Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Strategic Healing: Taking Authority over Sickness

Strategic Healing
Strategic Healing
Many people use medical and other natural means to combat the same sicknesses which Jesus overcame with supernatural authority and power. He dealt with the roots of sickness and got immediate results. The devil made people sick, but Jesus anointed by the Spirit healed them (Acts 10:38). Fighting sickness is a spiritual battle against spiritual forces. “We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ERV). Believers have been given authority and power to heal the sick. The objective of this study is to help believers overcome sickness by understanding the basis for divine healing.

Introducing Divine Healing

There is no lack of healing, but there is a lack of understanding divine healing. If people are sick, they lack knowledge about God’s divine healing. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

God’s will is his purpose. Everything he does is consistent with his purpose. He is effectively at work in his children to energize and create in them the longing and the ability to fulfill purpose (Philippians 2:13 AMP). The will of God should not be considered a mystery beyond the understanding of his people. His will is revealed by his nature, his name, his word and his covenants. His will is also revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who is an exact expression of God his Father. Healing was provided by the finished work of the cross on which Jesus was crucified (1 Peter 2:24). Believers can know God’s will. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is” (Romans 12:2). This post is aimed at those who are seeking knowledge about supernatural healing. Healing is shown to be an integral part of God’s will for his people.

Healing is in God’s will because it helps people fulfill purpose. If his people are sick or die early, they may not be able to do the things God has purposed for them to do. Since healing exists in the will of God, it is always available for believers. God uses signs and wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit to show his will to save, heal and deliver. “God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:4).

Knowing God’s will is critical. Many people pray for God to heal the sick if it is his will, but this prayer is filled with doubt and unbelief; because they do not find out God’s will. Prayers that get results are those which agree with his will. “If we ask anything according to his will he hears us, and ... we know that we have the requests which we have asked from him” (1 John 5:14-15). Pray according to God’s will and get results.

God’s Nature

God is love and he is full of compassion. His will reflects his love-nature. Love motivates him to heal. “I will heal ... and love them freely” (Hosea 14:4 NIV). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Love motivated God to rescue those who were perishing. He does not want any to perish, whether it is by sin or sickness.

God’s Name

God has many names which relate to healing, including provider and be complete and sound. His name Jehovah Rapha means the Lord who heals you. When the Israelites began their journey through the wilderness, he addressed sicknesses and diseases by revealing himself as the healer or physician, Jehovah Rapha: “I, the Lord, am your healer” (Exodus 15:22-26). He wants to protect his people from sicknesses and diseases. Throughout the word of God he is shown as the healer. “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you healed me” (Psalm 30:2). “For I will restore you to health, and I will heal you of your wounds, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 30:17).

God’s Word

God’s will is revealed by his word. His will and his word are one and the same. His words are spirit and they will bring life, healing and deliverance. The word of God is healing to the whole person. “He sent his word and healed them” (Psalm 107:20). God’s words “are life to those who find them and health to all their body” (Proverbs 4:22). People who are searching for healing often encounter false doctrines and unprofitable opinions by others, but only the truth revealed in God’s word can heal and set free.

God’s Covenants

Healing has been a part of every covenant which God has made with man, and it is a prominent part of the New Covenant. God obligates himself to his covenant. In the covenant with Abraham, God promised to bless Abraham and through him to bless all the people on the earth (Genesis 12:1-3). These blessings include healing (Exodus 15:26). While healing is under the blessings for obedience, all sicknesses and diseases are under the curse for disobedience (Deuteronomy 28). There are no sicknesses and diseases in the blessings. David praised the Lord for his healing covenant: “Praise the Lord ... who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:2-3).

Healing flows out of the covenant promises. When people have a covenant with God, their faith is able to receive the promises whenever needed. He is willing to meet healing needs for he is the healer. “My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). These promises denote a continual flow of healing power in contrast to the occasional gifts of healing which could come unexpectedly at any time. The provisions of the covenant are available to all covenant partners. You can live in and by God’s healing covenant.

Jesus Heals All

Throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus healed the sick. In fact, Jesus never turned away a sick person who asked him for healing. The book of Acts reported that Jesus healed all who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). The devil made people sick, but Jesus healed them all. The same thing is happening today: the devil makes people sick, but Jesus stands ready to heal all who are sick. In fact, he made provision to heal all of us. By his stripes we were healed (1 Peter 2:24).

No sickness was too difficult for Jesus to heal. He healed every kind of sickness and every kind of disease (Matthew 4:23). The people in Syria brought to Jesus all who were sick, and he healed them (Matthew 4:24). Many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus, and he cast out the spirits with his word and healed all who were sick (Matthew 8:16). Thus Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, “He himself took our infirmities and removed our sicknesses” (Isaiah 53:4 and Matthew 8:17). Many followed Jesus, and he healed them all (Matthew 12:15).

No person was too far gone for Jesus. He even brought people back alive from the dead and healed them. Three of the people he brought back to life were Lazarus (John 11:43-44), the dead son of a widow at Nain (Luke 7:14-15) and the dead daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:41-42). He raised them from the dead and healed them.

Just as Jesus healed all when he walked on the earth 2000 years ago, he stands ready to heal all today, because he has not changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). More importantly, Jesus stands ready to heal you, because he heals all and he shows no partiality or favoritism (Romans 2:11 and Acts 10:34). If he ever healed anyone, he will heal you. He heals others so he will heal you.

God hears and answers prayers that ask anything according to his will (1 John 5:14-15). Whatever sickness you may face, Jesus made provision for your healing and stands ready to heal you. Jesus said, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Just believe and ask Jesus for your healing, and you will be healed!

As Sherry and I prayed for a man who was suffering from cancer, I learned an important lesson from the Holy Spirit. Sickness does not teach God’s people about the things of God. Sickness comes from the devil to steal, kill and destroy. While we visited with the man, he spoke words of faith. But before we left, he made a startling statement of doubt and unbelief. He said, “I do not know what God is trying to teach me through this cancer.” God does not use sickness to teach his children. His master teacher is the Spirit. Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things” (John 14:26). The Father also uses his word and other believers, particularly the ministry gifts, to teach his children. He does not bring evil upon his children in order to accomplish good in their lives. He is a good God who gives good things to his children.

Believers’ Authority over Sickness

Jesus came to fully restore authority on the earth to God’s people. After the resurrection he declared, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). “Christ is ruler over every other power and authority” (Colossians 2:10 ERV). He has delegated his authority over the earth to the body of Christ, which encompasses the people of God living under the headship of Jesus Christ. This discussion will help believers rule with authority in this life.

The Spirit takes what belongs to Jesus and discloses it to believers (John 16:15). He teaches believers the truth about authority and shows them how to walk in authority. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and quick to obey will give believers the authority they need to operate on the earth.

Believers can do the same works that Jesus did only when they have the same authority and power he had. Jesus said, “He who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). Jesus sends out believers today with the same authority and power which he walked in when he ministered on the earth. “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21). The authority of Jesus Christ is offered to every believer, but it takes wisdom to know how to walk in his authority.

Believers’ authority proceeds out of the Father’s will. Their authority reaches into the supernatural realm, bringing the will of the Father to earth. “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Healing is an integral part of God’s will, and it is available in the supernatural realm to those who believe.

Sherry and I were active in local congregations where people were saved, but other operations of the Spirit were practically nonexistent. Those congregations prayed for God to heal sick people if it was his will without ever bothering to find out his will. These so-called prayers were filled with doubt and unbelief, so most of those people died without being healed. When our family needed healing, the Spirit led us to a place where the gifts of the Spirit operated and healings and miracles occurred. There we were taught about the operation of the Spirit. We were not able to operate in much authority until we found our ordained place in the body of Christ, having relationships with apostles and prophets. As our personal relationships with apostles and prophets grew stronger so did our authority.

Believers who truly live under the headship of Jesus Christ and walk in his authority will pray. Their prayers release heaven’s power on the earth. Intercession is the manifestation of Jesus being head over his body. Jesus ever lives to intercede (Hebrews 7:25). Intercession, which comes straight out of the love of God, pours out his love on the earth.

When the leaders of the religious system came against healing and threatened Peter and John, the disciples came together and prayed (Acts 4:18-31). Their prayer recognized God as the creator of the universe, acknowledging his authority over both heaven and earth. Knowing the real battle is against the authority of the Lord and his anointed one, Jesus Christ, the disciples asked to be put into this battle. “Grant that your bond-servants may speak your word with all confidence, while you extend your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30). Boldly sharing the good news about Jesus clearly separates his disciples from the rest of the world who rejects him. The prayer was pleasing to the Lord because he granted their request and shook the building where they were gathered.

Sherry and I have learned to be vessels for the Lord’s use in intercession. The spirit of intercession often flows through us to bring forth God’s purposes on the earth. I once interceded for a woman whom I had not heard from for several months. As I was interceding, she was battling for her life in another state. She died and began traveling through a tunnel with a light at the end of it. Before she reached the end of the tunnel the Lord told her to return to the earth for her purpose here had not ended. Then the spirit of intercession lifted from me, and I knew in my spirit she had the victory. Later her husband confirmed she died that night but was revived. She continued to preach the gospel and heal the sick.

Taking Authority over Sickness

When Jesus was surrounded by sick and hurting people, he said: “the blind receive sight and the lame walk” (Matthew 11:5). He was speaking words of faith over the sick. By faith he only sees people healed and redeemed. His eyes “are too pure to look on evil” (Habakkuk 1:13, NIV).

The Spirit gives believers new eyes to see what Jesus sees. “Open the eyes of their hearts” (Ephesians 1:18 VOICE). Like Jesus, believers can see the people made whole through the eyes of the Spirit. See your own spirit, soul and body made whole, and it will help you see others made whole. By believing what Jesus did on the cross you will see the sick healed, and they will be healed.

It takes faith operating through believers for them to see the blind, deaf, lame and others made whole. By relying on what is seen through the eyes of the Spirit rather than natural sight, believers will be able to operate in the supernatural realm with power and authority. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Believers have the ability to make people whole when they see and believe that they are made whole. Jesus said believers will do the works that he did and greater works (John 14:12). If you believe, you will see people made whole.

Healing is in every believer just waiting to be activated. Faith releases that healing power in the person. There are eight important approaches to healing, so it is critical to know from the Spirit which approach to use for an individual. Using just one approach for every person will not work. An effective strategy for healing any person comes only from asking the Spirit for guidance.

1. Calling on the Name of Jesus over the Sick

Faith in the name of Jesus heals people. Jesus said, “If you ask the Father for anything in my name, he will give it to you (John 16:23). Peter told a lame man “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). He told a man who was paralyzed “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed” (Acts 9:34). Both of these men were healed immediately by using the name of Jesus.

2. Speaking Faith over the Sick

Speaking words of faith to sickness will make it leave a person. If you believe without any doubt in your heart, you can speak faith and have whatever you say (Mark 11:23). Sometimes we send the word of faith to heal those who are not present with us. We may know by a telephone call or by the Spirit someone needs healing, so we speak healing to them. Many have been healed by speaking the word of faith over them.

3. Praying for the Sick

The prayer of faith releases God’s power and heals the sick. “The prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:15). We are prayer warriors, so we frequently pray for the sick, and have received many reports of healing from these prayers. The spirit of intercession may come upon us to pray for the healing of others. We intercede until we know the victory has come. Often the victory comes in an hour or so; but when we are responding to the spirit of intercession, we always experience victory in the supernatural realm.

4. Laying Hands on the Sick

Near Bethsaida, Jesus twice laid his hands on the eyes of a blind man and his sight was restored (Mark 8:22-26). Believers “will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:18). We lay hands on the sick only when the Spirit guides to do so. It would be inappropriate to lay our hands on someone who first needs deliverance from a demon. We have seen many people healed by our laying hands on them. Sherry and I lay hands on ourselves and on each other when we need healing. Everyone needs people of faith around them who can lay hands on them when they need healing.

5. Anointing the Sick

Anoint the sick with oil and they will be healed. The disciples cast out demons and anointed the sick with oil and healed them (Mark 6:13). Those who are sick are to call for the elders who will pray over them and anoint them with oil to be healed (James 5:14-15). The anointing oil is a point of contact that helps people release their faith to be healed.

Cloths can be anointed as a store of healing power. Then the cloths can be used when needed or sent to the sick for deliverance and healing. When handkerchiefs and aprons anointed by Paul were placed on sick people, the diseases and evil spirits left them (Acts 19:11-12). We have given anointed handkerchiefs to sick people in many countries and have received glorious reports of God’s healing power.

6. Giving Spiritual Gifts to the Sick

Gifts of the Spirit are manifested for people to help each other. Paul identifies nine gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). Any of these gifts can be used in healing, but the power gifts of faith, healing and miracles are most prominent in healing. Sherry operates in all three of these power gifts, and we have seen many people healed through this ministry.

The gift of knowledge is often given to help people understand how the gifts are flowing at a particular time. For example, the Spirit may reveal that the Lord is healing backs or legs. Whoever responds to this word of knowledge can receive their healing. The word of wisdom may give people understanding and direction for being healed. Discerning of spirits operates to show when demons need to be cast out in order for someone to be healed.

7. Casting Demons out of the Sick

Some people need deliverance from demonic forces in order to be healed. A person controlled by demons will have no faith to be healed on his/her own, so approaches other than just faith may be needed. The gift of discerning of spirits is often manifested before we know a person needs to be delivered from evil spirits in order to be healed.

Sherry prayed for a woman on her death bed and saw two large reptile-like demons which were trying to kill her. She cast the demons out, and the woman was healed. The next thing we heard about the woman was she back in church serving the Lord and teaching his word.

8. Increasing Faith of the Sick

With faith anyone can be healed. “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). Jesus told several of the people who were healed that their faith healed them. The woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years was healed by her faith (Mark 5:34), and blind Bartimaeus received sight by his faith (Mark 10:52).

When Sherry and I first began seeking the kingdom, we had no basis for faith in healing. We studied God’s word on healing and surrounded ourselves with people who believed in healing. We immersed ourselves in teachings about healing. Our faith in the area of healing began to grow. Faith comes by hearing the word about Christ (Romans 10:17). It took a period of several months for our faith in healing to become strong. Then we began to pray for people to be healed, and the Lord healed them. You can be healed by strengthening your faith in the area of healing.

Selecting the Best Healing Method

Physicians generally agree on one method to deal with a particular sickness, but God uses many different methods in healing the sick. Only his Spirit knows which method will work for a particular sick person. Naaman dipped himself in the Jordan River seven times to be healed from leprosy. Jesus spat on the ground to make mud out of the clay and anointed a blind man’s eyes so he could see. Spitting on the leper would not heal him, and dipping the blind man in the Jordan River would not restore his sight. Inquire of the Lord to find out the strategic healing method for it will always work. Nothing else will work.

Implications for Spiritual Leaders

Be prepared to help, counsel and encourage those who are sick for they will look to their leaders for answers. Spiritual leaders need strong faith for healing to rise to every occasion. Do not wait until it is too late, because now is the time to build your faith. Connect with those believers who have strong faith for healing. Build your faith for healing by studying God’s word, seeking the Healer, Jesus, and following the Spirit.

Only the Spirit knows how to overcome the evil spiritual forces behind sickness. Be strategic in approaching healing by following the Spirit. Do not rely on what has worked in the past, but approach every sickness as unique, so that you can bring strategic healing to bear on the situation. Healing is always possible so never give up on anyone.

Personal Story on Divine Healing

After returning from a ministry trip in 2004, Sherry collapsed as she was exercising. The blood flow to her heart was only 20 percent. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and put on medication to improve the blood flow, but the doctor knew it would take time for her heart to improve. However, a few weeks later the Spirit began to sing a song of deliverance over her. He sang about the strength of her heart. She looked up the scripture containing that phrase and found this verse, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). She knew God had healed her heart, so she asked the doctor for another heart test. He argued with her, because the medicine had not had enough time to improve her condition. When Sherry continued to insist on another test, the doctor relented. This time the heart test showed her blood flow was higher and within a range considered to be normal. Her heart was healed, and the healing occurred much quicker than the doctor thought possible. One touch from the Lord is all it takes for healing to be manifested in our bodies.

Conclusions

It’s always God’s will to heal. Healing is consistent with God’s nature, his name and his word. He obligated himself to healing through his covenants. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ extended covenant healing to all those who believe. The New Covenant gives believers authority over sickness and the power to heal the sick.

There are a variety of approaches to healing, ranging from laying hands on the sick to casting demons out of the sick. The strategic approach to healing, which comes from inquiring of the Lord and following his Spirit, will always be effective. The Spirit searches the heart of the all-knowing God to find healing for each and every sickness. By following the guidance of the Spirit, believers apply strategic healing to the sick and see them healed.


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