“The cynics, they can only speak of the dark, of the obvious, and this is not hard. For all it’s supposed sophistication, it’s cynicism that’s simplistic. In a fallen world, how profound is to see the cracks?
The sages and prophets, the disciples and revolutionaries, they are the ones up on the ramparts, up on the wall pointing to the dawn of the new Kingdom coming, pointing to the light that breaks through all things broken, pointing to redemption always rising and to the Blazing God who never sleeps.“
– Ann Voskamp
I just got home from Rite Aid, ten minutes ago. As I was getting into my car in the parking lot I noticed an elderly man trying to get out of his car. He was struggling to lift himself out of the driver seat. “Excuse me, do you need help?” I asked. “Oh, no, I’m okay, just having a harder time than usual,” he answered. “Oh, do you have back trouble?” I asked. “No, it’s actually a neurological and muscular disease. It usually doesn’t bother me this much, but, you know, there are just times when I get stuck in a position.” “Mmmm… well I’ve seen people healed of diseases when I pray for them. I prayed for a woman with arthritis in her hands two days ago and the pain left her hands. If you want I can pray for you.” “Oh, well, if God wants to heal me, He’ll heal me.” he replied, “mmmm….. but if you want to, I guess anything might help.” At this point he was standing so I said, “okay, so can I pray for you now?” “Well, I’ve got to go inside and pick up my medication right now,” he said. “Could you wait just a minute so I can pray for you here?” I asked. “Um, yes, yes, okay.” “Can I touch your shoulder?” “Yes, sure.” And there we stood and he inserted, “You know there are people all over the world a lot worse off than me. You should pray for them more than me.” “Well, I’m happy to pray for anybody, but God is really really in love with you and He wants to heal you.” I explained. And then I commanded the pain and the disease to leave. He said he didn’t feel differently, but he was encouraged, “and well, you never know” he tacked on — causing my own mental images of him instantly healed in line in Rite Aid or in front of the tv tonight. haha. Then he thanked me intently, “What you just did is great. thank you.” And he smiled and went on his way.
I got in my car. I felt victorious. And I felt indignant.
Why did I feel indignant?
I felt indignant because of the man’s miscontrued beliefs. He said, “If God wants to heal me, He’ll heal me” and he said, “You know there are people all over the world a lot worse off than me. You should pray for them more than me.” I was upset with holy indignation. THIS SHOULD NOT BE. THIS VIEW IS WRONG WRONG WRONG. It’s a lie. And it doesn’t do Jesus any favors.
Jesus told US to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” That’s in Matthew 10:8. Many other times Jesus gave similar COMMANDS. Luke 9:1-2 reads, “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
These are COMMANDS. NO WHERE does Jesus say to let depression fill your head and just wait for a sovereign healing from God. He gave us AUTHORITY to do what He did. This is part of what His death and resurrection PAID for. For us to ignore this command and keep this gift stuffed in our closets is horrible, lazy, and it’s just really really FAR from the abundant life Jesus bought for us.
God wants us living victoriously. Even the idea that “Oh, so many people are worse off than me so, I’ll just suffer through this disease/discouragement/injustice” is contrary to the power of the cross. WHAT?!? It doesn’t help anyone for you or anybody else to be less than what you are supposed to be. You believe you have a purpose and a destiny, yes? Well, wouldn’t you be better able to fulfill it and be joyful while fulfilling it if you were walking in health, joy, and abundance? And wouldn’t that reflect the beauty of God more?
And the idea that healing isn’t for today is a lie. And the idea that only certain believers are able to heal people is a lie too. Every single believer in Jesus already has the power to heal, but you know what… if you don’t pray for sick people, you won’t heal them. It’s pretty simple.
AND if you are praying, “Oh God, if it’s your will, please heal this person” prayers, that’s pretty half-hearted and probably hasn’t led to many astounding results. WHY? Because that’s not the model Jesus gave us. He commanded people to be healed. He said, “You are healed.” He just did it. He knew God wanted to heal every single person and he acted in line with that belief.
T.L. Osborne, who led a movement which sent over 30,000 missionaries and established over 150,000 churches around the world said,
“Never ask God to do what He has already said he has already done,
Never ask God to do what he has already told you to do.”
Some of you are reading this and thinking, “Well, yeah, but it’s not that easy.” Yeah, maybe it’s not that easy, at least at first, but is it easy to live under the grey clouds of powerlessness, struggle, and anxiety you are often stuck beneath? Moreover, it gets easier and easier. And as you expect it to be easy, it will be easy. Your faith really will move mountains.
Some of you are thinking, “Well, okay, but how do I get there? How do I get to this confidence you have, Dawn?” To that, I’ll say, “Well, yeah, I haven’t alway been this confident in the area of healing. It has been a journey, but it’s easier than you think. Mostly, it comes down to JUST DOING IT.” Stop talking about it, theologizing about it, and trying to understand how it works, and JUST DO IT. Just find someone and heal them. And then you think, “Well, what if the first person doesn’t get healed?” Firstly, EXPECT THEM TO. Secondly, so what if they aren’t? You might feel embarrassed or awkward for five minutes, but SO WHAT? Thirdly, if you pray for nine people and none of them get healed at that moment, but the tenth person does, HOORAY for the tenth person! They’ll be glad you didn’t stop at number nine. haha. You’ll be really encouraged when number ten is healed and you’ll realize the power of Jesus really really really is WITHIN you. “Oh my goodness! All the things Jesus said were TRUE! Healing is literally healing! It’s not a metaphor! And it’s not just an antiquated picture of spiritual and emotional healing! Jesus meant for us to PHYSICALLY HEAL PEOPLE!!!!! This is awesome!!!”
Okay, a bit more of my own journey. Starting when I was sixteen I usually spent at least an hour daily praying for the Middle East – God would show me specific people and places and I would declare the heart of God to those people. As I got closer and closer to God’s heart for people, I became overwhelmed with compassion. By the time I was twenty I would see people out and about town and I would know automatically what was going on in their lives and in their bodies. When I was twenty-one and living in Southern California, I told God, “You know, You are showing me all these things about people, I should be doing something about it. I should probably go up to them and pray for them. So, if you want me to go up to people, help me do that.” Hahahaha! That was one of those “you don’t know what you are getting yourself into” prayers. Immediately, I was approaching people. I remember one day I was in line somewhere and I knew a woman standing by the wall had stomach problems and some relational struggles. I went over to her and asked if those things were accurate. She began to cry. “Yes,” she said. I asked if I could pray for her and encouraged her that God is aware of her life and loves her very much. She was really touched. I actually don’t remember if I prayed for her there, but I do remember her name was Sandy. And I know she could feel the love of God in a fresh, powerful, accepting way.
Anyhow, that’s probably when approaching strangers for prayer began to be normative for me. I didn’t have any human example of that. I didn’t know anything about “words of knowledge” and I had never heard a teaching about praying for people in public places OR about healing people. I just talked to God a lot, felt His heart for people, and my love for Him provoked me to believe Him and act on that belief.
That grew, and then I got too emotionally involved in the troubles I was seeing in people. If they felt sad, I felt sad. If they were wounded, I felt their pain – not merely compassion, but I got bogged down by others’ negative emotions until I had little joy to give. I told God I felt like it was too much. And it stopped – for a couple years. I was horrified, and brokenheartedly repentant. “I’m sorry, God! I never want to shut down the Holy Spirit’s flow in my life! Help me! I want to love people as You love them!” I lacked the maturity to feel compassion and not sympathy, and unfortunately I stopped praying for strangers for a while.
Eventually, the insight and compassion returned. And I learned how to harness my emotions, to give strength to others, without getting pulled into their own gloom. It was glorious!
It was a few years ago, living in Bethlehem, Israel that I really constantly started stepping out and healing people. I approached people on the streets, those with crutches, the mute man who sells gum, people in wheelchairs, and people started bringing the sick to me or asking me to go pray for their loved ones. Many, many people were healed. And many of those I healed, went on to heal other people. And they are still healing people. It’s a revolution. In the midst of that I became familiar with Bethel Church in Redding, CA (where I am presently in ministry school). In 2006 a friend loaned me two books by Bill Johnson. Then I started listening to the free podcasts on line. During our first year in Israel two teams from Bethel did ministry in Israel. And we became friends with them.
They demonstrated to me that it was truly a movement- that God was raising up a global family to walk in the things Jesus walked in. I wasn’t alone. I had found my tribe. Since childhood I dreamed of a community of believers like that existing. In high school I read “Azusa Street” which is about the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in the early 1900’s, and I was forever ruined. I would lay on my floor and weep, declaring and committing to God that I would be a part of a movement infinitely greater than that! I felt that if I did not see heaven on earth in power, if I did not see miracles become common, I would die. I craved revival: city-wide, state-wide, nation-wide, universe-wide REVIVAL. The world over fully alive and walking in the GLORY of God continuously – signs and wonders of all kinds. And so, in knowing the people from Bethel Church, I was immensely encouraged by them. And I was mightily blessed by the breakthrough they brought to Israel. We were seeing breakthrough, but to have teams come and really BLAZE for a week or two was absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!! It felt like the world’s largest gift. haha. In the years that followed, they came to Bethlehem as well and we saw the churches begin to understand more clearly that they too could heal – in fact, they were meant to! It was a time of deep sighing, no longer feeling like it was just a few of us revving up our engines and ramming holes in walls, but there was a momentum. Transformation was happening.
Victory was becoming more palpable. And that’s one of the most enigmatic things about victory in Jesus – it’s always present, we just need to INCREASE OUR AWARENESS OF IT! Become mindful of how victorious you are, in every moment. Welcome Holy Spirit to show you victory, and you will see it more than you’ve ever imagined.
About a year and a half ago I stayed at a friend’s house in America. When I met her sister I felt like God said, “There’s something I want you to pray for her for before you leave.” Well, I forgot about that until about a week later when my friend said, “Hey, I feel like you should pray for my sister before you go.” “Oh my goodness! Yeah, I felt God prompt me to that when I met her, but I forgot. What’s wrong with your sister?” “Well, she and her husband have been trying to have kids for five years, but haven’t been able to and the doctors don’t know what the problem is.” “I’d love to pray for that! Let’s do it!” I exclaimed. She privately asked her sister if that would be okay and her sister agreed. Amazingly, even though this family follows Jesus, no one ever laid hands on her and prayed for her about this. People prayed, but never laid hands on her and commanded healing!!! In five years!!! Well, we laid hands on her and commanded healing.
Five weeks later she was pregnant!!!!!! The baby was born last December. And I was one of the first people they told about the pregnancy and the birth because they knew she was healed in that prayer time. hahahahahahahaha! Beautiful! Glorious!!!!!!!! And just like God!
Those are the things God wants to do, but He wants us to carry them out. That’s why Jesus had disciples. That’s why Jesus commissioned them and US as recorded in the last verses of Mark,
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
This is the joyful, wonderful, adventure God has put together for us!!!! It’s fantastic!
And another thing, some of you are thinking, “Well, what if I just don’t feel like it? what if I’m having a bad day?” Let me say two things, God likes it when we do things He wants us doing even when we don’t feel like it. That’s the discipline of rejoicing and having HEAVEN’S perspective and not earth’s. The more you line your thinking up with heaven, the more naturally you will think and live like heaven. ALSO, we are not supposed to be controlled by our emotions. I stopped believing in “bad days” about two years ago and I haven’t had a bad day since then. hahaHA! I expect every day to be awesome. I am going from strength to strength and glory to glory, every single day. Every day is better than the one before, because His glory is expanding in my life. Paul said, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18)
That’s a promise. That’s the set-up: increasing in glory, in joy, in strength, in victory, and in abundance in every single area of our lives. That said, the kingdom of God works on faith. If you have faith for increasingly glory, you’ll see it. If you have faith for sorrow-to-sorrow, you’ll probably see that. God wants us to get rid of our mediocre expectations and expect GREAT things!
Your family, your neighborhood, etc are waiting for you to really truly KNOW who you are and act like the powerful son or daughter of God you are!!!! Besides, imagine how much happier you will be when you are living in fullness of freedom, authority, and joy daily! You’ll be more fully you! You’ll sleep better, love better, dream better, serve better, and LIVE better.
Yesterday, my housemate and I went next door to invite our neighbors to a bbq and we ended up praying for our neighbor who was told she has cancer. She was really blessed and encouraged by our faith and joy. And I believe she is being healed. In fact, she said she gets mad at the doctors’ prognosis, because she says, “No man is going to tell me to expect bad things. Only God has the say in how I feel about my life!” Wow! I thought, “The church could sure use some of that positive outlook fire!!!”
hahahahaha. What if you expect every single thing in your life to go well? What if you expect it, not only to go well, but to go amazingly well? What if you take your biggest dreams and then move them into the size of impossibility? Then you’ll really need God to accomplish the dreams! haha! I encourage you to smash every box of expectation in your life, dream bigger than you’ve ever dreamed! You want to lead your neighborhood in worshiping Jesus? Well, how about believing for leading your whole CITY in worshiping Jesus? You want your friend’s baby delivery to go well? How about believing and declaring it will be pain-free? (It’s possible! And I’ve heard several stories!) You want a job that gives you x amount of money annually? How about declaring the release of a job that gives you twice that? haha! You want to see one person healed by your hands in your lifetime? How about expecting to heal one person every week? You want 6 hours of good sleep every night? How about expecting 8? You want your allergies to be less severe? How about commanding them to FULLY leave?
How about it? How about instead of the occasional victory, daily victory? Constant victory?
How about believing you are worth God lavishing blessing on and through?
How about grabbing a hold of the authority Jesus gave you and transforming your community?
How about living a life more GLORIOUS, JOYFUL, JESUS-FULL, and FUN than you’ve ever imagined?
HOW ABOUT IT?
hahahaha! Such beautiful mischief we get to make with God when we stir things up and bring victory to our lives and the lives of those around us continuously! It’s so much fun!
Oh, one last thing, there was a time in my life when I was struggling with gloom, so I wrote “fear” “anxiety” and “death” on three separate pieces of white paper. Every day for a month I cranked up worship music and danced and stomped on those stupid words. So much breakthrough and freedom came as a result. I was confidently proclaiming, “I WILL NOT LET THE ENEMY TELL ME WHAT TO DO!! NO WAY! NO HOW!!! NO SIREEEEE!!!! NEVER!!!!” Feel free to the same. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
If you’d like some teaching on the authority you have in Jesus, I recommend this series by Andrew Wommack:
If you’d like an INCREDIBLE teaching called “Overcoming Negativity Through Rest” by Graham Cooke, you can find it here:
If you’d like some sound bytes of encouragement, I recommend these messages mixes by Bethel Church’s youth movement, Jesus Culture:
Especially “Invitation to Victory” It will stick some dynamite in ya!
He’s better than you think!
Jesus is alive and well!
And so are YOU!