I Peter 5:8-11(NLT)
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.
I want more. I cannot explain the feeling deep inside my soul except to say I want more of Jesus in my life. What am I going to do about it? The Lord has promised to restore, support and strengthen us while placing us on a firm foundation. He did not exclude the fact that there will be some suffering along the way. Suffering means to undergo or feel pain or distress. It is to sustain injury, disadvantage or even loss. Suffering means undergoing, going through, subjected to or enduring an experience in life. There are many levels of suffering dependent on the person, situation or events and how they impact the individual. Every instance of suffering in our life has the potential to produce a change. The level of change or kind of change is up to that person. It doesn’t mean that you will go through the same things I will or vice versa. We are all on our own charted course to the Kingdom of God with our own designated blessings along the way. The premise of this journey must be faith that produces confident hope that keeps us engaged in daily following Jesus Christ.
Stay alert! The enemy doesn’t want you to keep moving. He wants you to stop so that evil can overtake you, bind you or destroy you. His intentions for you are never good even though it comes veiled as relief. Keep pushing. Keep pressing. Standing firm against the enemy is only possible on a platform of faith. Have you come up lame today? Just tired of pressing on or pressing in, considering giving up the good fight of faith to find a little comfort? Don’t give up. Stand up. The Lord has provided all that we need to live a godly or god-like life which includes restoration, support and strength. He desires our total renovation into what God has planned for us to be. Jesus died to unlock the hidden potential within each and every one of us overshadowed by sin and darkness that creates a shroud around the truth that must be broken.
There are many things that can rob us from the things the Lord has for us. Our circumstances produce change that is always good when we learn to trust the Lord in every situation. I don’t know exactly how He does it but I know He does. I know that if I will just trust Jesus, it always seems to work out better than I expected…if I will only believe.
John 5:1-8 (NLT)
Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
If you really want to get me riled up, say “if it’s God’s Will, heal so-and-so.” Healing is a promise of God for His People. He heals medically, miraculously or mercifully. People on both sides of the religious fence struggle with this statement. I know people who think God heals everyone miraculously. Well, why do old people die in their infirmity? Because His Mercy says, “Come home.” Why do some people rely on medicine and not just pray? Well, who do you think created every good thing? God also gives us common sense. Our son recently had an outpatient procedure to remove his port. Shortly after, he developed hives. This has happened to him before so we knew to take Benadryl. There was no panic. We did ask people to pray but he still took the medicine for relief of the itching. If you have a headache, take some pain reliever. Other times God chooses to miraculously change our situation and heal our bodies on the spot. These times, of course, are my favorite. The bottom line is that God was to make us complete and whole. This process begins on earth and is completed in Heaven. It is lifelong into forever. It is a mind, soul and bodily effect. You can be whole in your body and die in your soul day by day.
With this in mind, we visit the guy sitting near the Sheep Gate at the pool of Bethesda. He was among blind, lame and paralyzed crowds all waiting for the stirring of the water to be healed. He had been sick for 38 years. Hidden in a crowd of sick people, living in his infirmity and then Jesus came. Why would the Lord ask him if he would “like to get well”? Truth is sometimes we begin to identify with our weakness and stop pursuing strength. I heard a preacher say once that if you wanted to be healed and the Lord answered your prayer it would mean giving up that disability check and getting a job. Do you still want to be healed? When you are made whole the crutches in life have to go, and you have to walk it out. We want the blessings of God but do we want the responsibilities that come with them. Do we really want to be healed, restored and completed in Christ? Good question.
The man said what I have heard over and over. I can’t. Why not try? There is no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets ahead of me. This is the mentality of most of the church today. We want someone to carry us to our promise when Jesus tells us to stand up, pick up our mat and walk. Faith is how we stand, to believe is responsible Christianity, and walking means doing something about it rather than waiting for another weak and helpless person to do it for you. If we have Jesus, then we have everything we need to be healed, restored and made new. In Him are all the components of change needed to walk from death to life and victory to victory. He carried our sins to the Cross and gave us the grace needed to be made right with God which is to be fully healed, restored and set free. Do we want it? How long have you been suffering? Who are you waiting for? Has that thing you desired been in you all along? We are given the Living Breathing Spirit of God to produce everything in us needed to be all that God created us to be. What are we doing with it today?
Acts 3:1-8 (NLT)
Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
What is our expectation in coming to Christ? The man lame from birth expected to be taken care of. He couldn’t take care of his self. He needed assistance. He needed help to live. When he was carried at prayer time to beg from those faithful followers, the man asked for what he thought he needed and all they had to offer. But then he ran into a couple of disciples, who had no money, but they did have the Power of God in them. What are you asking God for? Do you want to be complete or cared for in life? If the Lord has promised to meet all of our needs, why are we begging Him for finances? God meets our infirmity first and empowers us to walk in His Love. I do not want the Lord to facilitate my lifestyle. I want Him to make me complete and lacking no good thing. His Will, not my own.
Now before we move on, there is a very good point to be made in this story. Peter and John didn’t just drop the Word on this guy and walk away. No. They took him by the hand and helped him get up. What are we doing to help others? Are we too immersed in our own problems to help others find the way? There is healing in helping. It puts our problems into perspective and takes the focus off of us. This is how it is supposed to work.
I have been in the position where I didn’t have the money it would take to pay for our son’s treatment. We thought a bone marrow transplant would be covered. It was not. The insurance company denied us six times. I exhausted every resource I had, called everyone I could think of and did everything I knew to do. This was our child. I couldn’t give up. We had no way to make this happen. I didn’t pray for $350,000. I asked the Lord to have His Way. The next day, our son was approved for treatment. He has been in remission for over a year now. To God be the Glory. He is our Source. We must come to the place as believers that the Lord becomes our Source of Life.
Luke 6:6-11 (NLT)
On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.
I am tiptoeing here as to not offend anyone. Healing, signs, wonders, and miracles belong in church. You have to have some key components to experience them. There has to be Jesus. He must die on the Cross. His Blood must run red. You must visit there often. Religion can keep us from God’s Best sometimes. We must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ outside of church to know the difference. When Jesus healed the man with the deformed hand on the Sabbath at church, it provoked rage. Why? Why wouldn’t others be excited? There is no restoration outside of Jesus Christ. The man or woman standing in that pulpit needs just as much grace and mercy as you do. We are living in a day and age that if you do not know the Word or are not filled with God’s Spirit to test every other spirit, it is a huge disadvantage. There is just as much evil in church as there is in the world. We must clean our churches and clear our agendas to make room for the Lord to move again.
What do you want from the Lord today? We get so distracted with our own expectation that is so much less than God desires for us. When Jesus ascended, it was clear that the disciples didn’t get it. There were things left undone. (Acts 1:6-11) Jesus was about to ascend to Heaven. The apostles were asking when will you free Israel and restore our kingdom again. These were their expectations. No one asked the Lord in that moment to go with Him but that Jesus would make their world better. I am surprised…not really. I wonder what would happen if Heaven became a reality in our life?
John 20:24-29 (NLT)
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Blessed are those who believe without seeing me. Jesus is looking for those kind of people. Those who dare to expect the impossible and chase after Him for it. I can’t blame Thomas. There are days when I ask the Lord to reveal Himself to me again. I have experienced the Presence of God and I have witnessed miracles. I still have days when my belief is overshadowed with doubt. What if I am wrong? What if this is all just something I made up in my head? Jesus comes. Peace is restored. My world may not be made right but I am made right when my heart and mind are set on Him. I want to believe in all things. I don’t want to live my life in any kind of infirmity be it mind, soul or body. Jesus came to give us life abundantly. I want that life. Suffering will happen. Tragedies will occur. This world is dominated by sin, darkness, and evil. But greater is He who is inside of me than He who is in the world. I must tap into the Resource hidden inside of me to release Him. It begins in me but should not stop there but be extended to the lost and dying world filled with lame people. God wants to heal and deliver us all. It begins with me first. I must decide stay alert. I must live in my own expectation. I must not settle or compromise for less than complete wholeness. I must believe.
John 10:10 (NLT)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
James 1:2-8 (NLT)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.