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Healing

John Bunyan (author of the classic Pilgrim's Progress) wrote the following in his book Grace Abounding to the Chief Sinners:

As for my own natural life for the time that I was without God in the world, it was indeed “according to the course of this world,” and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2,3) It was my delight to be taken captive by the “devil at his will,” 2 Tim. 2: 26, being filled with all unrighteousness; the which did also so strongly work and put forth itself both in my heart and life, and that from a child, that I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.  Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with fearful visions.  For often, after I had spent this and the other day in sin, I have in my bed been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought, labored to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid.

Observe this vivid and honest confession of a man who has recognized that he is in fact dead in his sin.  Can you hear the excruciating anguish of his words? Can you feel the struggle of his soul against the utter wretchedness of his estate?  For is that not where Christ finds us all adrift and helpless in the misery of our self-made death?  Is it not life that He offers us?  The question He asks each one of us is, “Do you want to be healed?”

The Apostle John preserves for us this wondrous illustration:

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed.  One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”  The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. (John 5:2-9 RSV)

We have all kinds of open wounds we call hurts, angers, and fears. We keep them hidden deep within our hearts yet they nevertheless affect the way we live.  These are wounds that must be healed if we are to live our lives for the Savior.  Only He can heal them. The question is, will we let Him?  Jesus says to us, "Do you want to be healed?"  These wounds are fortresses where the enemy of our soul still holds us captive.  They are strongholds of the enemy still because we were the ones who chose to guard the gate with impotence, arrogance and passivity as our weapons: arrogance in our belief that we have, in our own strength, the ability to live a life worthy of our calling; impotence in our perceived, yet hollow, victories against this terrible foe; passivity in our faith experience as we await the holy lightning bolt to set it all straight.

Mother Martyria (1904-1999, the much loved co-founder of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary) once said, “It is your constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle against sin, not occasional victories or defeats.”  Perhaps Isaiah said it best, “ Have you never heard or understood?  Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth?  He never grows faint or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT) Get it? “Constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle.” Hebrews calls it entering into the “Sabbath rest.”

Hanna Whitall Smith, in The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, described this phenomena as follows:  “You have found Jesus as your Savior from the penalty of sin, but you have not found Him as your Savior from its power.  You have carefully studied the Holy Scriptures and have gathered much precious truth from them.  You have trusted that this would feed and nourish your spiritual life. But in spite of it all, your souls are starving and dying within you.  You cry out in secret, again and again, for that bread and water of life which you see promised in the Scriptures to all believers. In the very depths of your heart, you know that your experience is not a Scriptural experience.  As an old writer said, your religion is ‘merely talk whereas, the early Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived it.’  Your hearts have weakened within you, as day after day, and year after year, your early visions of triumph have grown dimmer.  You have accepted that the best you can expect from your religion is a life of alternate failure and victory one hour sinning and the next repenting, and then beginning again, only to fail and repent again.”

It is one thing to know of our great need and yet another to know God’s way of deliverance from our sin. We feel that our life is not what it ought to be. We can see in our past, seasons of spiritual highs that did not last that were followed by the slow declension back into the pit from where we once came.  Andrew Murray said in The Spirit of Christ: “There can be little doubt that the answer must be this: they did not know or honor the Indwelling Spirit as the strength of their life, as the power of their faith, to keep them always looking to Jesus and trusting in Him.  They knew not what it was, day by day, to wait in lowly reverence for the Holy Spirit to deliver from the power of the flesh, and to maintain the wonderful presence of the Father and the Son within them.

For John Bunyan, the way of healing began when the Holy Spirit illuminated this passage from Scripture, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others." 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT

Are you drowning in the pool of sin of your own making?  Does the victorious life in Christ seem only a distant dream?  Jesus is still asking, “Do you want to be healed?” Romans 9:16 says: “So receiving God's promise is not up to us.  We can't get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone he chooses.”  Beloved we are a vessel of mercy by God’s sovereign choice. We then can learn to rest in His mercy.

“He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  You have been healed by his wounds! (1 Peter 2:24 NLT)

Healing

John Bunyan (author of the classic Pilgrim's Progress) wrote the following in his book Grace Abounding to the Chief Sinners:

As for my own natural life for the time that I was without God in the world, it was indeed “according to the course of this world,” and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2,3) It was my delight to be taken captive by the “devil at his will,” 2 Tim. 2: 26, being filled with all unrighteousness; the which did also so strongly work and put forth itself both in my heart and life, and that from a child, that I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.  Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with fearful visions.  For often, after I had spent this and the other day in sin, I have in my bed been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought, labored to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid.

Observe this vivid and honest confession of a man who has recognized that he is in fact dead in his sin.  Can you hear the excruciating anguish of his words? Can you feel the struggle of his soul against the utter wretchedness of his estate?  For is that not where Christ finds us all adrift and helpless in the misery of our self-made death?  Is it not life that He offers us?  The question He asks each one of us is, “Do you want to be healed?”

The Apostle John preserves for us this wondrous illustration:

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed.  One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”  The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. (John 5:2-9 RSV)

We have all kinds of open wounds we call hurts, angers, and fears. We keep them hidden deep within our hearts yet they nevertheless affect the way we live.  These are wounds that must be healed if we are to live our lives for the Savior.  Only He can heal them. The question is, will we let Him?  Jesus says to us, "Do you want to be healed?"  These wounds are fortresses where the enemy of our soul still holds us captive.  They are strongholds of the enemy still because we were the ones who chose to guard the gate with impotence, arrogance and passivity as our weapons: arrogance in our belief that we have, in our own strength, the ability to live a life worthy of our calling; impotence in our perceived, yet hollow, victories against this terrible foe; passivity in our faith experience as we await the holy lightning bolt to set it all straight.

Mother Martyria (1904-1999, the much loved co-founder of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary) once said, “It is your constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle against sin, not occasional victories or defeats.”  Perhaps Isaiah said it best, “ Have you never heard or understood?  Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth?  He never grows faint or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT) Get it? “Constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle.” Hebrews calls it entering into the “Sabbath rest.”

Hanna Whitall Smith, in The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, described this phenomena as follows:  “You have found Jesus as your Savior from the penalty of sin, but you have not found Him as your Savior from its power.  You have carefully studied the Holy Scriptures and have gathered much precious truth from them.  You have trusted that this would feed and nourish your spiritual life. But in spite of it all, your souls are starving and dying within you.  You cry out in secret, again and again, for that bread and water of life which you see promised in the Scriptures to all believers. In the very depths of your heart, you know that your experience is not a Scriptural experience.  As an old writer said, your religion is ‘merely talk whereas, the early Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived it.’  Your hearts have weakened within you, as day after day, and year after year, your early visions of triumph have grown dimmer.  You have accepted that the best you can expect from your religion is a life of alternate failure and victory one hour sinning and the next repenting, and then beginning again, only to fail and repent again.”

It is one thing to know of our great need and yet another to know God’s way of deliverance from our sin. We feel that our life is not what it ought to be. We can see in our past, seasons of spiritual highs that did not last that were followed by the slow declension back into the pit from where we once came.  Andrew Murray said in The Spirit of Christ: “There can be little doubt that the answer must be this: they did not know or honor the Indwelling Spirit as the strength of their life, as the power of their faith, to keep them always looking to Jesus and trusting in Him.  They knew not what it was, day by day, to wait in lowly reverence for the Holy Spirit to deliver from the power of the flesh, and to maintain the wonderful presence of the Father and the Son within them.

For John Bunyan, the way of healing began when the Holy Spirit illuminated this passage from Scripture, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others." 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT

Are you drowning in the pool of sin of your own making?  Does the victorious life in Christ seem only a distant dream?  Jesus is still asking, “Do you want to be healed?” Romans 9:16 says: “So receiving God's promise is not up to us.  We can't get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone he chooses.”  Beloved we are a vessel of mercy by God’s sovereign choice. We then can learn to rest in His mercy.

“He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  You have been healed by his wounds! (1 Peter 2:24 NLT)


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Christian Military Fellowship

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