My Answer: The Atonement

For the last three years I have been studying food and naturopathic healing remedies for my sickness and symptoms.  In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to keep track of all my findings.  The Lord has really lead me on quite a journey.

I began at a place where I believed that my healing would only come divinely and through a spiritual experience.  Then, slowly God began to show me the value of something bigger than just healing: health.  I took the time to learn about diet, the current state of our nation’s food supply, and the shortcomings of modern medicine to counteract chronic disease.  The last two years especially I threw myself into the study of food.  And I’ve born a lot of fruit .  I have learned how to better the lives of my family members, and how to better approach my doctors.  I’ve learned what foods not to buy and how to cook the ones I do buy.  I’ve learned the miraculous way God created our bodies to heal themselves given proper nutrition.  And those are all things I am going to begin to write about here.  BUT throughout all that learning, I began to lose sight of what matters more than any earthly fact: Jesus, the Christ.

Part of the reason I lost sight was simple.  Just like many members of the medical community, I learned so much about the body and it’s functions, that I lost sight of the supernatural.  I know the consequences for our actions are very real (ex: sugar consumption and diabetes), and so it became hard to see the demonic role in the sickness when we were making so many bad choices.  Before long, I began to get the devil off the hook, and blame only ourselves for our bad health.  Don’t get me wrong, our choices here are GREATLY impacting the state of our health in America, but stick with me to see where my thoughts were out of control.

It’s completely fair and right to say we have hurt ourselves and opened a door for attack on our bodies with our bad choices.  BUT where the devil lies to us is when he tells us that we have to earn our healing from God by changing first.  This is an easy conclusion to arrive at, but one that’s dangerous because it can destroy your faith and security in God’s love.

In Exodus, God tells the Israelites that he will protect them and not allow any disease as long as they keep his statutes.  I believe this is absolutely true, but in a different light now with Christ.  You see, the Israelites had to go externally to God to receive and had to atone for their sins.  But now that Jesus took our sins on the cross, we no longer play that role.  We don’t have to coerce God into healing us.  It was done at the cross.  God’s healing is part of the atonement, and therefore is already living and available to us in any circumstance.  As one of my favorite teachers on healing, Curry Blake, says, “The church has made healing a reward for Christians who live right.  It was never that way with Jesus.  Jesus did it in the reverse order.  He healed people first, then taught them how to live.”

Now, I’m not discounting natural things used to heal.  God might have you eat a certain way to alleviate a problem, ect.  However, you are NEVER unworthy to receive supernatural healing from him because of sin.  I spent the last two years feeling unworthy to have faith for divine healing simply because I couldn’t tell if I’d done enough to receive it.  What a joke.  God doesn’t think that way.  Once Jesus took the stripes and we were healed at the cross, it’s there for us to take.  We have his spirit within us!  Be free to believe!

Let me add a short note to connect all this to what I feel like he’s doing with me and the food.  I don’t believe God wants you to have to spend years and tons of energy constantly believing for supernatural healing.  BUT if we abuse our bodies and make a mess of our temples, that’s what we’re going to have to do.  We play a big part in how much of the fight we want.  We can avoid many battles with the devil if we live a Godly lifestyle.  I believe if we eat the way he outlined for us, and take care of ourselves, we obviously make it more challenging for the devil to hit us physically.  Can God always be counted on for miracles?  Absolutely.  Should we constantly be in need of one?  That I question.  My ideal healing ministry would be one where the simple power of the atonement and our authority in Christ kicked out the sickness and disease, and then once free, the victims would be educated on how to protect their bodies from future attack.  There are several ways to protect yourself: physically (with a healthy lifestyle), mentally/emotionally (with renewing your mind to be like Christ), and spiritually (with staying grounded in your authority in Christ).  I do believe you can achieve such a level of understanding in your authority that sickness and disease cannot stay on you.

With all of this in mind, I am aiming to write on two main areas with this blog: the supernatural/Jesus/scripture, and food and nutrition (and other natural healing helps).  I believe whole-heartedly that God wants you healed.  No matter what.  And the best part is, He gave us the spirit to do it.

Posted in Natural Healing | Leave a comment

I’m here… now

Dealing with the symptoms of a possibly life-threatening illness definitely isn’t on my list of recommended seasons for an ambitious 25-year old to endure.  But here I am, and God is good.  I think back on the last year and a half and am obviously grieved by what I’ve had to experience (and what millions of people endure everyday with illness and chronic pain).  But there is, believe it or not (and I do know how cliche this is) a part of me that has grown immensely through this.  And good life has sprung up amidst the weeds.

Somehow after a year of progressive illness, the Lord ordained me getting pregnant.  He prefaced this with prophetic words from several people, and even a song that foretold our child’s coming.  The beautiful irony of this experience has been (and here I am almost 5 months along) that though I have felt the spirit of death so near me this last year, God is using my broken vessel to create new life.  This has been both humbling and encouraging.  He never gives us something we can’t handle, and there is going to be such a sweet spot of grace for bringing this child into the world.

What I found myself thinking about the most this week is the simple fact that I’m here… now.  One thing that being sick has brought me to is actually facing the reality of death.  I have never been near death, nor have I lost many people close to me early on.  At 25 you don’t dwell on the possibility of a your life being cut short- unless something initiates it.  And it’s heart-wrenching to look at your husband of three years and face the reality that you may not realize all the dreams you had together.  You just started the journey of a new life together that is supposed to last 50 years, and everything had such a purpose and long-term vision!  My husband and I are very deliberate people.  We truly value our time, and make an effort to account for every way we spend it.  We have primary and secondary life-visions together, and do things today that will help us with the outcomes we expect 20 years from now.  We don’t necessarily plan out how they will go, but we have goals and a purpose that keep us focused.  This is great, and one of the reasons we function so well together.  However, this illness brought to surface another paradigm, and I’m convinced they have to coexist.  It is simply this: yes, we are to be vigilant for the Lord and always working toward His calling on our lives.  However, we must also be present in the here and now, and truly find fulfillment in what we can do for God now, today.

This seems so elementary, and it is, but when you truly grasp the weight of it, your daily thoughts change.  I have a split purpose now: working forward, but also resting in today.  Instead of looking at my symptoms and thinking about how awful the next twenty years would be with a progressive disease, I think about how I would be blessed to even have another 20 years… because so many never have the privilege.  And if I do get that kind of blessing I want to do something real with it, something lasting.  Something bigger than myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I am believing for complete and restorative healing, which I will talk about in another post.  I am just emphasizing that being ill has, in a sense, brought me out of “myself”.  I would say the first stages of it truly push you into yourself deeper with self-pity, depression, anger, and confusion.  But then if you let Him, the Lord lifts you out of that and you can leave your flesh.  You can escape out of that shell, which becomes some sort of jail for your soul.  I chose to leave that place.  And where He lead me is so much greater.  I am truly a broken woman… physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  It is beautiful.  I need God.  And I am well aware of my weakness.  This is incredibly empowering because in our weakness, He is so strong!  This place of weakness has brought me into a selfless, compassionate reality where my priorities shifted out of “me”.  I am no longer living in self-ambition with my eyes only on the future and what I can do for God then.  I am here now, for real.  And I want to do things for Him now; living each day in gratitude and love for what I have here learned and what I have to teach others.  It is truly freeing, and I want to maintain that revelation for the rest of my life here, no matter what happens.

When I have been completely healed and am running in freedom with God, I don’t want to become wrapped up again in just the end of the race; I want to notice the others next to me along the way.  Don’t ever let the enemy push you into the fear of not having a tomorrow.  Those days of fear add up to a lifetime of wasted paralysis where nothing is accomplished.  Rejoice in today!  Take hold of it and stand firm, knowing you did God’s will for today.  Those kind of days will add up to a lifetime of purpose and the accomplishment of God’s will- in both the short and long term.  Hopefully having put this down in writing will keep it fresh in my mind for seasons to come.  Thank you father, for your goodness and faithfulness to give us wisdom.  Thank you that you are always faithful to finish every good work you begin in Christ Jesus.

Posted in Personal Reflection | Leave a comment

Exodus 15:26

Exodus 15:26

If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians.  For I am the Lord who heals you.

I have come to believe that one of the hardest things in the Christian walk is believing that God is who He says He is.  Healer, provider, victor, equitable judge, ect.  These all sound great, and are traits you would expect in a loving father; yet we struggle immensely to have real faith in their validity.  This is tragic because it is our believing in His identity that releases His character into our situation.  Obviously there is more to achieving results with God than just knowing who He is, but I think it is a foundational starting point that makes the other prerequisites possible to grasp.  For example: How can we have motivation to repent and correct sinful strongholds if we don’t really believe in His identity as Savior?  How can we step out in our gift of faith if we have no grasp on Him as the provider or healer?  It is imperative to internalize what the Word says about who God is so that we can know what to expect of Him and what to believe for.

Why is it so hard to believe that He is the healer?  It it clearly stated in the Word (Exodus 15:26), so you would assume we would readily embrace it as complete truth. However,  I think most Christians have received it as a half truth at most.  They may know the Bible mentions God’s heart to heal, or that Jesus healed everywhere He went (just about as much as he preached), but since they haven’t seen it in their own lives, it becomes conditional.  Since “so and so” down the street prayed and nothing happened, God isn’t always the healer.  Or He only chooses to do it sometimes, so what’s the point of believing in His word if my heart could be broken?  I don’t ever want to forget that, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)  What the Lord speaks, especially about His very own character, cannot be a lie.  No matter how frustrated you may be when your chronic pain remains unresolved, God is your healer.  No matter how alone you feel when your loved one passes away even though you prayed your heart out, God is your healer.  No matter how seasick you feel while your doctor relays the negative prognosis, God is your healer.  The bottom line is, He is your one true advocate against death.  He is life, and he gives breath to all of creation.  And praise be to Jesus, because He holds the keys to hell and death.

Again, if we do not have the basic trust in God that his character is true as outlined in the Word, we cannot have faith for His hand to act.  I remember one specific example from my childhood that wrongly shaped my view of God as a “good father”.  I had, until the last 5 years, always struggled with prayer.  Generally speaking, I could not sit down and pray for more than 10 minutes at a time.  The other facets of my Christian life appeared to be growing at a satisfactory rate, but everything slowed down eventually because my prayer life was lacking.  Consequently I couldn’t get to know God the way I yearned to.  I realized that the reason I struggled with prayer was that I didn’t believe deep down that my prayers could make any difference.  I was always hearing stories of other peoples’ prayers being answered, and I believed in the theory that God hears prayers and answers them… but only some of the time.  And only some people.  I just wasn’t lucky enough to be one of them.  I went to my pastor with this predicament because no matter what I tried, I could not believe that my prayers were ever getting through to God.  And this hurt my feelings deeply because it caused me to feel unloved and unimportant to God.  I also really wanted to have a prayer language with the Lord in tongues, and felt I couldn’t receive that without having some background in basic prayer.

The effect was that since I didn’t believe He would answer any of my prayers, I gave up praying, and the ones I did pray pretty much remained stagnant.  I didn’t have the faith behind my prayers that helped activate them.  My pastor wisely directed me back to the holy spirit, and said to me, “Go home and ask God to show you when you were first wounded and decided you couldn’t trust in His answers to your prayers.”  I was annoyed because I wanted a quick fix, not a process of healing.  But he insisted this was the only way, so I went back to my dorm on St. Olaf College Campus, and sat on my bed with my legs crossed.  My faith was miniscule.  Not only did I believe God was not going to answer me, I definitely never thought there was a chance He would show me anything about my past.  My pastor was asking me to do the very thing I hated trying to do!  But as I sat there and submitted a simple request, “Lord, I want to have a healthy prayer life with you.  Please show me where I began to believe the lie that you do not care about my prayers”.  He brought me back to a memory I hadn’t thought of once since it happened.  It was like watching a movie, and I won’t forget it as long as I live.  I saw myself as a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old, praying my good-night prayers in bed.  I could feel the enormity of faith I had for a 5-year-old as I asked God, “Please heal my dad of his back problems tonight while he is asleep so that he doesn’t hurt anymore”.  I was so filled with faith that I could barely sleep because I was so excited to see my happy, healthy dad in the morning.

The next morning I ran into my parents’ bedroom in full expectation of my dad’s miraculous healing from a degenerative disc disease, but was heartbroken to discover that he was in the same shape he had been the night before.  I felt that same abandoned hurt watching the memory that I did in reality twenty years ago when it happened.  God had let me down, or so it seemed to my 5-year-old mind.  Of course at that age I was too young to understand the other legitimate reasons someone doesn’t receive healing, because to me if God really wanted to do it and if He really loved my father and me, He would have healed him.  Many Christians live in that paradigm their whole lives, paralyzed by hurt and disbelief.  They try praying once, don’t see results, and give up; or they see someone they love suffer and they conclude that God must not care about them.  The enemy loves this, as it stops us from praying… which is exactly what it had done to me.  I was stunned by the reality of that painful memory, but even more stunned by the fact that God had answered my prayer to show me the root of my hurt.  I shared the memory with my pastor and he walked me through repentance for holding an offense against God, and asked the Lord to start where I had left off and rebuild my prayer life with Him.  We also rebuked any thought patterns the enemy had started and declared that from that night on, I would choose to believe in the God of the scriptures, the one who answers prayer.  Since I have regained faith in who God really is, and rebuilt basic trust in His character, I have been able to pray with a new measure of faith and have grown immensely in that area of my walk.  I have even seen many answered right before my eyes!

It is crucial to heal any wounds of offense against God relating to His goodness and character of healer.  If you do not currently believe in God’s healing character, or perhaps you try, but a painful past makes it seemingly impossible, ask Him to forgive your pride and heal you.  There are three main reasons this is so important.  Firstly, you are resisting His word and part of his nature, which brings about disobedience and causes a division between you and God.  Secondly, your level of faith in almost all areas of life is affected by whether or not you believe God is for you and that He is good.  Without this basic trust, you cannot believe Him for His personal best in your life.  And thirdly, an offense of any kind against God breeds sin, and sin obstructs the very healing you are trying to pray for.  Refusing to place your faith in who He says He is could be one of the reasons you haven’t seen Him act.

What does it mean that God is our healer?  Many well-honoured men and women of faith who walk in a true healing anointing spend great amounts of time and effort building faith in their “patients” that God truly wants to heal them.  Both John G. Lake and FF Bosworth devote pages upon pages of their writing to the revelation that God is inherently on their side and does not condemn them with disease and death.  John Lake, who witnessed well over 100,000 documented miraculous healings, cites this revelation as the most important step in receiving the healing hand of God.  Hundreds of people have been healed just reading Bosworth’s book “Christ the Healer” because the first few chapters are devoted to outlining God’s identity as your healer. God desires to heal you!  I truly believe there is not one person in the world that God does not want healthy.  I don’t bother asking God if he wants to heal someone because I already know the answer.  It is the same to me as asking God if he wants to save someone.  Of course he does!  On the same token, all because God desires all of humanity to be with him in eternity, does he choose to override our wills and circumstances to make it happen?  No.  There is a large part of responsibility on our part to come to him.  It is the same with healing.  He wills to bring you health, but there are some things he simply cannot override due to his own spiritual laws.  So put the consequences you’ve seen behind you and choose to trust that he truly wants to heal you.  Every time.  Once that revelation is made known to your heart, God is freer to step in and move, and the fear and anxiety from evil sources begins to dissipate.  The distance between you and God caused by hurt and rejection is replaced with courage and hope because you finally feel like God is on your side.  If you truly cannot receive the idea that God wants to heal you, imagine yourself as your father’s child.  Does a dad ever want his child ill or hurting?  If he was able and free to heal the child, wouldn’t he do it?  Conversely, if he told the child he had a new toy for them and they didn’t believe him, would he be motivated to still bless the child, or would he be hurt that they did not trust his word and questioned his love for them?  God has feelings and emotions (He created them!), and I am convinced He does not like the way it feels when He tells His children of the blessings He has for them or how much He loves them, and they turn away in disbelief while essentially calling Him a liar.  Patricia King, well-known writer and minister, once said,

“I once met a woman with a broken leg at a prayer group.  I asked her what happened to her leg.  She answered that she hadn’t been praying enough and that God caused her to fall and break her leg on her way into church as a punishment.  She then said the broken leg has kept her home and given her more time to pray, which had been God’s reason for breaking her leg.  This troubled me for some time because I felt in  my heart of hearts that the Lord wouldn’t break someone’s leg for lack of prayer!  I decided to go to the source.  In prayer I asked the Lord what His thoughts were on her explanation.  I felt Him respond, “I may be a father who allows and sometimes administers discipline, but I never abuse my children”.

That is such a great illustration of God’s heart.  As I said many times earlier, trusting in who God is is the first step to receiving anything from him.  He is all we need, a caring father with all the resources and power to give us far above all we need.  And he longs to release his love and blessings on each of his children.

Posted in Scripture Focuses