Healing from God

By Pastor Bill Snider

Healing from God

One of the greatest benefits of walking with God is the benefit of healing. Psalms 103:2-5 says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

God always promised healing to His people when they would follow His ways and did what He asked. "So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you (Exodus 23:25)." "Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you and the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known (Deuteronomy 7:12,13,15)."

Even when God was forced to render judgment against His people, because of their wickedness, He determined to once again bring healing to the nation as part of its restoration. "Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me (Jeremiah 33:6-8).

It's hard to believe, sometimes, the power of God's love and goodness towards us - especially in light of our tendency towards iniquity. But the truth is, God can't help but step in and help us when we cry out for His mercy. Even when we've been fools, and suffered tremendously for our foolishness, God will send us healing. "Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men (Psalms 107:17-21)!"

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Jesus the Healer

All through the gospels, we see Jesus bringing healing from God back into the limelight. It was a benefit that Israel had completely lost sight of. Nowhere do we see this more effectively illustrated than in Luke 13:11,12: "And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, 'Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.' And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, 'There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.' The Lord then answered him and said, 'Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?' And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him."

What Israel lost sight of is that healing was a part of the covenant that God made with them as children of Abraham. They had just as much a right to be healed as any dumb animal had to be watered. They didn't have to perform any special rites, or observe any special days to be healed. They just had to receive it by faith.

Everywhere Jesus went He brought healing with Him. He became famous for His healing ministry. "However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities (Luke 5:15)." "At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him (Mark 1:32-34)."

As a matter of fact, there were moments when there was such a swelling of faith in the people, because of Jesus' healing ministry, that all He could do was keep from being crushed. "So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him (Mark 3:9,10)."

Other times all he could do was look for a place to stand so that nobody else would get hurt. "And He came down [from the mountain] with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all."

One of my favorite healing passages is Matthew 8:1-17. In that passage we find Jesus performing several healings. What I find so valuable about that passage are the attitudes Jesus portrays when He heals these people.

In Matthew 8:1-3 we see just how willing Jesus is to heal the sick. "When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.' Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' Immediately his leprosy was cleansed."

Most people don't go to God for healing, because they're not even sure if God is willing to heal them. I'm convinced that Jesus perfectly reflected everything of the Father even down to God's attitude about things. When that leper challenged Jesus' willingness to heal him of leprosy, he was challenging God's willingness. Jesus' response to heal the leper makes it more than clear that God is willing to heal.

In Matthew 8:5-10,13 we see just how determined Jesus is to heal the sick. "Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.' And Jesus said to him, 'I will come and heal him.'"

There was no delay with Jesus when it came to healing the sick. Whenever I read the above passage, I always get the feeling that Jesus interrupted the centurion in the middle of his speech. Jesus was so focused on bringing healing and deliverance that when He found the opportunity to do so He didn't hesitate. Nobody ever had to wait around with Jesus wondering if they were going to get healed. Jesus relentlessly fulfilled His healing ministry.

In Matthew 8:14,15 we see how Jesus took the initiative to heal the sick. "Now when Jesus had come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them." Jesus didn't even wait for them to ask Him to heal her He just did it. You can't imagine how often the Holy Spirit will provoke us to go after our healing when we're not even thinking about asking for it. That's Him expressing Jesus' initiative to heal us.

Finally, Jesus was so given over to healing the sick that He was always available to minister to the sick. As a matter of fact, Jesus saw it as the fulfillment of His purpose to deliver us from sickness and disease. "When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses (Matthew 8:16,17).""

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Faith for Healing

People have the idea that the healings Jesus performed happened only by divine appointment of God. However, that's not what Jesus, Himself, says. In just about every account where Jesus is healing an individual, He points out the importance of their faith in their healing.

We see this with the woman with the issue of blood. "And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, 'If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.' But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, 'Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.' And the woman was made well from that hour (Matthew 9:20-22)."

We also see this with the two blind men that followed Jesus home one day. "When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, 'Son of David, have mercy on us!' And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?' They said to Him, 'Yes, Lord.' Then He touched their eyes, saying, 'According to your faith let it be to you.' And their eyes were opened (Matthew 9:27-30)."

There was another incident where Jesus couldn't do anything until he got the woman over into faith. "Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.' But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, 'Send her away, for she cries out after us.' But He answered and said, 'I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, help me!' But He answered and said, 'It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.' And she said, 'Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.' Then Jesus answered and said to her, 'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matthew 15:21-28)."

It's critical to understand here, that Jesus wasn't trying to get out of healing the Canaan woman's daughter. On the contrary, he really couldn't do anything for her - she had no covenant relationship with God. There was nothing working on her behalf until she got fed up with crying about her situation. Once she became determined and reasoned with the Lord, everything changed. She moved from fear and desperation, to determination and faith. Jesus called that great faith, and it freed Him to be able to do something about her daughter's sickness.

There was another incident that took place in Jesus' own hometown. He couldn't do any miracles there because of their unbelief. They refused to believe in His healing ministry. "But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.' Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief (Mark 6:4-6)."

Even the apostles knew the importance of faith in healing the sick. When Peter and John healed the man at the Beautiful Gate all the people were filled with wonder and amazement. They were looking at the disciples as if they had done the healing themselves. However, Peter was very clear about who did the healing and how. He declared plainly that it was through faith in the name of Jesus that gave that man strength and perfect soundness in front of them all.

"So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: 'Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all (Acts 3:12-16).'"

Paul was another apostle who knew how important it was for people to have faith in order to be healed. While preaching in Lystra he saw a man who was born crippled. The man was so caught up in what Paul was preaching that Paul could see that the man had faith to be healed. "And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, 'Stand up straight on your feet!' And he leaped and walked (Acts 14:8-10)."

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Healing for the Believer

According the Bible, you can be healed. However, one of the first things you must learn is that healing actually comes through God's word. Psalms 107:20 says, "He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." Proverbs 4:20-22 also says, "My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh."

One of the reasons we have the Bible is because it's God's direct link of life and power to us. God sent His word to heal us and deliver us from our destructions. The more time we spend in the word, meditating on it and talking it, the more its life will fill our lives - bringing with it God's healing and deliverance. Just like the above scripture says, "My son, give attention to my words for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh." If you want healing, you must spend time in God's word meditating on scriptures that promise healing.

Once you've built yourself up on healing scriptures, the next thing you need to do is release your faith. There are several ways to do this. However, if you're just getting started in healing you might want to begin by doing James 5:14,15: "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."

One of the most effective ways to receive healing from God is to have someone pray the prayer of faith over you. The above scripture says that the prayer of faith will save the sick. You can call any elder to come pray for you to be healed. However, you need to make sure that the elder praying for you believes that you can be healed. If they're not sure you can be healed when they pray for you, then don't waste their time or yours.

Once you've been prayed for, there can be no question as to whether or not you will be healed. You already know that God is ready, willing, and able to heal. Therefore, you must settle it in your heart once and for all that you will be healed. Once you've settled it in your heart, spend as much time as you can each day reading scriptures on healing. Then, finally, continue to thank God for healing you until your healing is fully manifested.

There is another thing you need to know about getting the prayer of faith prayed over you - you can do it for yourself. I said that if you're just getting started in healing that it's a recommendation to have an elder or pastor pray over you. However, if you can't find one that has the confidence to believe you'll receive your healing, then you can pray that prayer for yourself.

The only difference between you praying and an elder praying is that, instead of latching on to the elder's prayer as your guarantee that you've been healed, you have to latch on to your own prayer as your guarantee that God heard you and you've been healed. It always seems easier to let someone else pray for you, rather than you praying for yourself. That is until you realize that it's your faith in the prayer that causes it to work, anyway.

Understand this: you have to put faith in any prayer that anyone prays. What makes it easier to believe someone else's prayer is that it's easier to believe that God hears them rather than you. Yet, it really doesn't matter whether God hears them or not. What God is really listening for is your faith - whether it's in their prayer or yours. Once you realize that it's the faith that you're putting in the prayer that causes it to work, you'll understand that it doesn't matter who prays the prayer.

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The Prayer of Faith

There are really only three components required for building the prayer of faith. They are simple, yet they necessary. The first is found in Mark 11:24: "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." The first component to the prayer of faith is that you must ask.

God can't do anything for you until you ask Him to. As a matter of fact, the Bible actually tells us that we don't have because we don't ask (James 4:2). So, the first step is to ask for what you want. In this case, you have to ask God to heal you.

The second component to the prayer of faith is found in John 16:23,24: "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." The second component to the prayer of faith is the name of Jesus.

The name of Jesus is what gives us the right, the authority, to ask for whatever we want from God. No one, not the devil nor any person, can challenge our freedom and right to do so. Not only that, but no one can challenge our right to expect to receive what we've asked for. Both of those were guaranteed when Jesus commanded us to use His Name.

In order to be healed, you not only have to ask God to heal you, but you have to ask Him to do so in the name of Jesus. Asking in Jesus' name not only guarantees that God heard you, but it guarantees that you will receive your healing. As a result, you have the right to expect to be healed.

There's a confidence that comes out of that expectation, and it's what we call faith. Faith is the third component to the prayer of faith. Going back to Mark 11:24: "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."

In order to receive the manifestation of your healing, you must first ask for it in the name of Jesus, then you must believe that you received it. The word "believe" is the verb form of the noun "faith." To believe that you received what you ask for is to have faith that you received it. So, what is faith? Faith is the relentless, beyond doubt conviction that Mark 11:24 is true. That John 16:23,24 is true. That James 5:15 is true. Therefore, faith is the relentless, beyond doubt conviction that you have your healing - whether you see it right now, or not.

There is so much more to understand about healing, but I believe there's enough in this article to get you started. These primary principles won't change, and neither will your reliance on them. However, there are also other ways to apply your faith for healing that I haven't even begun to share. There are hindrances to healing that must be overcome. And even though I'll continue to add more things as I go along, you'll need to study faith and healing regularly for yourself - that you may grow in your knowledge and ability to walk efficiently in healing.

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