This is a pic from the Maroon Bells park area near Aspen, Co from a few weeks ago.
What a summer it has been! I’m so grateful for having a few weeks to unplug from ministry and to really focus on the Lord and on my family. I definitely needed that more than I could have imagined.
I am still on this journey of learning and growing in Christ right along with everyone else.
There is a huge connection between my spiritual life and my health that I am not always aware of and I sure don’t completely understand – but it is there, nonetheless.
My prayer partner encouraged me to speak life in the area of my health, not to speak negatively the way I had been doing. I had been saying things (to myself and to others) like:
- Life would be so much easier if I didn’t ever have to eat.
- I can’t eat most things, they will make me sick.
- If I eat that, I will be in trouble.
- I have this disease and that disease and they are incurable.
She reminded me that our words are powerful – they have the power of life and death. If I am speaking negatively over areas of my life, I will see negative fruit in those areas. I knew that. I have purged so many areas of my life of negative words and thoughts in the past. But I was convicted that there were several areas where I had been speaking negatively that I hadn’t even noticed – my diet, my health, some things about my son’s school, and some things about pharmacy (which is my job).
- The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Prov. 18:21
I also saw that although I had weakly asked God for healing in the past, I didn’t have much faith about it. One of God’s operating principles is that He does things for us in in proportion to the amount of faith we have in Him.
- After Jesus had entered the house, the blind men came to Him. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asked. “Yes, Lord,” they answered. Then He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Matt. 9:28-30
I have been reading through the Bible this year and was in 2 Chronicles about three weeks ago when I came across a verse that just jumped out and grabbed me. King Asa had been a godly king. A good king. A king who wanted to please the Lord and who did what was right in God’s eyes so many times. He saw God bless him mightily for many years. But in his later years, he trusted a treaty with another king instead of trusting God – the result of which was that he had war against his kingdom for the rest of his reign instead of the peace that Judah had enjoyed the rest of the time he was king. Then he got sick, very sick.
- In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 2 Chronicles 16:12.
I thought, “With all of my health issues, where have I looked for help? Have I truly ever sought God wholeheartedly about all of these things? Or have I been primarily trusting in doctors and Western medicine? How much have I relied on my pharmacist training rather than on the Lord over the years? Then when Western medicine didn’t work, I turned my faith to holistic medicine, a holistic doctor, a special diet, and supplements? It helped somewhat, but I have never been set free from all of these diseases. What if God has some lessons for me spiritually in this that I have been missing?”
I decided to lay all of these things before the Lord and invite Him to show me any wrong thinking and any sin in my heart that may be contributing to my sickness in my particular situation.
Note – I don’t believe the Bible is saying that going to a doctor, using medications, or using earthly remedies is necessarily sin. But in my case, my faith was too invested in these earthly means and not invested much at all in the Lord’s power. That was a big problem.
Last year, Greg bought a book for me by Andrew Murray, one of my favorite Christian authors, called, “Divine Healing.” I hadn’t read it yet. But I decided that while we were on a family vacation would be the perfect time to dive in – free from distractions.
Andrew Murray lived in the 1800s – early 1900s and was a Christian pastor in South Africa. He is known for his incredibly deep writings, having written over 240 books. Two of his books, “Humility” and “Absolute Surrender,” have been life changing for me. (They are available as free audio books or $0.99 Kindle books on Amazon on the links provided).
“May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence,” was his prayer. “And not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.” – Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray experienced a health crisis that stopped his ministry for two years. They were “the silent years” because his throat was affected and he could not speak. During that time, He pressed into Christ more deeply than ever. And, eventually, he was miraculously healed by the Lord.
Murray has a very scriptural approach, in my view. I do wish he had addressed Paul speaking to Timothy about “taking a little wine” for his stomach because of his frequent illness (1 Timothy 5:23). The topic of healing seems like sometimes it can get a bit crazy these days. So we definitely want to be on guard to check anything any spiritual teacher has to say against scripture. But anything that jives with sound doctrine and scripture, I want to receive! Even if I don’t understand it all. I invite you to check out his book and what the Bible has to say about the topic of healing. Please compare everything Murray or anyone else, including myself, may say and compare it to God’s Word.
I saw that some of my thinking needed to change over the past few weeks as I have been away from ministry and just soaking in the Lord’s presence, in His Word, and in fervent prayer. I am still working through reading through the book a second time and hashing out my thoughts with the Lord in prayer.
I don’t claim to understand everything about this issue. Not by a long shot.
I don’t know what the future will hold. But I have taken some big new steps in faith toward what I believe God desires me to do. I do know I can trust Him. I want to receive absolutely everything that is from the Lord and absolutely nothing that is not of Him in every area of my life. I do know that God is very good and that I want to trust Him more and more and I want to praise Him for the rest of my life and all of eternity!
I decided on July 13, 2017 that I would make some changes by faith:
- I will stop speaking negatively to myself and others about my health and about food.
- I’m going to take a fast from my supplements, at least for a time, until I have more direction from the Lord.
- I will seek to eat relatively healthy things, as a godly steward of my body, but I will not stick religiously to the extremely restricted diet I was on.
- I want to thank God for my body, for eating, and for healthy food.
- My purpose is to be fit for God’s service alone, not to be well just so I can do whatever I want to do.
- My faith must be in the Lord and my focus on Him – not on earthly things or myself.
- I will praise and thank God for any food set before me and receive it with gratitude and joy.
- I will ask God to show me if any of the illness I had been experiencing was due to sin and that He might expose that sin and heal me for His glory. (I did see a lot of sin in my heart – faith in other things besides Him, unbelief in Him, worldly thinking, human wisdom, negativity about my health, etc… and I repented.)
I am in the process of figuring out how best to balance my time with God and ministry. Please pray for God’s wisdom for me about that, as well. Thanks so much!
THE PAST FEW WEEKS
I have been utterly amazed at God’s goodness and miracles!
My health issues have been non-existent the past few weeks since I began this new approach.
I have eaten things that I haven’t eaten in over two years. And I haven’t had all the usual reactions. THAT IS AMAZING! I am so excited to share this new thing the Lord is doing in my life and the resource of this book for any who may be interested. Please rejoice and praise God with me at how the Lord has been healing me! May each of us seek to yield ourselves fully to Christ and to receive all of His provision and goodness for His glory!
I also want to thank so many of you who prayed for my healing physically. I truly am completely blown away! Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness and blessing. How can I ever thank You enough for all You have done for me? May You alone be greatly exalted here!
Thank you for being on this journey with me. What a joy!
- Divine Healing by Andrew Murray (Check it out for yourself. Compare it to scripture. This is a BIG topic, and for many of us, a very unfamiliar topic. Many of our churches do not talk about God’s healing being available to us. Yes, we often pray for the sick. But what do we really know about what the Bible says about physical healing?)
- Radiant has experienced similar divine healing. She was almost an invalid and had severe health problems for many years. She was also very spiritually oppressed because she had received many lies about God, herself, and others from the enemy. Check out a bit of her story in this post. I plan to share more from her next week.
- FreeinChrist had a very significant disease but experienced divine healing from the Lord as she began this journey to become the woman God called her to be. I hope to share her story of healing in the near future.
- There are a number of reasons for sickness. For more about that, please click on this link and check out the section at the bottom.
A FEW QUOTES FROM “DIVINE HEALING”
- One of the chief benefits, then, of divine healing will be to teach us that our body ought to be set free from the yoke of our own will to become the Lord’s property. God does not grant healing to our prayers until He has attained the end for which He had permitted the sickness. He wills that this discipline should bring us into a more intimate communion with Him.(pg. 43)
- There is reciprocity in God’s relations with man… If, in His love, He gives Himself full to me, it is in order that I may lovingly give myself fully to Him. In the measure in which I more or less really surrender to Him all my being, in that measure also He gives Himself more really to me… The more our life bears witness that the body is for the Lord, the more also we experience that the Lord is for the body. (pg. 45)
- When we have recourse to remedies for healing, all the attention of the sick one is upon the body, considering the body, while divine healing calls us to turn our attention away from the body and to abandon ourselves, soul and body, to the Lord’s care, occupying ourselves with Him alone. (pg. 49)
- Just abide before Him in the simple, utter helplessness of one who knows nothing, and is nothing, and can do nothing. Absolute dependence upon God is the secret of all power in work. (pp. 138-139)
- With all your hurry and effort in Christ’s work, you never prosper. The first thing you need is to come and rest in your Lord Jesus… If you would be a true branch of Christ, the living Vine, just rest on Him. Let Christ bear the responsibility (of accomplishing the work). (pg. 139)
- Oh, how many Christians look upon it as a burden, and a tax, and a duty, and a difficulty to get much alone with God! That is a great hindrance to our Christian life everywhere. We need more quiet fellowship with God, and I tell you in the name of the heavenly Vine that you cannot be healthy branches, branches into which the heavenly sap can flow, unless you take plenty of time for communion with God.If you are not willing to sacrifice time to get alone with Him, and give Him time every day to work in you, and to keep up the link of connection between you and Himself, He cannot give you that blessing of His unbroken fellowship. (pg. 143)
- Oh, we find the Christian life so difficult because we seek for God’s blessing while we live in our own will. We would be glad to live the Christian life according to our own liking. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to come in and take care that sin shall not conquer us too much, and that we shall not go too far wrong; we ask Him to come in and give us so much of His blessing. But our relations to Jesus ought to be such that we are entirely at His disposal, and every day come to Him humbly and straightforwardly, and say, Lord, is there anything in me that is not according to Thy will, that has not been ordered by Thee or that is not entirely given up to Thee? Oh, if we would wait and wait patiently, there would spring up a relationship between us and Christ so close and so tender that we would afterward be amazed how far distant our intercourse with Him had previously been. (pg. 145)