Jesus Our Healer

“It’s clear from the Gospels that Jesus was a healer. We don’t know the exact number of people He healed, but it was certainly in the thousands, as on many occasions the Gospel writers tell us He healed ‘multitudes.’ We don’t know all the afflictions people suffered from, but they included leprosy, a deformed hand, swollen limbs, hemorrhaging, blindness, deafness, lameness, paralysis, seizures, a severed ear, and even death.

“It’s tempting to believe that all these people were healed by their faith, but we don’t know that for sure. We do know, however, that they were all healed by Jesus.

“I’m not just playing with words here.

“There are about forty different descriptions of healings in the four Gospels (some are described in more than one place), but faith is said to play an explicit part in only a little more than one-third of them. And in most of those healings, the faith of another person, not the afflicted, is stated. Faith is not even mentioned in the majority of Jesus’ recorded healings. Only twice did Jesus remark about someone (the centurion in Matthew 8:10 and the Gentile mother in Matthew 15:28) having great faith before He healed that person’s loved one.

“The common factor in all Jesus’ recorded healing miracles was Jesus Himself—not the faith of the sick people or their loved ones.” —Lynn Eib, in Peace In The Face Of Cancer

Charles Spurgeon To Christians: Don’t Be Afraid

C.H. Spurgeon“Poverty, you may walk through my door, but God is already in my house, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude into my life, but I have a cure standing ready—God has chosen me. Whatever occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me. Dear Christian, do not be afraid, for Jesus is with you. Through all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never forsake those He has chosen for His own. ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you’ (Genesis 26:24) is His unfailing word of promise to His chosen ones who are experiencing ‘the furnace of affliction.’” —Charles Spurgeon

Links & Quotes

link quote

FAM101-How-RFRA-Works-Infographic-R5“Based on the vitriol directed towards Indiana, one would never know that 19 states and the federal government already have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) virtually identical to the one passed by the Hoosier state. One governor, Malloy of Connecticut, blasted Governor Pence even though Connecticut’s RFRA potentially goes further than Indiana’s in offering protections to people of faith. Companies such as Apple speak of boycotting Indiana while simultaneously opening stores in China and Saudi Arabia, places of real enslavement and discrimination. While most of the rhetoric is designed to intimidate other states from following Indiana’s lead, it is disturbing to see how many Americans places greater importance on sexual freedom and economic prosperity than they do on freedom of conscience.” ―Michigan Family Forum

Here’s a great infographic explaining how the RFRA really works.

The Barna Group has some research showing what Americans believe about Jesus.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here are 5 signs that someone may have been (or is being) abused.

Interesting: research is showing that you might be healthier not getting a blood transfusion.

Seth Godin says, “Being really good is merely the first step. In order to earn word of mouth, you need to make it safe, fun and worthwhile to overcome the social hurdles to spread the word.” Read more in his post The Selfish Truth About Word Of Mouth.

[VIDEO] J. Warner Wallace and Bobby Conway discuss when you should stop looking at other religions…

 

The Great Physician

The Christian's Secret“If our Father permits a trial to come, it must be because the trial is the sweetest and best thing that could happen to us, and we must accept it with thanks from His dear hand.

“… A very good illustration of this may be found in the familiar fact of a mother giving medicine to her dearly loved child. The bottle holds the medicine, but the mother gives it; and the bottle is not responsible, but the mother. No matter how full her closet may be of bottles of medicine, the mother will not allow one drop to be given to the child unless she believes it will be good for it; but when she does believe it will be good for her darling, the very depth of her love compels her to force it on the child, no matter how bitter may be its taste. The human beings around us are often the bottles that hold our medicine, but it is our Father’s hand of love that pours out the medicine, and compels us to drink it. The human bottle is the ‘second cause’ of our trial; but it has no real agency in it, for the medicine that these human ‘bottles’ hold is prescribed for us and given to us by the Great Physician of our souls, who is seeking thereby to heal all our spiritual diseases.” —Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian’s Secret Of A Happy Life

Sidelined (book review)

SidelinedEvery once in awhile I come across a book that is hard to put down. Sidelined by Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, is just such a book.

Before I lose anyone who says, “Football? Not interested,” let me assure you that this is not a football book. This is a great story of near-tragedy and triumph that happens to have a football coach as its main character. This is a book about family, and faith, and teamwork, and pulling together, and overcoming. It’s a love story with a happy ending. It’s a great book!

In a nutshell, Chuck Pagano is hired as the head coach of the Colts, the first time in his career he has gotten a shot at being a head coach. Just a couple of games into his very first season, he is diagnosed with leukemia and sees his coaching responsibilities immediately halted. He enters into a life-and-death struggle with cancer, and ultimately beats it. But the real triumph of the story is the way his diagnosis pulled together a whole city, and even other NFL cities, to raise awareness of this dreaded disease.

Sidelined doesn’t really have an ending, because Coach Pagano’s career is still ongoing, and so is the fight against leukemia. After reading this book, I’m not only cheering for Coach, but I’m also cheering on those in the fight of their lives against cancer as well as those searching for a cure for this disease.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Unstoppable (book review)

UnstoppableNick Vujicic didn’t just write a book called Unstoppable, he embodies unstoppable!

If you are not familiar with Nick’s amazingly encouraging story, check out his first book called Life Without Limbs. In Unstoppable, Nick presents an uplifting follow-up for those facing some of the darkest situations of life: sickness, bullying, suicidal thoughts, purposelessness, lost love, and dead-ends.

Nick weaves together his own life story with those he has interacted with, and ties them all together with a solid strand of scriptural truth. This is not some pie-in-the-sky, three-steps-to-happiness, sappy self-help book. It rings with genuineness because Nick lives out the message of hope. Make no mistake about it, he is realistic about how dark these situations can seem, but instead of offering any get-better-quick schemes, Nick shares the hope that can only come from trusting in a loving Creator.

In the first chapter Nick writes—

I wish I could tell people that if they love God, everything will be okay. The truth is that people still stuffer. They endure sickness, financial problems, broken relationships, and the loss of loved ones. Tragedies occur in every life, and I believe we are meant to learn from them. My hope is that when people who are in pain see that I have a joyful life, they will think, If Nick—without arms and legs—is thankful, then I will be thankful for today, and I will do my best.

From start to finish, this book oozes with unstoppable hope and encouragement!

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

The Refinement Of Pain

I was recently invited to join a bunch of guys — mostly staff in the Cedar Springs schools — for some early morning basketball. I love basketball, I’m a morning guy, and getting to know new people in Cedar Springs made this an invitation I couldn’t refuse. So I started hoopin’ this week. It was nice to get back on the hardwood floor!

Yesterday morning, I jumped in my car to come home to shower. It’s a mile from the school to my house, but by the time I got home, my back muscles had seized up and I was barely able to stand up to get out of the car. I’ve had this happen to me once before, and it’s a whole lot of no fun!

So all day yesterday my schedule had to be modified, as it hurt to move, it hurt to stand for too long, and it hurt to sit for too long. I couldn’t get in the car… in fact, I couldn’t even bend over far enough to put my own socks on! All my plans for the day were shot.

But here’s what I learned: my day wasn’t shot. My plans may not have worked out, but it was still a good day. Pain has a tendency to refine what’s really important out of the trivial stuff.

  • A day in pain and immobility reminded me of just how blessed I am to normally have good health.
  • It prompted me to pray for others who are confined to a wheelchair or their beds.
  • It gave me greater empathy for those who live in chronic pain.
  • It made me more thankful that I have access to medicines and caregivers, things that some people find only rarely.
  • It let me see more clearly the love my family and friends have for me.
  • It gave me more time to pray.

Now here’s the tricky part: to live with these things close by even when I’m not in pain.

Here’s what C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem Of Pain

I am progressing along the path of life in my ordinary contentedly fallen and godless condition, absorbed in a merry meeting with my friends for the morrow or a bit of work that tickles my vanity today, a holiday or a new book, when suddenly a stab of abdominal [or back] pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in the newspapers that threatens us all with destruction, send this whole pack of cards tumbling down. At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys. Then, slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times. I remind myself that these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my own real treasure is in Christ. And perhaps, by God’s grace, I succeed, and for a day or two become a creature consciously dependent on God and drawing strength from the right sources. But the moment the threat is withdrawn, my whole nature leaps back to the toys: I am even anxious, God forgive me, to banish from my mind the only thing that supported me under the threat because it is now associated with the misery of those few days. Thus the terrible necessity of tribulation is only too clear. God has had me for but forty-eight hours and then only by dint of taking everything else away from me. Let Him but sheathe that sword for a moment and I behave like a puppy when the hated bath is over — I shake myself as dry as I can and race off to reacquire my comfortable dirtiness, if not in the nearest manure heap, at least in the nearest flower bed. And that is why tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.

With God’s help I’m going to avoid running back to my “toys” today. I’m trying to keep the most important thing in the forefront of my thoughts today.

Have you learned any lessons from pain? If so, please feel free to share in the comments.

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