The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain . . . See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–and to their descendants after them.”
Part 3 is comprised of the third three modules of the book and is Part 3 of the FREE eCourse Bonus on this Web site. They are:
Module 7 – Chapter 12: God is Jehovah-Jireh [The Lord’s Provision Will be Seen]
Chapter 13: Because God is Jehovah-Jireh, I Am Free
Module 8 – Chapter 14: God is Jehovah-Rapha [The Lord is Healer]
Chapter 15: Because God is Jehovah-Rapha, I Am Healed
Module 9 – Chapter 16: God is El Elyon [The God Most High]
JESUS CAME TO PROCLAIM FREEDOM FOR THE PRISONERS – FORGIVE
Greg Anderson, author of Cancer and the Lord’s Prayer, found that sin was at the root of his problem. In 1984, a nagging cough revealed lung cancer. His left lung was removed. Four months later, he was in the hospital again to have a lump removed from the base of his neck. The surgeon closed him up because the cancer had spread too far. Greg was given thirty days to live . . . until he learned to forgive.
In his youth, Greg was part of a family who prayed at meals, before bed and on Sundays. His church prayed for him; yet all he knew to pray was, “Our Father, which art in heaven.” End of prayer. With the help of his wife, Linda, Greg found people who had been healed of cancer. He wanted to know their secret. Time and again, they pointed to the “Lord’s Prayer” as their answer. He was instructed to pray it slowly and deliberately. He could not get past the part, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12).
Greg hated his father, and he now realized hate had put him in prison. “At one of the lowest points in my cancer journey, Linda helped me begin to understand how blaming both my earthly father and my heavenly Father, one for abuse and one for perceived abandonment, simply added to the suffering I was experiencing.” Greg made a list of those he needed to forgive, with his dad and his verbal abuse at the top. In addition, he had to face one classmate in person, to bless him, before he was free.
Greg discovered that as he forgave he was forgiven. When he forgave is father, Greg felt he let go of toxic emotions and his attitude changed. Understanding his dad’s limited relationship abilities, he could now honestly bless his dad. Today, Greg is founder of Cancer Recovery Foundation. His message of hope and healing, through history’s greatest prayer, reaches more than five million patients and family members worldwide each year.
Greg learned there is no such thing as general forgiveness. God wants us to be specific— very specific. That means facing where we have come from.
Forgiveness, even specifically, seems out of the question for many individuals who have been sexually or mentally abused. They say, “I cannot forgive that person.” What they say is true. They cannot. Only God can and has already done that through the blood of Jesus Christ, His only Son who died for that person’s sin.
Joan Hunter, with a healing ministry, has led the way for thousands to be able to separate the sin from the sinner. She deals with issues of the heart, instructing to “put that person’s SIN on the cross and then forgive”; that Jesus is the only One who can forgive sin. This brings healing and freedom.
Denise’s decision to forgive brings healing
Denise’s healing arrived when she faced her abusive past, a past she did not know she had. Before her healing and feeling up to adopting a baby, she battled severe stomach problems. She had trouble breathing because of acid, reflux-type problems. All she wanted was for the “doctors to fix me!” Every time she visited one, she was placed on a new drug that led to anxiety attacks and other problems. She was hypersensitive to everything; on steroids for a year-and-a-half that caused emotional oversensitivity; so then she cried all the time and was given an antidepressant. It made her feel like she was climbing out of her skin. She finally realized drugs were only making things worse.
“Okay Lord, I will obey you and look to You alone,” Denise committed to quit looking at her circumstances, which only led to being a hypochondriac and obsessed with what was going on inside her body.
She began by reading books about spiritual warfare and spiritual healing. She realized how the television shows and bad movies she and Joe were watching opened themselves up to spiritual attack—disturbing their peace. Joe did not know what to do with her in this state, so every night after work she went to her room to read. At bedtime, she slept in her chair—still feeling like acid was in the top of her head.
One book led to another until Freeing Your Mind from Memories that Bind, by Fred and Florence Littauer, and Lord, I Want to be Whole, by Stormie Omartian, gave more answers— answers the Lord alone gave her. An incident of unauthorized touching, which happened at a friend’s house, gave her flash backs of sexual molestation when she was a child. Men had always been predators to her, but after facing this past event, healing came quickly, if not immediately.
This flash back led to another—a head injury. She wondered, are there other lies I believe? She called her brother Tom to find out, “Hello Tom, do you remember our being in a car accident and in an ambulance?”
“I thought you’d never remember that. I was nine years old and you were four. Mother and our step-dad were in the car, drunk. He was accusing her of cheating on him. He said, ‘I’m going to kill your baby.’ He sped up, driving crazy, hit a semi head-on. Denise, you were the only one really hurt. You went through the windshield and spent two days in the hospital. There were other accidents, but this was the worse.”
“I’ve had a flash back of a large knot in the middle of my forehead, that’s all.”
“A lady at the hospital was very mad at mom because she was drunk. She told her this had better not happen again!”
Forgive and be free
Before this, Denise grieved for her mother all the time—captive to her rose-colored memory. From the time she was sixteen, she knew her mother was not everything she should have been, but now she was free. She was free to break that generational curse and determined not to make the same mistakes her mother made. She would never shove things under the rug to never deal with them and move on like nothing happened—like her mother did. She would raise her children to know God and teach them His ways; she would forgive.
During this time of seeking God, Denise was given three dreams revealing different stages of her healing. Two angels showed her a mirror that reflected her back. It held three ulcerated sores on it. They turned her around and waved their hands on her back, turned her around again so she could view it, and said, “See, you are all healed.”
Later, Denise had another dream, more like a nightmare. A mask was being pulled from her face, and then it was forced back on, bringing shackles with it. She said, “No, I will not go there again!” She knew then, that she truly was healed, and the things that had blocked her from relationships, especially with her husband, were all gone.
The only thing that upsets Denise now is when she is agonizing over someone else who does not know God’s amazing grace, “I’ve been freed from a lot of baggage, things I didn’t even know I had. People are living like they are asleep, living life unaware. God doesn’t want us to live life asleep, just going through the motions. He says we are to be alert and aware. The enemy is prowling like a lion seeking whom he may devour. If we are carrying all this baggage, we are blind. How then can we be aware?”
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JESUS CAME: TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM
After Jesus read from the scroll, he rolled it up and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. As every eye was on Him, He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:20). He was speaking about the Kingdom of God, but no one understood.
All the people could do was to look upon the surface, that Jesus was Joseph’s earthly son, and they were unable to accept the Truth. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24).
The people drove Jesus out of town, but He continued with His mission, “‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching in the synagogues in Judea” (Luke 4:43-44).
What is this Kingdom of God ?
What is this kingdom of God? Vickie S. had to know. She knew the Good News, having been raised in a Christian home, and at the age of six accepted Jesus into her heart. As a young bride, she came to see that the Holy Spirit could give her the power to become who God wanted her to be.
In seeking to learn more, the Holy Spirit put on her a desire to know more fully what Jesus meant when He said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).
Vickie poured over the Scriptures one evening at her dining room table, not going to bed until 4:00 a.m., disappointed. She still did not know what the kingdom of God meant. When she awoke, she saw a picture in her mind of all the rooms in her house. She saw that every person makes a choice at the entryway—the world or Jesus. The carpenter Jesus built the house, and we live in the kingdom right now He is building for all eternity—the spiritual side being more real than the physical.
Vickie saw that a Christian could live in only the entryway her whole life, alternatively choosing between the world and following Jesus. What about the whole house?
In the coat closet she could hang her cares. In the dining room, Jesus dined with her, but why eat all the time and not share with others?
Her kitchen had a trash compactor which she should use everyday to rid her house of unforgiving scraps, and a disposal for garbage.
In the bathroom, she must be willing to expose her heart before Him that she may be made clean.
In the bedroom she could enter into His rest, with the Word as her guide to show her how to run the house properly.
Over the years, Vickie added to her house analogy. One day, see saw an upstairs window left open. Cold air killed her unborn child. She knew God healed, but it was not her experience.
A few years later, Vickie’s three-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, my throat hurts.”
She’s swallowed that little ball that was lying around the house, Vickie thought. But it was under the skin of her outer throat. The family doctor discovered it was a rare thyroglossal duct cyst that could turn into cancer if not removed. They were sent to a specialist. “Come back next week for an operation,” he said.
“We’re Christians, and we want to pray about this first,” Vickie and her husband Larry responded.
“It will NEVER go away! IF it did, we would operate anyway to remove this duct.”
The Kingdom of God is built on faith, not feelings
Back home, they heard about the City of Faith in Tulsa, Oklahoma. By this time, the cyst was ugly, turning black and blue. They were fasting and praying before their appointment they had made at City of Faith.
Vickie heard there was such a thing as a Rhema Word, or a personal Word from the Lord in a specific situation. She did not understand it until one particular day. While driving along, she praised the Lord even though she did not feel like it. She stopped at a stop sign. In her mind’s eye, she could see Abraham with a knife above Isaac’s throat. She heard the words, “It never touched his throat!” Vickie knew no knife would touch her daughter’s throat, either.
A couple days later, they walked by the large praying hands at the City of Faith and met a doctor who had removed one of these cysts. He started to explain how it would be done when Larry said, “We are praying about this.”
“In that case, we can give God time. There’s no reason to hurry.” The doctor picked up Mitzi, who never went to strangers, and quoted Scripture over her. To the parents, he said,
“Come back once a week. Our prayer team will pray, and we’ll watch it.”
Over the next two months the cyst decreased little by little; then it quit shrinking.
“God is there something wrong we need to get right?” Vickie and Larry prayed by their bedside. They looked at each other and wondered that maybe, with the miraculous moving of
God, they had become somewhat arrogant. They said, “God, please forgive us.”
Two weeks later, a sonogram revealed nothing. Doctors and nurses came out of the woodwork dancing and praising God. As a memorial so no family would ever forget, the parents gave Mitzi a figurine engraved on the bottom, “When God healed Mitzi at three years.”
After the sonogram, the battle-weary trio arrived home at 1:00 a.m. to a note on the front door that said, “Uncle Frank broke his hip.” They prayed with him through his surgery and recovery. The very day he was able to walk with his walker, Vickie found a lump on her breast.
The doctor showed her the X-ray which looked exactly like a picture of cancerous breast tissue. “Larry, I’m so tired. I don’t know if I have enough faith. I’m so exhausted.” “Did God tell you that you had to have faith in your faith?” asked Larry.
“I feel like I just need to listen to the Word and rest. I need revitalized.”
Shortly, Vickie’s mother called to tell her about Rhema Bible College in Tulsa where one could go and just listen to the Word all day long. From a Wednesday to a Friday, that is what she did. When the 1:00 p.m. appointment arrived at the City of Faith on Friday, the doctor came in with six young interns. He looked at her X-ray and asked, “Why did they send you to me?”
The X-ray was clear. The lump did not appear on the X-ray! Without even touching Vickie, he said, “There’s no reason for you to be here. You may go home.”
It was clear to Vickie, God led her and her family down a deepening journey of faith revealing His kingdom of health, healing, wholeness and power, not just of talk (see 1 Cor. 4:20). With Job, she could now say, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).
Kim’s Kingdom Story Continued
Kim Crowe’s family was one who made it only to the “entryway of salvation,” without getting very deep into the house. Kim’s prayer her whole Christian life was, “God, please don’t take my family from this earth until they accept Christ as their Savior.”
Shortly before returning to California, in her new Caravan, Kim’s sister started calling her on the telephone. Her sister, “Hank” (short for Henrietta) had accepted Jesus in her heart.
Hank had been divorced from a man who was a drug and alcohol addict. Because of that and an uncle who had raped her (the same one who raped Kim), as well as a gang rape, Hank hated men. She had a foul, mean mouth with everyone. Suddenly, and in one moment of transformation, she began calling Kim. Hank was filled with great joy and peace that never dwindled, even when she was shortly diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Meanwhile, Kim was told she needed a liver transplant in Oregon. She had acquired Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion when her daughter was born twenty-seven years earlier. After Kim’s job was eliminated in Kansas, she went to a VA hospital where she found she had been treated for all the symptoms but never the bottom line: liver disease. One week after she was discharged from the hospital, she found out about Hank. Kim prayed every night, “Lord just let me get home so I can see my sister and talk with her face to face!”
Kim was determined not to wallow in her fear and guilt, feeling God wanted to do something with her in these circumstances; her mother was also dying of cancer. She fought putting up a wall, and feeling sorry for herself. The week she left for California, God gave her these words from a devotional, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139:16).
Kim was able to pray, “Lord, if Hank dies from this disease, how can I complain? All I’ve ever asked of You is that my family become Christians before they die, and You have already answered that prayer.” Kim’s grandfather entered the kingdom six months before. He was ninety-four when her cousin gave him the Left Behind series, one book at a time. Her grandmother had been eighty-two when she was saved and died, and her aunt seventy-five, coming to Jesus when seventy-four.
Kim was filled with supernatural peace as the days unfolded. She had envisioned Hank and herself ministering to other people together; little did she realize it would be with doctors, nurses and caregivers as Hank was receiving chemo treatments; then, one day as Kim was getting ready to go back to the hospital, she received a phone call that Hank had gone to be with Jesus.
While driving to the hospital, Kim envisioned Hank, running in a lush, green, sunny bright meadow full of birds and trees in the background. She knew Hank could finally hear out of her deaf ear, and she was absolutely full of joy. She was laughing and smiling, with arms outstretched. Kim knew she was running to Jesus whose arms were also open wide
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Words of Jesus: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.—Luke 4:18-19
Jesus Publicly Reveals Himself as Prophecy Fulfilled
Before Jesus officially began His earthly ministry, He spent forty days and forty nights fasting and praying in the desert. He was there tempted by the devil. Through four temptations, Jesus defeated satan with the same Word of God we have today. Four times, He said, “It is written; it is written; it is written; it is written . . . .” (See Luke 4:4, 8, 10 and 12). After defeating the devil, Jesus began His earthly ministry by going to the synagogues to preach, beginning in his hometown of Nazareth.
This particular Sabbath day in the synagogue, the attendant gave Jesus the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling it, Jesus found Chapter 61, verses 1-2, and read to the people, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In these verses, Jesus publicly revealed Himself as fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, and that His purpose in coming to earth was to preach salvation, to proclaim freedom, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the Year of Jubilee. In other words, Jesus announced He was Jehovah-Rapha in the flesh—coming to save, heal and restore. Peter tells us “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness: by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
By His stripes, we were healed over two thousand years ago. Jesus healed us in all four areas of our lives on that cross. This is a continual process of healing we need to receive throughout our lifetime. The subject of healing, as a continual process, is one we need to look at with a balanced mind. This means, not only in the manner of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional soundness, but in the cause of the problem, who initiated the healing, what will the result be and why.
From the story of Job, we learn sin is not always the problem or reason for the disease or illness, but to deepen our faith, to see Him more clearly—with our heart, not just our head.
When Jesus came on the scene, He taught His disciples in a balanced way with the miracles He performed. He saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’” (John 9:2).
“‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life’” (John 9:3). The whole purpose for this blindness was so God would get the glory through this man’s life, at this very moment in time—for all time.
Jesus shows us that we are being sifted as wheat
Again, Jesus teaches us, as Jehovah-Rapha, in dealing with Peter. When Jesus warned Peter he would deny him three times, Peter vehemently denied he would, “‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death’” (Luke 22:33).
Jesus answered, “‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me’” (Luke 22:34).
Jesus’ words proved true. During Jesus’ arrest and trial, Peter denied knowing Jesus and being one of His disciples. As with most all the miracles Jesus performed, He initiated the healing. After rising from the grave and appearing to the disciples, Jesus singled out Peter and asked him three times, “‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’” (John 21:15). Three times, Peter replied the same, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
The repetition of three times to speak his love for the Lord, cancelled out the three denials, and with the repetition, the Lord’s forgiveness and restoration settled from Peter’s head to his heart. Peter must have remembered other words Jesus spoke to him when saying his name three times, “‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’” (Luke 22:31-32).
With Peter’s restoration, Jesus gave him his life’s assignment. His exact words were:
“Feed my lambs” (John 21:15); “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:16); “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17); “Follow me!” (John 21:19). This healing and reinstatement process defined Peter’s life purpose, with a view of his future—he glorified God throughout the rest of his life until his own crucifixion.
We will go through the same sifting process as Peter if we follow Jesus. Without the sifting, we would never learn the B-E-A-R Facts of Faith; we would never learn to truly love our Lord who heals us. When we begin to understand that satan was created by God to be used by Him to help refine us, it is easier to weather the trial. And why? So we will learn that satan will surrender to us when we know who we are, and use God’s Word, our sword, against him. It is the only way we learn that “no weapon forged against us will prevail” (Isa. 54:17).
Through the sifting process, the people we will learn about next grew to love Jehovah-Rapha more:
Job lived in the land of Uz with his wife, seven sons and three daughters. He was a righteous man, who was blameless, honored God and shunned evil. He was blessed by God with material wealth: seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants.
One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan, who was the Designated Accuser, came along with them. God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”
Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
Satan retorted, “So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart? Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him and his family or his possessions, bless everything he does— he can’t lose!
“But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what.”
God replied, “We’ll see. Go ahead—do what you want with all that is his. Just don’t hurt him.” Then Satan left the presence of God.—Job 1:6-12 The Message
Sometime later, Job’s livestock were attacked and stolen; his ten children died in a tornado, all in the same day. “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:20-22).
Job was tested a second time
On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
So Satan went from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.—Job 2:1-10 NIV
Job had three ‘friends’ who heard about all his calamities:
Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar went to visit Job to console him. When they saw him they could hardly believe what they saw and cried, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. They sat with Job for seven days and nights without saying a word—speechless at viewing his suffering. Things would have been great if they had just wept with Job and told him how much they loved him, prayed with him and left. Instead, they each, in two rounds, and for most of the forty-two chapters in Job, spouted their eloquent wisdom from their own experiences, what they believed to be true of how and why God was dealing with him.
Eliphaz was sure Job had to have sinned for all this to have happened, “Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?” (Job 4:7 Msg). Sin had to be the blame.
Bildad was sure Job’s children had sinned. “It’s plain that your children sinned against him—otherwise, why would God have punished them? . . . There’s no way that God will reject a good person, and there’s no way he’ll help a bad one” (Job 8:4, 20 Msg). He told Job what to do: to get down on his knees before Almighty God before it was too late so God would come running. “Even though you’re not much right now, you’ll end up better than ever” (Job 8:18 Msg).
Zophar agreed with Eliphaz—Job had sinned. “You claim, ‘My doctrine is sound and my conduct impeccable.’ How I wish God would give you a piece of his mind, tell you what’s what! I wish he’d show you how wisdom looks from the inside, for true wisdom is mostly ‘inside.’ But you can be sure of this, you haven’t gotten half of what you deserve” (Job 11:4-6 Msg).
Job’s Divine Revelation
Among Job’s well-meaning friends’ ascertains, Job stands by his innocence, and with divine revelation of the coming resurrection of the body and soul from hell, he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another” (Job 19:25-26).
Before this revelation, Job had become so completely worn out with his friends’ visit that he cursed the day he was born. “So why did you have me born? I wish no one had ever laid eyes on me! I wish I’d never lived—a stillborn, buried without ever having breathed” (Job 10:18 Msg).
Possibly, Job’s friends served their purpose, for Job made a desperate and wise decision, “I’m taking my case straight to God Almighty, I’ve had it with you—I’m going directly to God. You graffiti my life with lies. You’re a bunch of pompous quacks! I wish you’d shut your mouths—silence is your only claim to wisdom” (Job 13:3-5 Msg). Job went before God with a lengthy complaint, starting with:
“Please God, I have two requests;
Grant them so I’ll know I count with you:
First, lay off the afflictions;
The terror is too much for me.
Second, address me directly so I can answer you, Or let me speak and then you answer me.
Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?” (40:8 Msg emphasis added).
God then gave Job a lengthy accounting of all his creations in the sky above and the earth beneath, asking Job if he could stand up to them. He said, “I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—you can surely save yourself with no help from me!” (40:14 Msg). He addressed Job’s cursing the day he was born by saying, “Look at the land beast, Behemoth. I created him as well as you” (40:15 Msg).
When the Lord finished speaking, Job replied, “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head” (42:1-3 Msg).
Job found that God did not have a list of offenses against him, but his only offense was his complaints against God during the suffering. He knew God had to have had a purpose, and now he knew what it was: “I admit I once lived by rumors of you, now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!” (Job 42:5 Msg).
Next, God spoke His displeasure to Job’s friends, “You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:8). God told them He wanted Job to pray for them. Do you think God was trying to make a point with Job’s friends—that they should have prayed, leaving the situation in His hands?
Job is restored double
God blessed Job again by restoring double what he had before. He was healed in all four areas—physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. With the same wife, who hopefully had a change of heart, he had seven more sons and three more daughters.
This time, the daughters’ names are recorded, saying they were the most beautiful in all the land, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. Spiritually speaking, this is huge: Job was granted the heart of God by seeing his daughters through God’s eyes, as equal in the kingdom, with the same spiritual inheritance. Job lived another hundred and forty years, seeing his children to the fourth generation.
The Bible does not clearly say when God healed Job. When God first began speaking with him, He said, “Now gird up your loins like a man” (Job 38:3). The Message says, “Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall!” Possibly Job was healed in response to God’s Word; maybe after he prayed for his friends. Whenever it happened, Job experienced the healing power of Jehovah-Rapha.
Job experienced the crossing of the Jordan in a spiritual sense. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, defines the Hebrew word for Jordan as yarden (yar-dane), meaning “a descender.” Its primitive root word is yarad (yaw-rad), which literally means “to go downwards”—[also: to bring down; to cast down; to go down; going down; to take down, etc.] Crossing the Jordan means stepping down. It means humility—putting self on the altar so God can work.
Crossing the Jordan also means getting to the other side, to overcome—healing in all four areas of our lives. Job overcame from the inside-out, whereas Janice experienced healing from the outside-in: Job, an obedient believer; Janice (from previous post), not knowing what she believed. The result for both was the same—first-hand, experiential knowledge of God.
Are We Willing to Suffer in Order to Overcome?
Job may have never known the behind-the-scenes scenario of satan’s requests before God, but we have no excuse to be ignorant. We have the rest of the story and must take heed. It was Job’s obedience that caught satan’s attention, as well as God’s. God even initiated the conversation with satan about Job’s righteousness saying, “There is no one on earth like him” (Job 1:8). We must ask ourselves if we are willing to suffer in overcoming, or to be humiliated for the Lord’s sake.
If we are to experience God as Jehovah-Rapha, the Healer, we need to be willing to pay the price of discipleship in order to know Him. We must expect to be tested with bitter waters for a season, trusting they will be made sweet, with this assurance in our heart:
“If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail” (Isa. 54:15-17).
One thing is for sure; we will never understand who the Healer is without knowing who the destroyer is. The Lord very graphically demonstrated this to the children of Israel, and therefore, to us. Numbers 21:5 records a different time than the Deuteronomy account when the people complained against Moses saying, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Because of their sin in complaining against God’s servant, God sent venomous snakes among them. The snakes bit them and many died. “The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people” (Num. 21:7).
To LOOK at the Bronze-Serpent Destroyer Was the Same as LOOKing to Jesus Who Heals
The Lord told Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and live. We know that the “. . . ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, [who] leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Rev. 12:9). All the children of Israel had to do for healing was to look at the bronze serpent Moses made, and they were healed. Jesus himself told us, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
With eternal life, or salvation, comes healing of soul and body. Jesus, the bronze serpent, overcame what the ancient serpent brought into the world—sin and disease. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). In our looking back, He paid the price for us, just as He paid the price for those who were healed in the desert, as they looked forward.
A few years ago, a certain woman found herself viewing all the poverty and suffering in the world and was overcome by it. She asked the Lord, “Why has all this happened?”
She immediately saw herself, in her mind’s eye, in the Garden of Eden. The Lord spoke to her heart, “This was my plan.”
She realized that is why Jesus had to come, to overturn the deceiving, rebellious, spirit of satan and sin on mankind. (His name is not worth capitalizing.) She remembered what the Bible said about satan, that he was a created angel of God, and that he rebelled against God; He thought he was as good as God and should be God:
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.—Isaiah 14:12-15
Satan was cast out of heaven, and a third of the angels followed him (see Rev. 12:4-9). He is called the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4) and the “. . . ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph. 2:2). He and his demons, or evil spirits, blind the eyes of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel. Therefore, we are caught in the middle of an ever-growing spiritual battle between God and satan, until satan will be eventually hurled into the bottomless pit at the end of the age:
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore . . . .—Revelation 20:1-3
Caught Between the One Who Heals and the Destroyer
So, where does all this leave us? Caught in the middle, for a season, that is us. That means suffering, and putting up with adversity. It means fighting; it means choosing sides, whether we know we are choosing or not. Those who choose God and His ways will go to heaven to be with Jesus and his angels. Those who turn away from God and His ways are choosing satan’s ways, and will go to hell to be with him and his demons. This is true reality. Many try to rationalize away the reality of hell, even some pastors, but it is a very real place. Because hell is real, heaven is real; heaven cannot be real if hell is not real!
The Bible warns of hell repeatedly. The KJV mentions hell fifty-four times, thirty-one times in the O.T. and twenty-three times in the N.T. The NASB and NIV do not use the word hell, in the O.T., but Sheol, or the grave, as in Psalm 86:13, “Thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol” (NASB). Sheol is mentioned nine times in the book of Job alone.
Very simply, Sheol is a Hebrew word meaning the “place of the dead.” “The Hebrew Scriptures do not focus too much emphasis on the condition or destiny of the souls of men until the resurrection. The development of that theme is left for the N.T. and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
In fifteen of the twenty-three times in the N.T. hell is mentioned, Jesus himself forewarns of this reality. He says things, such as: “I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him” (Luke 12:5). Satan is taking as many as he can deceive with him, for truly he comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17 KJV).
All satan’s tactics accuse the saints before God both day and night (see Rev. 12:10) and cause eventual suffering, even though he presents himself as an angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14). Many books are written about the dilemma of being caught in the middle—each trying to explain the purpose of suffering, and why bad things happen to good people, when the bottom line is that satan is just doing his thing. We are going directly to God’s Word for insight to this dilemma, in a book of the O.T. to find what God told Job, who suffered probably more than any man of all time. He asked the same question we do:
 Spiros Zodiates, Th.D., Executive Editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, 1990) p. 1778.
“If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” —Exodus 15:26
Janice was seventeen years old when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. There was just one major problem. “Young Lady, I’m afraid you will never be able to take your baby home. She has only half a liver and will live only a couple days,” the doctor told her.
That evening, Janice went into the hallway to search for a telephone. Suddenly, a very large black woman appeared at her side. “Are you the mother of that precious little baby girl in the nursery?”
“Yes, I am.”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m calling my sister to pray with me about my baby.”
With her sister listening on the other end, the woman began to pray as Janice held the phone. As the lady prayed, a warm feeling came over Janice and she knew in her heart her baby was healed. When the prayer ended, Janice said good-bye to her sister and hung up the phone. When she turned around, the lady was gone.
The next morning, Janice picked up the little clothes she had brought to the hospital, and walked into the nursery to dress her baby to take her home. The doctor was very ugly with her and refused to let her touch her own baby. Janice marvels today that, as a teenager, she had the foresight to insist on having another X-ray taken. The doctor consented to do so only after much persuasion, but called in another doctor to order it.
The second, a female doctor, returned shortly, and with tears in her eyes said, “Your little girl is totally healed! You may take your baby home.”
“There was a big, black lady in the hallway last night who prayed for my baby. I want to thank her. Do you know who she was? She looked like a nurse,” Janice replied.
“No, we have no one working here by that description.”
Today, that little baby girl, Geanene, is married and has two children of her own.
Three days after the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea they had no water. They came to a stream where the water was bitter. The Lord showed Moses a tree. He threw it into the water, which healed it and made it sweet. They called this place “Marah,” meaning bitter, for here Scripture says they were “tested,” the same root Hebrew word used when Abraham was tested with Isaac.
It was at Marah the Lord gave Moses and the people a statute: “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer” (Exod. 15:26 NASB).
This is where we get the Hebrew word for God as healer—Jehovah-Rapha. He lays down this very basic regulation, or formal decree, that obedience goes hand in hand with health and healing, and that He is the healer. This verse says the same thing as Deuteronomy 28:1-14, that if we will obey God, we will be blessed; and verses15-68 say if we do not honor God with our lives, calamities of all types will come upon us. In other words, sin opens the door for the enemy to bring real problems.
His Ways Are Higher Than Our Ways
However, not very far into the Christian life, we find things are not always this simple. Sin is not always the reason for troubles or lack of health. We discover early that there are no simple answers to complex situations, and that we cannot put God in a box and find out why He does certain things —why He deals with us and other people as He does. He is God and He alone. There is no faith-method to make Him do what we want Him to do when we want Him to do it. He can heal whomever, whenever and however He desires, and at times, no matter the faith involved, healing seems to evade. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (see Isa. 55:9). He sees the beautiful top-side pattern and design of the quilt, whereas we see only the knotted, frayed underneath side.
The story of the healing of Janice’s daughter had nothing to do with Janice’s obedience, for she was not even a Christian. She had been raised in a very strict rule-oriented “religious” environment, but she never saw any love in it. She learned her mother was a Christian only after her mother died; her mother’s life consisted in surviving with an alcoholic husband. Unfortunately and understandably, Janice allowed immature Christians, who were unable to love, to keep her from being readily able to accept the love of God.
After the birth of her baby, and with God’s guidance, Janice was able to free herself from her husband who had tried to drown her shortly before. One child was already at home. A number of years later, she met David who conveyed love to her and adopted her children. They bought a mobile home together in which they both became Christians. Would Janice have given her heart to the Lord if He had not stepped in to perform this miracle? Only God knows.
Years later, a co-worker gave Janice a black angel holding a baby up high in her arms. Janice put it on her desk and told her story to every one who asked about the angel, and many did, because Janice was not black. Did God heal baby Geanene so He could get the glory from it when Janice told the story? God knows.
Maybe He wanted to show that He is the Healer. Did He heal Geanene because He had a special plan for her life, as He does for each one He created? Geanene knows. At every opportunity she says, “I am a miracle!”
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The morning of December 14 arrived. This was our moving day of crossing the dry river bed of our Jordan River. We continued to pack the truck with our belongings. My friend, Linda S., called. “Well, do you know where you are going yet?”
“No, not yet. Still heading straight north.”
“Then why don’t you stop by and see us while you’re heading north?”’
She and Chuck lived north, in Texarkana, Texas, so that is what we did. We had an upright freezer full of meat and corn from Jim’s parents’ farm. We placed the freezer to the back of the truck so we could plug it in after arriving at our friends’ house.
The day after our arrival, Linda and I walked around the block and saw an empty house. Further inspection found it was being renovated to rent. It would not be ready for a couple weeks; we rented it. This necessitated our staying with our friends.
Linda and I were like school girls, rejoicing in the Lord’s provision in bringing us together. All four of us shared in the Lord’s goodness and discussed His Word. After more than three days passed, I said to Chuck, “My parents always said that if company stayed more than three days, they start smelling like dead fish.”
“Only if you feel that way, is when you start smelling like fish,” was his reply.
We had never experienced such gracious hosts and friends as Chuck and Linda. I changed my attitude, and was able to continue to rejoice in our friendship and the breaking of bread together. Learning to receive was hard.
We visited the church two blocks away. The first sermon we heard was from Deuteronomy 2:3, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.” God’s Word had directed us, and we knew we were where He wanted us––exactly one-hundred miles straight north.
Immediately after getting settled in our house, I looked at the four walls. “Well, we’re here, Lord. We’ve crossed the Jordan. I’m ready to do what you want me to do. Now what?”
The next Sunday while sitting in church, it dawned on me why I might be feeling queasy. Sure enough, I was pregnant! We had enough money to pay the doctor for the first visit. The next five visits, we had to have $120 before I could even get in to see the doctor; insurance was terminated.
I had told some friends, “God never makes mistakes.”
Now I had to find out for myself if that was really true. I could not sleep. At 2:00 a.m., I slipped out of bed without waking Jim, and went into the other room. My thoughts ran to Rebecca when her twins jostled within her, and she said,
“Why is this happening to me? So she went to inquire of the Lord” (Gen. 25:22). And, the Lord told her that two nations would come from her twins (Jacob and Esau), and the older would serve the younger.
I decided to inquire of the Lord, and simply asked, “Why now, Lord?”
The dry river bed was more than dead stones
I thought about Joshua, wondering what He initially did after getting into the Promised Land. I opened my Bible. My eyes fell to Joshua, Chapter 4, where it told how the children of Israel chose twelve stones from the riverbed to place on the other side as a memorial––to remind them when their children asked in time to come, “What do these stones mean to you?”
They were to tell them of God’s wonders when the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and they passed over on the dry riverbed. I thought, we should have stopped the truck and picked up some stones and set them up in our front yard.
God immediately spoke to my heart: I am giving you a living memorial, this baby, to always remind you of your new beginning.
Reality set in: nine more months to the other side; oh no. The baby was due September 3, Labor Day, close to one year from when Jim had asked the Lord for a year to study His Word. We weren’t across the Jordan at all; we had only taken the first step down into it!
And, the manna had only just begun! Our church needed a pianist. Of the churches I had played for, the organist is paid, never the pianist. After our moving money ran out, without fail, a check for twenty dollars was on the piano each Sunday. We gave two dollars tithe each week, put three dollars gasoline in the car at twenty-five cents per gallon, and spent $15.00 on groceries.
That, with the garden Linda helped me plant, and a full freezer, we never went hungry. We would learn first-hand what the psalmist meant, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Ps. 37:25).
That spring, one of the elderly members in our church, Mrs. Tittle, invited us to lunch. Included in the meal were crispy, delicious biscuits. Jim and I liked them so much that she invited us back to show me how she made them. (See recipe at end of chapter.)
The dry river bed held manna and fig jam
Mr. & Mrs. Tittle also had a fig tree in their back yard. Kurt and Francy helped pick all we wanted. I made my first and only fig jam. It was super on those hot biscuits. What an amazing summer it was, seeing a real fig tree and eating the fruit of it, much like being in the land of milk and honey. Those biscuits sustained us that year––along with gravy that could be made from the same ingredients that $15.00 could buy––and for years afterward when our children were young. Mrs. Tittle made her biscuits every morning; they were the mainstay of her diet. And now for us, it was manna––good manna our children would request upon returning home in their adult years.
When bills arrived in the mailbox, I wrote out a Scripture on each one, such as: Phillipians 4:19; 2 Corinthians. 9:8, 10, 11; and Luke 6:38. Jim kept trying to find a permanent job, but found none. When the $235 monthly rent came due, a temporary job would spring up––such as waterproofing basements for Chuck in his business.
Even though we knew we had a long wait until September, we could not understand why, and four different times looked to our own efforts to bring about God’s plan. The fourth time, after gripping and complaining, I watched Jim stumble home with a heat stroke.
It took over three days for him to recover. We let satan steal from us during this time because we questioned God’s wisdom in how He was dealing with us. After this, we turned our anger on the right one–– satan––declaring he would steal from us no more; we had borrowed money for the rent.
The dry river bed was filled with Heaven’s blessings
Heaven’s blessings began to come in again––our having gotten back in the Word, looking to the Lord. We discovered Mark 10:29-30, which we did not know was in the Bible. We had left all to follow Jesus, just as Peter had said. We felt God wanted us to prove His Word. We had four dollars. We gave it to Him, claiming these verses for us. In a couple hours, a call came for Jim for a job that would pay the rent––over the $200 needed.
Two days later, my friend, Martha, came to our door and handed us an envelope containing her income tax return. She said that God told her to give it to us. We knew that not taking it would rob her of God’s blessings, so as difficult as it was, we received it as from the Lord. It was $200 more, completing the 100-fold return on the four dollars.
I knew Martha deeply desired a violin, and that her obeying the Lord put Him first and the violin second. She had planned on buying one with this money. She did not know God desired to multiply her gift back to her so she could give some more. I showed her Mark 10:29-30 and told her I believed God would somehow give her a violin a hundred times better than any she could have bought.
Thank God it is His Word and He watches over it to perform it––when it comes from our mouth. On her birthday a couple months later, an old acquaintance gave her his violin he could not play anymore––a beautiful old one brought over from Europe 100 years earlier, possibly a Paganini, one of only fifty surviving treasures. He even bought her a new bow and case for it. He told her to get insurance on it; she gave it back to God.
Back to the baby of the dry river bed
We knew God gave us this child; therefore, we knew He would provide for it. Each month, the $120 was there, except for one, and the next month, it was paid for by a $500 check that came in June for my May birthday. It seems a gas well was dug on my sister’s farm. She and her husband received only one royalty check from it, and sent us the tithe. Before the baby was born, Martha had a truck load of out-dated Kimbie diapers sent to us from the medical warehouse where she worked, enough for the whole neighborhood!
July arrived. Nothing outstanding happened. We eked by on the $20.00 per week. By August the bills were mounting, but just as sure as a baby will be delivered, we were assured we would also. We had learned our lesson. I was believing God and confessing His Word everyday, that He would bring us out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and make a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, and the mounting bills (or chariot and horse) would lie down together, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick (see Exod. 6:7; Isa. 43:16-17.)
But, we were about to the end of our rope. Just when we thought we could go no further, on the fifth day of August, the pastor of our church asked Jim if he would consider an education and youth position. The church had been looking for a full-time music and youth man. No leads ever came. They decided they had been looking for the wrong person. But it was not until the end of October––after a total of fourteen months––the job materialized.
Meanwhile, the bills were still mounting. We had been setting aside (out of our need) $25.00 a month during June, July, August and September in a savings account, money to help a trusted organization get out of debt. We knew the Golden Rule Jesus taught said that, as we do unto others, He would do unto us (see Luke 6:31). Plus, we kept up our tithe to the church. Jim taught Wednesday evening services during the month of August for which he was paid.
From the seventh month of pregnancy, I spent most hours on the couch, since walking brought on false labor. My Amplified Bible was especially meaningful to me: “Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? says the Lord; shall I Who cause to bring forth shut the womb? says your God” (Isa. 66:9). I felt Jesus’ words, “I am with you all the days,––perpetually, uniformly and on every occasion––to the [very] close and consummation of the age” (Matt. 28:20) were directed to me alone. Daily, I spoke to our mountain of bills in the name of Jesus, to be cast into the sea (see Mark 11:23), and wrote Scriptures on their envelopes.
September 4 arrived. Yesterday was Labor Day, due date––no baby delivered, no bills delivered. It was the hottest day of the summer, using fans, no air conditioning. My devotional read how a potter puts china through the final hottest firing to set the rim in gold. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know how it could get any hotter, the landlord is coming today for two months rent. Just let it get as hot as it has to so we can get this over with!”
At 2:00 p.m. the public service man came to turn off the electricity. The lights went out. The fans died down. Our freezer quit running. Sweat poured. Jim and I could not talk to each other. The next thirty minutes seemed like hours as we silently prayed, and praised the Lord.
Sweat turns to tears in the dry river bed
I don’t know what Jim was praying. He went to the other room. I turned to Isaiah 43:1-2 and I Peter 5:10 and read them back to the Lord, “We will fear not, for we have been redeemed. We are summoned by our names. We belong to God. When we pass through the waters, You will be with us; and when we pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over us. When we walk through the fire, we will not be burned; the flames will not set us ablaze. We know we are exactly where You want us to be and we are not budging. We will be established, rooted, and grounded in Jesus. And satan, in the name of Jesus, you will steal from us no more!”
As I was praying, I saw the mail truck pass on the opposite side of the road. When he came back around, he left a letter containing a check for $500! Sweat turned to tears.
We picked up the children from school, paid the electricity bill, and got our first ice cream cone of the summer. One hour after returning to our steaming house, the landlord came. Exhausted, we handed him a check.
September 14, 1979, Jim and I walked hand in hand all over the shopping center nearby, just enjoying being alive on such a beautiful day. Matthew James arrived that evening, nineteen minutes after arriving at the hospital. Exactly nine months––to the day––from leaving Carthage, our biggest mountain had finally arrived––8 lb. 5 oz., with red hair. But, the mountain was only half gone; the hospital bill was $560.00 for a one night stay; translated into figures for 2007 that would be about $4,480.00.
Six days later, we wrote our check for the $100 seed we had saved to help with someone else’s debt. We clipped the envelope with a clothespin to the mailbox. The mailman took it and left a letter with a check for $600––more than enough to pay the hospital bill and give some more..
But, that’s not all. Before Jim took over as Education and Youth Director, he had been coaching our church’s softball team. This entailed our traveling to remote places to play other teams. No matter how far we traveled, the three dollars of the manna-twenty always bought enough gasoline to make it to the next week.
After one unusually long trip, with the gauge on empty as usual, I asked the Lord if He was making our car run on fumes. I received no answer until one Sunday evening at the end of October––the Sunday Jim was officially hired. As we drove into the parking lot, the car died and coasted into the spot.
At the time we gave our $100 seed, Chuck and Linda gave $1000. Before Christmas, a miraculous business proposition for Chuck made a move necessary––bringing a hundred-fold return for his first year’s income. His new boss loaned him interest-free money for the down-payment on their house. They rented us their previous house––a beautiful large three-bedroom home with a large yard at the edge of the woods in the middle of town.
My parents gave us their car that got twenty miles per gallon when their church gave them a brand new car for Christmas. But those things are not the best things. Having needs met are great, but God filled our home with His love, His joy, and His peace. Kurt and Francy came to trust in Jesus as their personal Savior as very young children, and they were so proud of their little brother.
Best of all, Jim and I experienced together the blessings of El-Shaddai. I will treasure forever the day the electricity was turned off––the refining fire of Jehovah-Jireh. We both were able to study God’s Word and share it for another year––thinking we were possessing the land, until we were surprised to find it was not the “land-plan” at all.
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Lo, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy, blessed and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the city’s gate–Psalm 127:3-5 Amplified
Bill and Martha had five children. They loved the Lord and brought their children up to love Him, too. Because of that, they reaped the promise that God would show “love to a thousand generations, of those who love me, and keep my commandments” (Exod. 20:6). They kept their children in the Lord’s hands. Their two military sons were in Vietnam three times, and in various places around the globe. They prayed Scripture over them, mainly from the fifty in the Old Testament that say God is our shield, such as, “You are a shield around me, O Lord” (Ps. 3:3).
When the sons returned, they told their parents, “There were times when we could hear bullets that should have hit us, but they didn’t.”
When Bill and Martha grew old and feeble, their five children spent three years or longer scheduling every fifth weekend to return home to care for them. This enabled them to stay in their own home until they died.
The younger son, Jim, married Ann. They had four children. Before their conception, they gave them to the Lord, even praying for their spouses, wherever they were at, and for those not yet conceived. They knew that through their growing years and thereafter, they would never be able to be with them twenty-four hours per day, to watch over them, seeing all and controlling all—God was the only able One. Not knowing they would be a military family, this younger son and his wife had to lay them on the altar a minimum of ten times:
When their firstborn son went to a military academy in upper state New York, thousands of miles away.
When their firstborn son went to Kuwait after Desert Storm
When their firstborn son had open-heart surgery for an aortic valve replacement
When their firstborn son had a second aortic heart-valve replacement surgery
When their only daughter married a military man and moved to Germany
When their second-born son deployed to Iraq upon graduation from college
When their second-born son went to Iraq for the second time
When their third-born son married and had a child while still in college
When their grand-daughter was born six weeks premature and in Newborn ICU
When their son-in-law was deployed to Iraq (and there at this writing)
So, what was the hundred-fold return on giving these four children and their spouses to the Lord? First of all, God used them in His service for their country and in various other ways. They found their independence and self-sufficiency under His care and keeping. The story is still unfolding, but to the present, all four children have spouses who love the Lord, and all are committed to each other—especially through difficult times. Family is important to them.
The firstborn son and his wife returned to their home state. When his father retired, he was there. [And before this book was completed, God blessed them with a baby boy ten months after his second heart surgery.]
During their daughter’s three-year stay in Germany, she became pregnant. Both mothers got their heads together and planned a trip for one week after the due date, to try to be there after their first grandchild was born. They arrived at the hospital as mother and baby son were being wheeled from the delivery room! And, when daughter and family returned from Germany to the states, they were stationed within four hours driving distance. An added bonus was another pregnancy upon their arrival—their second son!
The second-born son returned safe and sound from the two tours to Iraq. The third-born son’s marriage was to his high school sweetheart God had picked out for him, even though it came sooner than his parents had planned. Their baby daughter was born premature, truly a miracle—now healthy and a great joy.
Louise’s Freedom With Her Daughter
Louise’s daughter, Tammy—as listed on her birth certificate—went by Tami, to her own liking. Whatever her parents stood for, she rebelled against as a teenager and into her adult years, although she had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as a child. If it had to do with God, she was against it, even after giving birth to her son outside of marriage.
Louise gave Tammy to the Lord many years ago. Year after year, she kept trusting and asking God to send someone across her path who would influence her for the Lord. Finally, after changing jobs and rearranging her desk, Louise tacked up a picture of Tammy—acting silly, with a funny hat on, and looking happy. In faith, this is what she believed God for, to see her this way again. Other co-workers had professional pictures of their children on their desks, but not Louise. When they asked about her picture, she replied, “This is my daughter. Isn’t she beautiful?”
A couple weeks later, Louise answered the phone. “Mom, this is Tami. I think I’m having a heart attack!” Between sobs, she kept repeating, “I think I’m having a heart attack!”
“Tammy, please settle down, and tell me what’s the problem.”
“It’s my car. I can’t change the station. I’m having a heart attack!”
“What do you mean? What car, and why can’t you change the station?”
“Well, mom, you remember those people I never liked who were Christians? They bugged me a few years ago. They had a car for sale, and I really liked their car. I didn’t want to even look at it, but I really liked that car, so I decided to look at it. I went over there and they didn’t even ask me about church, thank goodness, so I bought the car. Every time I put my hand to the radio to change it from that Christian radio, I couldn’t. I tell you, I can’t. ‘Something’ keeps my hand from touching it!”
Louise could hardly contain herself and almost laughed, “Tammy, so why are you having a heart attack?”
“I decided to drive it across town and into the mountains to help with a flea market. Remember that church we had to go by to get there? It has a great big neon sign. On my way back, I looked at the sign and it said, ‘Tami, you need to pray.’ I almost ran head-on into a semi. I pulled to the side of the road, and in my rearview mirror, I could see the backside of the sign, and it said, “Tami, you need to pray.’”
“Mom, I’m still having a heart attack, and that was two weeks ago. How can God do that? My name was spelled T-a-m-i, not with a y. He’s the only One who knows. How can I pray? I don’t know how.”
“Tammy, talk to God just as you are with me right now. He knows you. He loves you.”
“I know. I’m so sorry for the way I treated you and Sis. Every time I went to your house, I could feel the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit I was reacting to, not you, not Sis. Please forgive me.”
Jan’s Freedom With Her Son
Jacob returned from Somalia with rage in his heart. He hated the Army. He hated that he could not come home when his wife, who was on drugs, wanted to abort his child. He hated everybody, including God, whom he had known as a child.
His parents did all they could to support him, his wife, and the child who did manage to be born. After they paid off their son’s loan so he could pay his bills, Jacob came to them again asking for money. Jan told him no.
That night was Wednesday evening prayer service at church. She asked her husband to go with her to the altar up front at church, to give their son to the Lord. “Something is wrong with Jacob. I don’t know what.” Her husband agreed to go.
At the altar, Jan prayed, “Lord, we place Jacob on the altar right now, just as Abraham did with Isaac. Whatever it takes to bring him back to You, we ask that You let it happen right now. He is Yours.”
That very night Jacob and a friend tried to rob a convenience store. The friend shot the attendant. Because Jacob was with him as an accomplice, he also went to jail.
After seven years in prison that brought him back to the Lord, Jacob said, “If I hadn’t been caught, I would have probably killed someone myself.”
We don’t have a stone altar like Abraham did on which to place our possessions, professions, houses and family. But we can do it in the privacy of our own home, in the altar of our hearts, or by giving as an act of faith by praying at the altar of our church. Once that is done, when we have let go, looking at God’s ability, rather than our own, we have freedom, total freedom in Jesus Christ. We have to turn all control over to the only One who can do anything about the situation, and in the process He builds His character in us. He cares more about our character rather than our circumstances.
The hardest part is keeping that thing, that job, that person on the altar—not taking it back with worry. The refining process for us is learning the sacrifice of praise. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:15-16).
What is the sacrifice of praise? It is our burnt offering of our own self to God through praising the Lord no matter the circumstances, “though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls” (Habakkuk 3:17).
When we learned we are like a B-E-A-R, we learned that the “R” meant receiving through praise which claims our requests; however, this burnt offering sacrifice is when Jehovah-Jireh holds us in the refiner’s fire and the heat is blazing hot. We discover there will be no fruit on the vines until we learn that God inhabits our praise. He then gives us a deep knowing in our hearts that He alone—the Almighty Jehovah-Jireh—will make the provision of His choosing when His time is ripe, and not until then, and no matter the outcome of our obedience in praise. Why? Because He is the Teacher.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes shall constantly behold your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and you turn to the left. —Isaiah 30:20-21 Amplified
Offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom.—Romans 6:17-18 Msg.
WITH JEHOVAH-JIREH OUR FREEDOM WILL NEVER QUIT
When we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives and offer ourselves and all we have continually to Him, our freedom will never quit. The ways of God for us are the same as they were for Abraham—to lay everything meaningful on the altar. That includes possessions, professions, houses, and family. When we obey, Jehovah-Jireh will return these things back to us one-hundred-fold, with His supernatural stamp upon them.
The Biblical foundation for the principal of giving all to God and being able to believe for the hundred-fold return comes from the parable Jesus taught about the rich young ruler. He ran to Jesus, fell on his knees and asked what he needed to do to obtain eternal life. He had kept all the commandments. He had done so many things.
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said, ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’
“At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Mark 10:21-23).
“Peter said to him, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’
“‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first’” (Mark 10:28-31).
The rich young ruler had kept the commandments since he was a boy, but he had failed the first one, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). If he could have done what Jesus asked of him, demonstrating his love for God by letting go of things, Jesus would have supplied more seed to him as the sower and “made [him] rich in every way so that [he] could be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor. 9:11). We can hope this man obeyed Jesus later, but according to Scripture, we do not know.
In this chapter are stories of those who obeyed God in giving up possessions, professions, houses, and children to God, and how Jehovah-Jireh returned His abundant blessings to them.
FREEDOM WITH POSSESSIONS
Kim Crowe [from chapter 6], now over fifty and single, dreamed of a house of her own. But, it was something she would never possess. She had to lay it on the altar and give up that dream forever. She had to be willing to rent, room with her sister, live in apartments and eventually with her aging parents to care for them. But Kim and her cars was another story, indeed!
Shortly after she became a Christian at thirty years of age, Kim began to pray for her own car. She saved $300 to buy one, without praying about a specific purchase. After buying a car, her parents happened to give their red car to her. Her hasty purchase lasted only one week before breaking down. She thought, I should have prayed about it first, now I’ve lost $300!
Shortly afterward, the red car was stolen from the parking lot of her apartment. It was found in front of a Hells Angels’ apartment two blocks away. Only a Bible was missing from the inside. She traded the red car for a blue Escort.
When leaving her apartment to go to work, again, her car was gone. She thought, Oh, swell, second time. No one is going to believe this!
As Kim was filing a police report, officers were having her blue car towed from the middle of an intersection. Whoever had stolen it went on a joy ride, let it run out of gasoline and abandoned it during noon rush hour. Before the police report was taken, the car had been found— unscathed. It had been hot-wired, was covered with fingerprint dust, but was cleaned up at the Ford dealership before being returned to Kim.
When the red car was stolen, she was not frantic. By God’s grace, she went to Him and asked, “Okay God, why is this happening? What am I supposed to learn from this?”
The answer she heard was: It all belongs to me. I let you keep what you can have, and I take what you place above me or anything you don’t need. I can take it all. I can leave it all with you, one way or the other.
“I learned that everything I have belongs to God, and should be given back to Him. I learned this with possessions. It took longer to apply this to people.”
She told the policemen, “My car belongs to God. If He had wanted it, it was okay with me. If He had kept it, He would make a way for me to get to work. I guess He wants me to have it.” The police had never heard anything like this before. “It blew them away,” Kim said.
When she told them it was the second car she had stolen from her and returned, “That really blew them away!”
Kim traded her blue Escort in on a truck before moving from California to Kansas where her daughter lived. She was unable to keep up with the payments and it was repossessed—two months before her employer sold to another company. She moved back to California.
Kim was without a vehicle for nine months before her grandfather finally gave her his car. It sat in a garage so long that the tires were rotten—an eighteen year old car with 67,000 miles, no air conditioning, but it lasted a number of years.
When September 11, 2001, hit, her pastor, friends and parents said, “You need to go back to Kansas to be with your daughter and grandchildren.”
She prayed about it, and agreed God was leading her back. Meanwhile, Kim’s grandpa gave her an advance on her inheritance from him, and she purchased a three-year-old Caravan. Her job was then down-sized, yet Kim’s attitude was always upbeat, in complete trust, “God is so gracious. It’s awesome!”
Kim’s sister had become ill, her favorite aunt had died, her mother was dying, and she knew God was leading her back to California, in her debt-free Caravan, to care for them. She also found out she needed to go to the west coast for her own specialized surgery.
FREEDOM IN PROFESSIONS
Kurt and Davi M. moved to Michigan after his Army service. He took a position as distribution manager with a large corporation, shipping hospital beds all over the world. Davi managed government housing complexes throughout the state. After years of these high-stress jobs, seeing little of each other and no “life” together, they knew a change had to be made. But what, and how?
They began to seek the Lord and His will for their lives. They read their Bible, good books and prayed. In a short time-span, six relatives died on both sides of their families, meaning missing work and making trips home for the funerals. Kurt decided to go back to school for his master’s degree and applied to universities near home. To do this, he and Davi both had to place their successful careers and nice house on the altar.
They both thought the way would be made clear for them, jobs waiting, before leaving Michigan, but that did not happen. The last days on the job came and went, and furniture was being moved before Davi received a phone call. She was already in the car on moving day. Another employer wanted her to do training for the housing managers of other states, from her home-based business, working half the time for the same amount of money she had been making!
Later on, Kurt finished his master’s degree and was in the process of looking for another job when he experienced breathing problems. Tests revealed his aortic valve, which had been replaced nine years prior, was not working properly. Another surgery was scheduled. A mechanical valve replaced the valve that had become like porcelain.
Before Kurt was completely healed, he was sought out by the university that gave him his degree, to work from his home doing research—all this happening while making another move. The next move was to a brand new house that had been on the market for many months. Their offer of $16,000 below asking price was accepted.
FREEDOM WITH HOUSES
Janice and David Lamb lived in a mobile home on five acres with their three children while they were building a house on the land. They were not yet believers, but Janice was seeking the Lord. Each day she brought out her Bible to read Scriptures about salvation, trying to understand what they meant. Every time she did, she could feel evil. After a couple of weeks of this, she started to cry and yelled, “I can’t stand this!”
Janice had a Godly aunt who had been a great influence on her. She went to Aunt Ninnie and said, “I feel evil in my own house. What can I do?”
“Plead the blood—in every nook and cranny!” she replied.
“What does that mean?”
“The word plead is a legal term meaning to take legal action,” she said.
While turning to the book of Hebrews in her King James Version of the Bible, Aunt Ninnie said, “In the Old Testament, Moses sprinkled the blood of animals on the people and everything used in the tabernacle that were used for worship. In this way everything was cleansed. But today, we have Jesus. So, what we are going to do is take the blood that Jesus legally shed for the forgiveness of sin for all mankind, into every nook and crannie of your house. With our words, we are going to purge it, and cleanse it of all evil. There’s no telling what went on in your house before you bought it.”
She then read Hebrews 9:22, “. . . things . . . are purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission [of sin].”
Aunt Ninnie and Janice opened all the cabinets and every closet and said, “In the name of Jesus, we plead the blood in this closet; we plead the blood of Jesus in this cabinet; we plead the blood of Jesus in this nook, and in this crannie.”
By the time they had worked their way from the back to the front door, there was a great calmness Janice could feel. She cried. It had worked!
In this way, she gave her house to the Lord, and it was in that home that Janice and David both accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Before the journey, God told Abraham He would reveal to him upon which mountain to make the sacrifice. Verse 9 is past-tense, “When they reached the place God had told him about. . . .” Somehow, after reaching his destination in the land of Moriah, Abraham knew he was on the exact spot He should be, and this is where he experienced God as Jehovah-Jireh [The Lord’s Provision Will Be Seen].
Bible scholar Adam Clark says of the land of Moriah: “This is supposed to mean all the mountains of Jerusalem, comprehending Mount Gihon or Calvary . . . Mount Calvary is the highest ground to the west. . . it was upon this mount Abraham offered up Isaac, which is well known to be the same mount on which our blessed Lord was crucified. Beer-sheba, where Abraham dwelt, is about forty-two miles distant from Jerusalem”—approximately three days journey.
Abraham built an altar on Mount Calvary, where the sinless Lamb Jesus was later crucified. He arranged the wood on it, bound Isaac, and laid him on the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
Again, Abraham replied, “Here I am.”
“‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said, ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son’” (Gen. 22:11-12). Fear in this instance, defined by Webster’s, means “to have a reverential awe of.”
Abraham looked up, and to his great relief, saw in the thicket a ram caught by its horns. He grabbed his son and hugged him close to his heart before seizing the ram and sacrificing it in wondrous praise to Jehovah-Jireh, calling that place, The Lord Will Provide. The Hebrew word for looked is the very same root word as for provide, meaning that looking to God is the same as seeing the provision.
AFTER PROVISION: A SUMMONS
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time, and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”—Genesis 22:16-18
When the Teacher showed up after the test, He called to Abraham twice. The Hebrew word for called is qârâ, meaning “to invite; to call by name; to muster any army. The basic meaning of qârâ is the enunciation of a specific message. It is usually addressed to a specific recipient and intended to elicit a specific response. Rarely does it refer to a random outcry.”
Both times in this chapter, when God called Abraham by his name, he answered, “Here I am.” He was open, not hiding. He was willing, ready, making himself available to whatever God said to him or asked of him. His heart was committed to being obedient.
AFTER PROVISION: TWO MORE PROMISES
After Abraham passed the test, God repeated the same blessing to him with two additions: (1) your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and (2) through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed. God was telling them they would possess the land of their enemies and from one small nation, the whole world would be blessed—establishing Israel forever.
As Abraham’s spiritual offspring, we are those descendants who are called by name, individually and as an army, to possess the land of our enemies by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, with the promise that all nations will be blessed through us.
As students, what are we to learn from Abraham’s test?
The quicker we ask the question, “What am I to learn from this test?” the quicker we will see the end to it.
God delights in obedience more than anything we can sacrifice for Him.
True worship is allowing God to refine our character as we experience His divine nature.
Looking to God is the same as seeing the provision.
God is a jealous God. He means it when He says: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3)—the first of the Ten Commandments—given after the time of Abraham.
After the test, God repeated for the third time—a good teacher always repeats his most important lessons—your son, your only son (Gen. 22: 2, 12, 16).
Although God gave Ishmael a blessing, he wanted Abraham, and us, to know He recognizes nothing stemming from self effort. He recognizes only what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do.
Like the teacher, Jehovah-Jireh will show up after the test to let us know what He recognizes as truth. He will summon us by our specific name only when He sees His reflection in our eyes. He gives no shortcut. We have to go through the refiner’s fire to get to the other side where He desires to do His work through our refined lives.
The children of Israel could have gotten from Egypt to the Promised Land in an eleven day journey (see Deut. 1:2), but God would not allow it. He said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road . . .” (Exod. 13: 17-18). God knew they would need the lessons of the wilderness in order to be successful in the land when He would summon them by name to enter into His purpose. God has a divine purpose for us that only Jehovah-Jireh recognizes and will open our eyes to see, as He did for our forefather Abraham.
 Adam Clark, LL.D., F.S.A., &c., Clark’s Commentary Volume I-Genesis to Deuteronomy (Abington Press, New York, Nashville) p. 139.