May 13

Today's Bible Readings
     Numbers 22
     Psalms 62-63
     Isaiah 11-12
     James 5
     ''Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." (James 5:14-15)
      I recently attended a prayer meeting like the one described in our memory verse. In this prayer meeting, I was the recipient of the oil and the prayers. When I learned that my diagnosis was cancer, I immediately called the leaders of the church and had them pray and anoint me with oil. Together, we claimed the power of God for healing. That healing has not yet come, but we know that God keeps His promises, and we can trust Him.
      During the same week, my wife and I were both diagnosed with cancer. God has given her complete healing and I am still battling the disease. Why is this true? It is because healing is in the sovereign plan and purpose of God. We need to realize that only God heals. Sometimes God heals directly. Several times in my ministry, I've seen God give healing to people without the use of physicians or medicine. I remember praying late one evening in a hospital for a dear woman who was a great soul-winner. She was facing a life-threatening heart surgery the next day. When the doctor tested her the next morning, he said, “You are completely well. Go home and mow your lawn.” I remember joining hands with the wife of a man over his body, wracked with fever. During the prayer, the sheets became wet with his perspiration as the fever broke. There are many other stories of when God gave miraculous healing.
      Sometimes God heals medicinally. ''Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure. No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities''            (II Timothy 5:22-23).
      Paul was advising young Timothy to use wine as a disinfectant against the harmful effects of impure water. Paul believed in the value of medical advice and practice; therefore, he could refer to Dr. Luke as “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). We must realize that whether it is medicine or miracle, God alone heals.
     Sometimes God heals pastorally. Our text tells us that we should call for the elders of the church. James is a man of prayer. This is evident by the number of times he refers to the subject of prayer. This was the man known as ''camel knees'' because of the callouses on his knees from kneeling before God. This is why James exhorts us to call for the leaders of the church to pray for healing.
     We must also realize that sometimes God heals finally. Paul puts it this way, ''I am hard pressed between the two - having a desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better'' (Philippians 1:23). The apostle tells us that while it is ''good'' to remain with his fellow saints in Philippi, it was far ''better'' to be with Christ. In His presence is perfect and permanent healing. Then, there will be no more pain, tears, or death. Why is it so many Christians do not see it that way? Healing down here is only temporary at best, and with the healing we have to endure the same struggles, sickness, and suffering. Probably the best healing is the healing that comes through the Rapture or our biological death. Then we are given a new body that is immortal and incorruptible, and we shall forever be with the Lord.
      It is imperative that you have complete faith in the Lord for healing, but it is important to realize that there are some with great faith that God chooses not to heal, and He receives glory in their suffering. God has given to some the ministry of suffering.  Our part is to rejoice in what God has done in our lives, and to trust Him for the future. He does all things well!
     The Republic of Poland is a formally Communist country of about 39 million people. Located in Eastern Europe, this country is more than 90% Christian, but predominantly Roman Catholic. That denomination represents about 78% of the population. People have realized that capitalism has not brought instant wealth, and they are more and more becoming disenchanted with the Roman Catholic Church because of it's meddling in political life. The greatest prayer need in Poland today is that the spiritual leaders in Poland will learn to live a life of holiness and a close walk with God.
''I can see how it might be possible for man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heaven and say there is no God."
Abraham Lincoln