Confronting the Giants
As the air, water, and land become more polluted, we find ourselves bombarded with hoards of diseases and unavoidable contaminations. Every Christian is called upon at one time or another to deal with the more severe consequences of this widespread pollution. These episodes often remind us of our need for a higher power, which sometimes seem just out of reach of the human concept.
There are many knowledgeable books on the market now, including the Bible, which deal with the biblical approach to a higher energy and especially divine healing.
More and more members of the Christian society have accepted the obvious, that is, the Bible gives the believing Christian the privilege of experiencing miracles and divine healing.
Christians from almost every denomination are becoming familiar enough with their Bible to accept the fact that Christ not only taught His followers to accept divine healing for their own body, but endued the Church with the power to heal others. Yet as we look at the overall picture, we see few Christians who consistently depend upon divine healing or expect the miraculous to sustain them in a crisis.
Even before I was forced to deal with terminal cancer, I gave this subject much thought. We are continuously in touch with a great number of people and have become grievously aware that cancer is taking an outrageous toll on a greater number of Christians than some of us had previously suspected. To add to this heartbreaking dilemma, there are many other dedicated Christians who are suffering from various diseases and afflictions that are not benefiting from the promise of divine healing. Christians are not always immune to attacks, but they are always guaranteed that they will receive deliverance out of them, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but Yahweh delivers him out of them all,” Psalm 34:19.
I am convinced that many of these suffering Christians have never questioned the legitimacy of the biblical teaching of divine healing and yet faithfully promote the doctrine as being a sound biblical doctrine. I assume that this is true of most Bible believers. Then I ask, in the face of this paradox, Why are there so many Christians dying prematurely of these diseases? My conclusion is that it is not lack of faith in Yahweh’s ability to heal, but lack of faith in themselves to appropriate the promises that are given. They know Yahweh can heal, but they do not believe they are capable of believing strong enough to receive it. I believe that this is one of the faith-stoppers. The carnal mind cannot believe that it does not have to merit divine healing. Another faith-stopper is that many lose faith if they do not experience instant healing. They do not discern the difference in the gift of miracles and the gift of healing.
In 1954, I had a severe lung problem that affected both my lungs. I was prayed for as the Spirit had instructed me, but I continued to experience hemorrhaging from the lungs for sometime after the prayer was offered. I was miraculously healed when they prayed, but I was not instantly made well. At the time I was prayed for, the healing process went into effect and continued over a period of time until my lungs were strong and well.
During that time I was not taking medication. I was a homemaker and caring for four small children. I confess I sometimes had to deal with negative thoughts that were produced by the presence of the persistent symptoms. But I held to the Word and reaped the benefits. I have been divinely healed many times since then and found myself dealing with the same negative thought process when the healing did not happen instantly. My healing seldom does.
There will never be a better time to deal with these negative thoughts that present themselves to the Christian’s mind than the present. But we must securely buckle down in our Spirit armor if we are to excel in this endeavor: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Yahweh: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…,” Ephesians 6:14-19.
Though the above passage of scriptures were penned by Paul, he evidently was no stranger to this negative thought battle and dealt with it in Second Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Yahweh to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Yahweh, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Paul offered us the above solution.
I firmly believe that Paul knew it was and still is possible to cast down the negative imaginations (carnal thought patterns) that most of us have practiced if we have on full armor. If we do not put on the whole armor, we will eventually fall in battle.
Let us look at the armor that is available to us and deal with it out of the symbolic realm. The first thing we are told to buckle on is truth. Never is truth harder to deal with than when it is used as a mirror to reflect our own image. There is a scripture that states, “The little foxes spoil the vines, and our vineyards have blossoms,” Song of Solomon 2:15, Interlinear. A truer statement has never been made. I have observed these little foxes gnawing at the vine that were in bloom, unnoticed. The names of a couple of these little pests are gossip and unnecessary criticism—especially behind the back of the criticized victim. If we were aware of the price we must pay for these unprofitable privileges, we would not be willing to pay the purchasing price.
We are living in a society that accepts rudeness as a common practice. We are free to collectively criticize public servants: police officers, politicians, ministers, the medical profession, school officials, and teachers, without serious thought of the consequences. Comedians openly poke fun at motherhood, dignitaries, the clergy, and no one is immune to their attacks. This, they have done to entertain the public until a generation has grown up who are duped into thinking it is a fun thing to do. Yet, if it is condemned in the Bible, it is a faith-stopper whether we are entertained by it or not. This kind of amusement is detrimental to society. It destroys respect and belittles the sacred.
Our nation’s youth are often stereotyped and collectively condemned by thoughtless Christians. No doubt we do have problems with some of our youth and from a few of the members of all the above professions, but to say doctors are only interested in money or that all politicians are crooked is only speaking out of one’s evil imagination. Collective criticism is always evil, as is the condemning of historical characters. Yet many Christians practice it.
Christianity replaced Judaism, yet even they knew better than to destroy the reputation of their political heroes and historical patriarchs. Quoting from Houston Smith’s book, The Religions of Man, 1963, “Against those who would throw the past away with both hands that they may grasp the present more readily, Judaism accounts the memory of the past as a priceless treasure. Most historically minded of all the religions it finds holiness and history inseparable.”
If we are to bring every thought into obedience to Christ, we will not only deal with our comments and remarks, but we must correct our thought-pattern and refuse to judge by the seeing of our eyes and hearing of our ears. Think, the carnal mind is an enemy to the truth. The Spirit does not judge by outward appearance. If we allow ourselves to thoughtlessly pass judgment on any individual, whether it is saint or sinner, we are not doing it through the Spirit of Truth.
Careless remarks are detrimental to society and breed hostility; they destroy confidence and respect. I am not speaking of constructive rebuke and criticism, for the Church could not survive without the right to honestly deal with bad situations. But Christians who must listen to embittered and collective criticis, must be on guard against allowing themselves to become brainwashed. We must gird our mind with truth.
The second part of our armor is needed to accompany the first— we must walk in the Spirit of righteousness. We must pattern our lives after Christ and the written Word and be willing to walk contrary to the world. The breastplate of righteousness protects us from being agitated and sidetracked by the trivial. It not only protects us from snide remarks and from being offended by the mistreatment of others, but it protects our mind from the normal imaginations. All judgment that is not revealed by the Holy Spirit is of the carnal imagination. We cannot know the heart of another individual unless the Spirit of Love exposes it to us. And as strange as it may seem, the Holy Spirit sometimes gives us this privilege to create a love-bond between the exposed person and us. But never does He reveal it for destructive and hurtful gossip. To repeat a Spirit-inspired insight to others betrays sacred trust.
Human actions can look good and yet produce evil; sometimes motives can be wrong and yet be disguised as constructive criticism, because we are so often misguided by evil imaginations. At the core of every being is a heart that is hungering for love and acceptance.
If we are to reach the lost for Christ, we must be willing to look beyond that which seems to be the obvious, that is, the carnal imaginations that hinder and sometimes blind us and prevent us from finding the Christ-child within the seed, which was conceived at the cross. I assure you the seed of Life is imbedded there, “That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world,” Saint John 1:9.
Next, Paul speaks of the preparation of the good news (gospel). Notice he did not only say “good news” (this is the true meaning of the Greek word “gospel”) but he added two more words: “of peace,” the good news “of peace.” Peace is always good news. Why did he call it the good news of peace? Paul knew the sin issue was settled once and for all at the cross—there the battle had been fought and won. The wall of separation had been broken down and the way into the Holiest of Holy had been paved. Yahweh was now inviting all creation to come boldly before the throne of His grace. Well Glory! We can approach the King. And what is greater is that we can bring as many guests with us as we can persuade to come. But should we introduce them by numerating their shortcomings? Of course we shouldn’t. But do we? What is our conversation concerning those confused and lost individuals that the Lord allows us to minister to? Do we see them through the eyes of mercy? Or do we judge according to our own obvious observation, which is our imagination? Too many people see the Word of Yahweh as a book of angry and lowering threats. They have made their preparation, but not with the gospel of peace.
Paul was spiritually wise. He understood the power of faith and assures us that Spirit-born faith has the ability to protect the mind against doubts, fears, and negative remarks of others. Please notice that Paul did not say that the shield of faith would protect us from “some” of the fiery darts; he said it would protect us from “all” the fiery darts. He did not say it “might” protect us. He said it “would” protect us. If we have our shield of faith in position, we will not be wounded by the bombardment of evil imaginations which we must withstand.
Our Lord expressed his position in Yahweh when he stated, “… for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me,” John 14:30. If we have our shield of faith in place when the spirits arise to agitate and arouse us, they will find no fuel to ignite.
When we understand that Yahweh is with us twenty-four-seven and we accept that our steps are ordered by him and when we truly believe that all things are working together for our good, we can rest in him. Faith is trusting Yahweh with all 1440 minutes of our day. We must believe he loves us and is involved in our lives. This does not mean that he has made puppets of us. It simply means that he is allowing us to make the best decisions we know how to make, which might sometimes be irrational ones, while he stands with us making them work to affect growth in our spirit-man.
Going back to verse seventeen, I would like to exchange the word helmet with crown. It is wonderful to allow our head to be adorned with our salvation. We should serve the Lord with a meek and quiet spirit, and we should never be loud, boisterous, and pushy. But we can act in a manner that people will be conscious that a member of the new creation is in their midst. We can wear our salvation so that it is a thing of beauty to those around us. I love to feel the Spirit of the Lord responding to others in love and respect, especially when I am aware that he is ministering those attributes out from my temple.
A helmet is the part of the armor that protects the head. It is vital in the time of battle. We may feel pretty strong in our flesh, but we never enter into the warfare of the Lord as long as we are operating in the flesh. Those who are operating in the flesh are on the opposing side of the Lord’s army. We do not get our enlistment papers until we are born from above.
When we enter into battle, we must be armed and ready to make war. Christians are given swords not only to war with, but for protection against the enemy. Too many Christians are struggling along attempting to be effective soldiers for the Lord who have not the slightest insight of what the war is all about or who the enemy is. These defenseless creatures are more detrimental to the battle than the enemy. Before we attempt to join the battle, we need to study the Bible. We may have a Bible and read it through once a year, but until we take the time to study the Bible we absolutely have no business signing up for a major battle.
We sometimes think we battle with other people, and sometimes we do; but if we are reaching for maturity, we must become aware that our enemy is not always another person, but instead we are battling against the attitude and imagination we hold against our adversary.
Now that we have our armor in place, we are ready to fulfill the instructions given in Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Faith doesn’t only come by praying, faith comes by hearing the word of truth. So let us look at some favorite scriptures that should be strong enough to strengthen our faith. There is an ample supply in the storehouse of Yahweh to meet every need in our lives, but we must purchase them with active faith. This is explained in Mark 16:15-18: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (remain under condemnation). And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Please look closely here and notice the signs are not said to be following everyone—the signs are only following those that believe. Are these signs following you? Remember it is not enough to believe in the power of some well-known faith healer; we must believe in the Christ within. Remember, your hope, my hope, our hope is in Christ within. We must have confidence in our own relationship with the Holy Spirit if we are to reap the full benefit of our experience and open the storehouse of faith.
It is good to have faith in the gifts that are operating through the brethren, but if we must depend on another to visit the storehouse for us, our supplies will not be ample.
Now if we did not have a carnal mind to fight, we would have enough evidence to convince us that we can heal and be healed, but we must deal with reality and go on.
If we believe the Bible, we should be able to believe in healing. Though we see Yahweh as a healer in Genesis, we are introduced to him more fully through his dealings with Israel in Exodus. It is as if he is using Israel to introduce himself to the world. One of his early introductions to Israel is found in Exodus 15:26: “And God (Yahweh) said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of Yahweh thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am Yahweh that healeth thee.
Healing was not first introduced to mankind at the time of the New Testament. Yahweh was a Savior and a healer in Genesis; he was a healer when Christ manifested him to the world. He is a healer today and will always be a healer.
Yahweh revealed himself as a healer to Abimelech (Gen. 20:17-18) and used Abraham as his instrument. If he did not exercise power over his creation, he would not be supreme. There would remain a power that reached above him.
Our next scripture does not deal specifically with healing, but it does include our physical needs. It is found in Mark 11:22-26: “And Yasha answering says unto them, Have faith in Yahweh. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
In verses 22-24, our Savior makes a very strong statement that he did not modify with might, but, or maybe: “If you will believe you will receive.” In verses 25-26, he deals with another faith-stopper. The Savior did not say, If you are an unforgiving person, I will not answer your prayer. He said, “If you will not forgive, you will not be forgiven.” The principle of faith in the Word works on the same principle. If you are unable to forgive others, you are yet dwelling in darkness. You have not been converted because you have not trusted, believed in, or in other words, you do not have faith in Christ who came to manifest the principle of love.
Accepting the principle of love demands that we live by it. If we receive the love of Yahweh into our hearts and minds, we will love others with His unconditional love, which is a forgiving love. If you are unwilling to forgive, it will not benefit you to pray for more faith for your healing until you deal with your problem. You must confess your fault and ask for a changed heart. You must ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart so you may experience love and faith in the principle that Christ taught. If you have never experienced this love, you may not be aware of its existence—many Christians are not.
Please allow me to testify to you. There is a love that extends itself beyond fault and failure; it extends itself above nationality, above gender, above social standing, and human ability. In fact, it supercedes all earthly obstacles and allows us to have, feel, and manifest love unconditionally. It produces a love that goes beyond human reasoning to grasp the wisdom of Yahweh. It is an awesome experience because we remain aware of our human inability to experience impartial love. We suddenly become aware that the flesh, with all of its awesome abilities, cannot produce impartial love. Flesh cannot produce love that is not stimulated by some form of self-interest.
First Corinthians twelve confirms the fact that divine healing is one of the nine gifts and is set in the Church. This means that some members have this supernatural gift of healing and others do not. If we are fortunate enough to know an individual that does, we may receive many healings without dealing with our growth and the lack in our own life. But Paul warns that the gifts, being in part, will fail us sooner or later, and it seems to happen when we least expect it. One of our leading evangelists wrote that only one out of four people that went through his healing lines were actually healed; compare this with the individual that was not operating in the gift realm: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick,” Matthew 8:16.
“Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them,” Luke 4:40.
“And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of Yahweh,” Luke 6:17-20.
“Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him (the typical religious reaction to living faith). But when Yasha knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all,” Matthew 12:14-15. Now that is an impressive reaction to persecution, wouldn’t you say?
Christians, we are not talking Pentecost here; we’re talking Tabernacles. It is not an easy task to convince the Church of the reality of the Word now. But when the day comes that we can deal with the demons, as Christ did, that have so many folks bound I am convinced that it will change the scene. Well Glory! How would you like to minister in the capacity that Christ did? Press on in; it is coming.
If we desire to leave the gift realm behind to lay claim to Tabernacles, which is the more excellent way, we must get into our armor and fight until we win the victory. We should be careful not to confuse the battle ground with our ministry. The battle comes first, and when the battle has been won, it is time to get into your ministry. It took Moses forty years to get Egypt out of himself so that Yahweh could send him back to lead the people out of their bondage.
We do not want to shadow-box, so let us identify our enemy and get ready to pull down the strong holds that the enemy has held in our minds.
One very strong guard that will challenge us in this battle is the status quo syndrome: “No one else is doing this and no one else (except Christ) has ever done this. I cannot possibly expect to do more than some of the great evangelists of the past.” Our truth against this imagination is that we can enter into the more excellent way ministry. It is available and has been since Christ came to make his abode in the flesh. This ministry excels far above the gift realm, and we have not witnessed any such move on the face of this earth since Christ.
There are members out there that are doing a tremendous work, and we recognize that, but when we look at Tabernacles, even from a distance, we can’t help but blush for those dear souls that claim to have apprehended it.
“Name it and claim it” never applies to growth and reaching maturity. If it did, my children would have reached full maturity in their early teen years. But with all their naming and claiming, it took a few knocks and bumps to finish the course.
When Tabernacles dawns for us, we will have faced down every devil in sheol and will still be standing strong against them. The Bible says in the day when Yahweh Tabernacles his people there will be no more tears and no more pain to deal with: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of Yahweh is with men, and he will tabernacle with them, and they shall be his people, and Yahweh himself shall be with them, as their God. And Yahweh shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death will be no longer, nor mourning, nor outcry, nor pain will be any longer, for the first things passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful,” Revelations 21:3-5. This was quoted from the Interlinear Greek Translation, by J.P. Green, which is a very good literal translation and is not a version as is the King James Version. Some folks are surprised to note that this scene is not supposed to take place on another planet. But Saint John says it came down (to the earth) from Yahweh out of heaven.
Please notice that while some have no more tears or pain, others have their part in a severe judgment. But someone might remind us that John specifically states that there will be a new heaven and a new earth at this time and the old ones will have passed away. And we also took special notice of this, and we are glad that Paul did not leave us without understanding of the remark: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17.
When Christianity is reduced to religious philosophy it soon becomes watered down until there is no life or power expected. If our “old things” have not begun to pass away somewhere on our path of salvation, we need to examine our experience and see if we are truly in the faith.
The light that illuminates the “Book” is now glowing with life and energy that radiates into the deepest depths of the soul. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries have moved on with giant strides of spiritual awakening, unparalleled in human history. We need to cast our eyes upon this spiritual horizon and move on in to the greatest historical event that has ever shook this globe. The stage is set, and like in the days of Anna and Simeon (Luke 2:25-38) our faith is reaching out to embrace this truth.
There were those in the days just before Christ appeared on the scene that were spiritually awakened to the reality of the Word, and their faith demanded His appearance. This is what we need now. The Word has given us the promise of immortality. Let us be bold in demonstrating faith in the Word that demands its fulfillment. Ask what you will, which is our throne-right. Remember, our inheritance must come by faith. A faith that is too weak to talk is a faith that is too weak to create. He creates all things by the spoken word. Let’s start speaking it. Hey! If we are Christians, we will be persecuted. We need to get that settled in our minds. It is written, and it is a reality. We might as well get our uniform on and shoulder our gear. We can conquer the giants and take this mountain!