis 32: 28:  "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel:  for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men and hast prevailed."  My jaw just about hit the floor.  Is God's timing perfect or what?  Israel.  Jacob.  Israel.  Lord, what are you trying to tell me?  Remember the guy yesterday whose name was Israel?  Later I looked up the name Israel in Harper's Bible Dictionary and it said, "Israel:  May God strive, contend or rule."

After the service, I got a ride into southern Colorado and, later, into southwest Kansas.  This Christian family picked me up outside Garden City and took me to Cimarron where they let me stay for supper.  The husband drove me to Dodge City and we had a little prayer before I got out.  I stayed in a motel that night.

The next day I walked out of Dodge five miles and this truck driver picked me up and drove me all the way to Hutchinson.  He was a Vietnam vet and had married and divorced twice.  He said something interesting:  he said that if Jesus ever came back, he would hitchhike all over the place just to take a look around before our Father let Him be the King of kings.  I thought that was pretty unique.  You never know who some of these hitchhikers were; they could be angels---or ex-sawmen.


[Genesis 32: 24-30:  "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.  And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.  And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.  And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.  And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

Hosea 12: 3-5:  "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:  Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;  Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial."]

High Plains Drifter:  A Hitchhiking Journey Across America
Clint Eastwood's film High Plains Drifter (1973)
He Walks With a Limp (Jacob)
A Dream about General George S. Patton
The Struggle and the Crown

Friday, February 1, 2013

Power to heal diseases

This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

Luke 9:1: And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases

You don’t just wake up suddenly and say you want to start healing the sick. (Sickness means the body is not functioning as it should; resulting in discomfort for the one who has the body.)

Therefore what Jesus did for the disciples was really extraordinary. In a way, we can say Jesus deregulated the healing ministry, and gave his disciples franchises.

The power to heal diseases is a divinely conferred ability that makes all issue of the bad physical condition of the people to be taken care of by simple statements or actions, just as Jesus did. It doesn’t matter the tenure, or type of the illness, they are covered in the divine crusade against anything that affects the body negatively.

Why did Jesus embark on such an onslaught against bodily ailments?

First, we need to understand that the work of God through Jesus Christ was not just to ensure the healing of the body but also soul and spirit; all the three parts of man.

To heal the soul of ignorance, Jesus teaches the people; for the spirit, he shed his blood to pave way for the Spirit of God to enter the heart of man having purged it, making it clean enough for the Holy Spirit to dwell.

So we see that Jesus’ mandate is the complete transformation of man.

The reason, healing marked most of the earthly ministry of Jesus, springing up most places he went, standing out more than the other parts is because it was the easiest to achieve.

I’ll explain.

When a man is physically sick, even the devil cannot convince him otherwise. But the sickness of the soul is not readily obvious to humans, because of the propensity of man to deceive himself (Jeremiah 17:9), his hardened nature (Ezekiel 36:26) and the blindness of his heart (Ephesians 4:18).

The sickness of the spirit is not immediately obvious too.

Therefore meeting the need of man for body healing was the easiest thing to do. Since he feels it, seeks solution and is willing to receive help from God. Therefore man was automatically ready for physical healing, especially the medical aid-defying ones.

It gives you a reason to come to Jesus and with that he can lead you to understand that your soul needs healing and your spirit too.

Back to the topic;
1. To have the power to heal the sick is a fail-proof affair.
2. It only operates for in a limited time

After Jesus said the words of the focus verse to the disciples they went on a missionary journey (Luke 9:1-10, Mark 6:7-36, Matthew 10:1-15). When they came back, that power lapsed, because we see them later trying to heal a man’s son to no avail (Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29). And Jesus had to teach them the path of faith in administrating healing to others. (That is what I call faith healing as different to power healing that the topic is about).

The power to heal the sick when operational, disregards the inadequacy of the one administering the power and the one on whom, it is being administered. It is God in full blown anger against whatever ravages our body.

That the power to heal the sick as a special manifestation is shown in the story of Jesus where four men let down a paralytic down the roof of a house that Jesus Christ was teaching after breaking it and he received his healing (Luke 5:17-26). It was said that the power of God was present to heal, implying that is not the usual occurrence, if not there would have been no need to mention it. It was a move of God. It was non-discriminative of when and where it is expressed.

In that atmosphere of the power of God being available to heal, the quantum of the healing virtue released from God is not quantifiable. The power of God being present to heal is a divine prerogative. It is a special situation.

The story of the man by the pool of Bethesda, who was healed by Jesus after 38 years of being bedridden (John 5:1-9,14), shows a different kind of ability to heal in expression. It was not unlimited. That man was the only one healed among many sick people in that place. The healing mandate of Jesus at that point in time was selective and it seems he was directed to that man by God. (That is what I call instructed healing, the second kind of healing expression).

From the experiences of Jesus’ ministry and others in the bible, we can conclude that healing is carried out in three different ways: through power, through instruction, or through faith.

When it is about power it is to overwhelm the situation with the weight of God’s glory, dissolving the health issue instantly in the heat of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, through who even Jesus Christ operated. It is like plugging to the power generation station rather than connect to the distribution network. It leads to instant effect. Instantaneous healing also operates in other types but not compulsorily as it is with power healing.

Another characteristic of the power dimension in healing is that it is directed at the people in a place indiscriminately as long as needs are expressed for it.

While Jesus was sending out the apostles with that healing power, he directed them to go to a specific place, the house of Israel. These are places that have been prepared and like harvest, healing falls off on the people without rebate.

The manifestation of the power to heal also operated sometimes in the ministry of Paul; where that power was on his person and can be carried to others through the apron of Paul (Acts 19:11-13). It was a special manifestation since it happened as an isolated case in the ministry of Paul.

Peter also once manifested the power dimension of healing. There was a time when, if his shadow falls on you, you are irreversibly healed (Acts 5:15-16). When the power dimension of healing is in operation, there is no expressed possibility for relapse of the sickness is nil and 100 percent of all in that place where it is directed will be touched (see how this is different to the instructed healing in John 5:1-9,14). Like a gift from God, it is without repentance (Romans 11:29).

Instructed healing on the other hand is person-specific and an example is the man in the pool of Bethesda. This, like power healing is also not common. Another example is the healing of a lame man by Paul when he saw that he had faith to be healed (Acts 14:8-18). That also operated in the ministry of Jesus when he healed the women bent over for nearly two decades (Luke 13:10-17) and the healing of the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:1-6) and with dropsy (Luke 14:1-6). The one administering the healing initiates the interaction.

These cases from the evidence of scriptures merely represent a small percentage of the healing work of Jesus. In instructed healing, the healer exhibits signs that he has been prompted by God to act in such specific ways, it is not indiscriminate. The healing of the paralytic by the beautiful gate (Acts 3:1-26) was person-specific also as some specific healing miracles performed by Paul and Peter that led to the phenomenal increases in the church, showing instructed healings are sometimes used for strategic purposes.

What we need to understand in the divine expression in healing is to differentiate when the time is for instructed healing and when the power is present. It would make us more accurate in our approach.
Lastly, there is faith healing. While the previous types of expression of divine healing all need faith, expectation, a heart to receive, focus on Jesus, all being aspects of faith; for faith healing the seeker always initiates the interaction.

This is the commonest form and what we should focus on as the church.

This level of healing is what every believer can walk in. It is faith healing because it does not need any special instruction from God in form of revelation. It is faith because its only focus is on the promises of God in his word or on the person of God as we see Jesus telling such people, “your faith has healed you (Matthew 9:20-22).”

Faith sees what is written and believes it as the reality that can be produced in their lives. While power healing is place and time specific, it is the same with instructed healing. However, the latter is also person-specific, but faith healing has no such qualities. The focus is on the word (and on Jesus) and the possibility it holds for all situations, always and in all places.

Every Christian should develop the expression of healing by faith. Faith healing is what you apply to yourself in form of spiritual self-medication. It does not depend on God, it depends on you. Build your faith in that regard. Sometimes if not most times you do not see immediate result but still needs to stand firm in faith.

If A is Time B. place C. speed D. initiator E. basis F. Limit.

Therefore for:
1. Faith healing: A=all, B=all, C=not always instant, D=seeker, E. faith alone F. faith
2. Instructed healing: A=specific, B= specific, C= instant D= “healer” E= divine prompting F. person specific
3. Power healing: A= specific, B.= specific, C. =instant, D=God, E.= power F. =none

These represent the three dimensions of healing. Seek God for all of them; because, if you seek God you will find him (Jeremiah 29:13). You can seek God for faith healing, you firm up your faith on God’s word for you are only limited by your faith. This is so important for the church because God has design it to be the most common expression of healing from scriptural statistics, and prepares the ground for the other types of expression. Stepping out into healing by faith develops your spiritual muscles for when the heavy power dimension is released and spiritual flexibility for the instructed healing.

Word from God: one thing stops the power of healing - unbelief.