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Choose Health and Blessings

by Tom Brown

            In Deuteronomy 30:19 the Lord speaks: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life."

            Choose life! He did not say, "Since I don't like you, I think I'm going to give you death and curses. But you, good looking person, I like you, so I'm going to give you blessings."

            You see, we often think that God makes the choices as to whether or not we get blessed. Many think, "Well, if God wants to bless me, He will just bless me. It's up to Him. I hope He blesses me, but it's up to the Lord. Because I'm so humble, I'll accept whatever God has for me." Wrong!

            God said, "I call heaven and earth as witness against you. I am making sure that every Angel in heaven records what I'm saying and that every demon in hell notes these words of Mine! I'm making sure everyone understands this one thing: That I have set before mankind, life, death, blessings and curses. And that it is up to each person to decide for himself what we wants--blessings or curses. I'm not choosing for him. He must decide for himself. And the life he gets a result of the choice he made. Period!"

            Just in case you're not smart enough to make the right choice, God exclaims, "Now choose life!"

            "Oh, but Lord, I'm so humble that I'm going to leave the decision with you. In fact I'm so very humble that I'm going to choose the curses to make me more humble." Now I'm exaggerating the way people think, but some come rather close to thinking this way.

            If God wanted me to be cursed, then He would not have told me to choose the blessings. He wants me to be blessed.

            You might say to me, "Well, bishop, what if I don't choose either blessings or curses?"

            Then you'll get the curses because the earth is under a curse.

            The same thing applies to salvation. You don't have to actually reject Christ to be lost; you simply need to do nothing. "Whoever does not believe," said Jesus, "stands condemned ALREADY" (John 3:18). The human race is already condemned. You must choose Christ to escape condemnation. Do nothing, and you "stand condemned." The Bible is clear in its teaching: Everyone is born in sin and born under the curse.

            Ezekiel saw a multitude in the "valley of decision." Maybe you're in that valley. What if you choose neither left nor right, Satan nor God? Instead, you just stay in the valley. Guess what happens? The valley gets flooded. That's what will happen to you if you don't make a decision.

            We all begin life in the valley. Don't stay there. Choose life,  choose Christ, and live!

Choose Healing

            Job 22:28 says, "What you decide on will be done and light will shine on your ways." The Amplified Bible puts it like this: "And the light [of God's favor] shall shine upon your ways." God's favor can be upon your future. But the thing that you must do is decide.

            Decide on a thing! Decide what you want! "Decide" means to determine and settle a question, controversy or struggle by giving victory to one side. There are so many questions and controversies that people struggle with in the Bible. You must decide to give victory to one side, especially concerning the Bible's teaching on healing and prosperity.

            People often say, "Well, that's just it, I don't know what I believe about healing and prosperity. I hear one charismatic preacher say one thing that gives me faith for healing and prosperity, then I hear a traditional preacher say something else that makes me doubt healing and prosperity. I'm just not sure what the truth is." Well, if you are undecided, then you are never going to get the victory.

            You have to make up your mind as to what you believe. You must make up your mind to believe the Bible, not tradition and not what others think. In order to make the right decisions and have strong faith for healing and prosperity you must be totally convinced that healing and prosperity are your covenant rights. You must have a strong Bible-based opinion on healing and prosperity.

            You might be wondering why I'm focusing on the two blessings of healing and prosperity. Because 3 John verse 2 says, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health" (KJV). The two greatest human needs are health and prosperity. The two most often causes of death are sickness and poverty. So it stands to reason that the Lord has provided victory for you over these two enemies. And He has!

            In this article, I'm going to focus on healing. A strong belief in healing will set you on the right path for it. Faith for healing will help predict your future health. Deciding to believe in healing will cause the light of God's favor to shine on your path for healing.

According to Your Faith

            So the deciding factor in the course of your future health is this: What do you believe about healing? The following shows the importance of being convinced of God's willingness to heal.

"The blind men came to Jesus and asked Him  to heal them. Jesus asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "according to your faith  will it be done to you" (Matthew 9:28-29).

            Jesus said that they would be healed "according to their faith." It is vitally important to have faith. Your faith releases God to work or your unbelief hinders God from working for you. In fact, Jesus refused to even pray for these men until He was convinced that their faith was present. The key to receiving your healing from God is to have faith!

            Jesus often said to those he healed, "Your faith has healed you."  I remember discussing divine healing with, Ophelia, a fellow employee who was taught in her church that Jesus does not heal today, and that people who lay hands on the sick are fakes.

            She said to me, "The trouble with you faith teachers is that you claim that people have to have faith if God is going to heal them, but Jesus healed anyone He wanted at anytime, with or without faith."

            I knew that she had not really read the Bible much and was just quoting her pastor. I answered, "That's not true. Don't you know that Matthew 13:58 says, `And Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.'?"

            Her eyes opened. "It doesn't say that, does it?" she asked. I nodded. She promised to go home and read that scripture herself.

            The next day, she walked quietly to me and said, "Tom, I read that scripture you quoted, and it does say that Jesus did not heal because the people lacked faith. I've changed my mind."

            I hope you are teachable like Ophelia. She learned that lack of faith can stop God's healing power. Well, if doubt could stop God's healing power, then faith releases God's healing power. So what you need is faith.

            Since faith comes from hearing God's Word (Romans 10:17) it is important that you understand what the Bible says about divine healing. It is important that you know what the Bible says about healing, not what men teach about it. Many men claim to preach the gospel, but they don't get gospel results.

            The following incident proves that people will have faith to be healed when the gospel is preached without compromise. "Where they [Paul and Barnabus] continued to preach the good news [the gospel]. In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking" (Acts 14:7-9).

            What was the man listening to? He was listening to Paul as he preached the "gospel."  "Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, 'Stand up on your feet!' At that, the man jumped up and began to walk" (v. 9, 10).

            Notice that the man had "faith to be healed." Where did he get the faith to be healed? He got it from Paul as he was preaching the gospel. Faith comes by hearing the gospel. Faith for healing comes by hearing the gospel of healing.

            It is obvious that Paul was not preaching a traditional, man-made, gospel message that says, "Sorry, God does not heal anymore," or "God does heal--sometimes--if He wants to, but you never know what God is going to do. He may use this sickness to chastise you. His ways our not our ways."

            This man would never have had "faith to be healed" hearing that kind of religious junk. Yet this is exactly what most people hear about healing. No wonder why they don't see the kind of miracles that they see in the Bible--too much traditional teaching and not Bible teaching.

Three Great Truths about Healing

            No one can talk me out of having "faith to be healed." The reason is simple: God taught me three great truths in the Bible concerning divine healing. These are simple truths. They are easy to understand. These are irrefutable truths that no one has yet been able to argue against. These truths have kept me strong in faith so that I have been walking in almost perfect health since I've learned these wonderful truths. I have communicated these truths to hundreds of people and have seen tremendous results. The three truths are:

            1. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him in faith. He never refused to heal anyone. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. He never refuses to heal anyone who comes to Him in faith today.

            2. Jesus paid for your healing. He bore your sicknesses and diseases on the cross. Since He bore them, you don't have to.

            3. Sickness is of the devil. Satan is the author of sickness and disease. You have authority over the devil and can rebuke him and cast him out of your life.

Let's look at these three truths closely.

Jesus Still Heals All

            It is clear from the Bible that Jesus healed--and healed often. Jesus main ministry consisted of three things: "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people" (Matthew 4:23).

            1. He taught.

            2. He preached.

            3. He healed.

            Healing was not a side issue with Christ; it was one of the main issues with Him.

            What about today? Does Jesus still heal? Listen to Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Jesus still heals. He has not stopped healing. Don't be surprised that Jesus still heals.

            A few years ago I conducted a miracle rally in my home town of El Paso, Texas. During my message, I felt a tingling sensation come into my right hand. As in times past, I knew this was the power of God coming into me for someone's healing. So I asked people on my right side if they had felt any power coming into them. A young woman named Cynthia Stewart raised her hand and affirmed that she was feeling the power of God.

            Weeks before, Cynthia had been in a car accident that left her crippled. Doctors doubted that she would ever walk normally again. She was injured so badly that she could not walk without crutches, and even with the crutches it was difficult. When I saw her raise her hand the terrible thought came to me, Oh, no! What if she doesn't get healed? Then a wonderful thought replaced the ugly one, Jesus can do anything--even make this crippled girl walk!

            So I called her to come forward. To everyone's amazement and joy, she arose completely healed. She began to walk in full view of all the people. She walked without a limp.

            Our church was so excited about this miracle that we featured it on television. When we did, I received a threat from an anonymous caller: "I am a lawyer representing a religious group and I wanted to let you know that we are going to expose you as a fraud!"

            I asked who he was and which church he was representing. He refused to tell me. So I said, "Sir, I'm not the healer, Jesus is. So I guess you don't believe in Jesus or the Bible."

            He said, "I sure do."

            "Then why are you so upset because Jesus did such a great miracle? The Bible tells us He did many miracles. It also shows that He continued to do miracles through the apostles and through other disciples."

            "Yea, I believe He did that back then. But He can't do that anymore!"

            I simply laughed. "Sir, if you want to try to expose me, then you are very welcome to try. The first thing you'll need to do is meet the woman who was healed." Do you know what? That man refused to meet her or me. I think he was afraid to find out the truth--that Jesus still heals!

            Someone might say, "Yea, I believe Jesus still heals, but He doesn't want to heal everyone." Well, then listen to the word of God.

            "Many followed [Jesus], and he healed all their sick" (Matthew 12:15, bold added).

            "[Jesus] drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick" (Matthew 8:16, bold added).

            "And the people all tried to touch [Jesus], because power was coming from him and healing them all" (Luke 6:19, bold added). 

            How many sick people did Jesus heal? "All"! Not some or most, but all! It is God's will to heal every believer. Nowhere do we find in the scriptures that Jesus refused to heal anyone who came to Him in faith. He healed everyone who believed--without exception!

            Someone might object by saying, "Jesus was the only one who was able to heal all. None of the apostles were able to do that." This is not true. Look at the following incident in Peter's life:

             "People brought the sick into the streets and  laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's  shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed" (Acts 5:15-16, bold added).

            So you see that healing was possible for all after Christ ascended to God's right hand. This story of Peter healing all clearly demonstrates the possibility that everyone can be healed too. The reason for the apparent failure in the Church today has nothing to do with a lack of God's willingness to heal, but rather the Church's unbelief regarding divine healing.

            On one occasion, the disciple's failed to heal a boy with epilepsy. So Christ healed the boy. Afterwards, the disciples asked the Lord why they were not able to drive out the spirit of infirmity from the child. Notice Christ' answer.

            He did not say, "My friends, healing is not possible with everyone. Sometimes God wishes for people to remain sick in order for them to be purified through their sicknesses." Yet this is the common answer given to why the sick do not get well.

            Jesus answered, "Because you have so little faith" (Matthew 17:20.) You see, Jesus knew that God's will was for all to be healed. Jesus never accepted defeat. He never resigned himself to the belief that certain people should stay sick. No, He looked to heal them all.

Healing Paid For

            Not only did Jesus heal everyone while He was on earth, but to ensure our healing for today, He paid for it: "Surely [Jesus] took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4).

            There you have it: Jesus took up your infirmities, sicknesses and diseases. Since He took them, you don't have to have them. This scripture should once-and-for-all settle the issue of divine healing. But some people are simply stubborn; they want to argue with God and fight for the right to keep their sicknesses.

            Some people try to find reasons why this scripture does not mean what it says. People seem to fight for the right to be sick. One preacher told me, "This scripture is speaking about spiritual healing not physical healing."

            I answered, "I don't see the word `spiritual' in this verse. You are adding to the Bible."

            "But it is understood to mean that because of the context," he continued to argue.

            I suggested, "Let Matthew tell you what God meant in Isaiah." He agreed to read Matthew. "When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to [Jesus], and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases" (Matthew 8:16-17).

            I explained, "It is clear from Matthew that he interpreted the words from Isaiah to mean physical healing, since he quoted it in reference to the healing ministry of Christ."

            He paused for a moment, then reluctantly conceded the point.

Sickness is of the Devil

            Another good reason for you to have faith for healing is this: Sickness is of the devil. And whatever is of the devil, you don't want anything to do with it.

            Many people are taught that God makes people sick. One man who was taught that was John G. Lake. He was told to accept the fact that his wife was going to die. People told him that the Lord made her sick for a reason, even though they didn't know why.

            In the midst of this turmoil, Lake picked up his Bible from the mantel piece and tossed it on the table. His eyes fell on the  scripture in Acts 10:38: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good  and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him"

            Like a flash of lightening these words broke through to his heart: God was not the author of sickness and disease. Satan was the oppressor!

            With this new-found truth, he laid hands on his wife and rebuked the devil with all the boldness he had. The power of God flowed through his wife, and then she cried out, "Praise God, I'm healed!"

            Lake learned what Jesus clearly understood. Jesus knew who the author of sickness and disease was. After healing a woman who was crippled by a spirit, Jesus said, "Should not his woman, a daughter of Abraham, who Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free?" (Luke 13:16).

            Jesus declared that Satan had bound this woman, not God. This is why Jesus was so bold in His dealing with the sick. He always saw Satan behind sickness.

            From these scriptures and many others, you can see that sickness is not caused by God but by Satan. God tells us, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). You do not have to put up with anything that comes from the devil, and that includes sickness.

            I remember sitting down with a lady who was in a wheelchair. I was asked by a brother in the Lord to speak to her about God's healing power and, maybe, pray for her. So I agreed.

            Before I could get started, she said, "Don't bother to tell me that God can heal me because God was the One who crippled me."

            Surprised at such a remark, I asked her, "Do you believe in the Bible?"

            She nodded, "Of course I do!"

            Then I told her, "Madam, I'm not going to tell you anything, but I do ask that you read this scripture and then tell me what it means to you."

            I let her read the scripture in Acts 10:38 about Jesus healing all who were oppressed of the devil. When she read that part, she threw the Bible across the table at me and yelled, "So you think I'm demon possessed, don't you!?"

            I never made a single comment on this verse, but she understood what it meant. She understood that this scripture clearly shows that the devil is the cause of the physical misery in this world. The only thing she misunderstood was that this scripture was not saying that anyone who is sick is demon-possessed. It says that Satan is like a thief trying to steal health and healing from us.

            I don't blame people for being sick, just like I don't blame people for getting robbed. I never thought that this lady was demon-possessed. I simply knew who was the thief, and I tried to show her that God was not the thief, but that the devil was. Unfortunately, because of her firmly held tradition, I was not able to help her. Her problem was that she believed wrong.

            You hear people say, "It doesn't matter what you believe so long as you believe something!" Wrong! If you believe the wrong thing, you are going to receive the wrong thing.

            So what do you believe?

            If you believe that Jesus still heals and that He wants you well...

            If you believe that He paid the price for your healing...

            If you believe that sickness is of the devil, and that you have authority over him...

            Then you have begun to journey into divine health.

 

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