Shutting Up Our Biggest Problem: Us
By Levi Tackett
First off, let me start out by saying, I’m not a great writer. Without the very talented Ms. Emerald Barnes, this blog post would read more like a sixth-grader’s essay than a grown father of three. Having already set the bar low, let’s talk about healing.
Healing is not an easy topic to talk about in most Christian circles, even the Pentecostal and Spirit-filled churches can sometimes disagree about this basic principal. There’s one infallible way to approach any topic when it comes to God, and that’s His Word. The best examples of healing can be found when reading about Jesus. Jesus never made anyone qualify themselves before He used God’s power to touch their lives and make them new again. Just think about that! Not having to make sure you were in the right church or reading the correct scriptures, listening to the right sermons, etc. Jesus simply met the people in their need. Sometimes healing happened because the actions of people were so desperate for a touch from God that they would risk breaking religious laws just for the chance to maybe be healed. Let’s take a look at one particular individual that did exactly that.
Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on. (Matthew 9:20-22)
According to Jewish law (Lev 15:19), this woman was thought to be unclean and should have stayed away from everyone, not out mingling with the crowd trying to touch the Man of God. Just think about how the people would react today if someone, whom we deemed unclean, would not only show up in our church but have the audacity to try and reach out to someone. I know the “churchy” response is to say, “No way that would happen in MY church!” Let’s be honest, we all judge another by their appearance the first time we meet them, it’s just our fleshly nature. This woman wanted a touch from God so badly, she never gave thought to the opinions of others or the fact of persecution for violating laws. She needed God and was determined to get what He had for her no matter the cost. One can only imagine what manifestation of healing would break out in our churches if we simply begin to desire a touch from God like this woman.
Now, on to another of my favorite healings that took place with Jesus. Blind Bartimaeus is a fascinating story, not just because a blind man received his sight instantaneously but because of Bartimaeus’s actions before he received.
They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”
They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.
Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”
In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.
Hallelujah! This man who was destined to beg for any semblance of a living is now given the greatest gift he could have ever imagined. Jesus asked what we think is a silly question but to God your heart and actions mean more than any great words could ever begin to describe. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was coming, he began to cry out even after the people tried to silence him. Far too often we miss out on blessings from God because we let other’s opinions and voices, our own insecurities, religious traditions, or simply lies from the devil silence our cries for help. It’s only when we reach that level of true desperation are we willing to shake things up and truly cry out to God.
Bartimaeus didn’t care what it cost; he was willing to pay the price to receive from the Man of God. His actions were even more telling of how badly Bartimaeus wanted his sight. In verse 50, he threw off his beggar’s clothes, symbolizing that never again would he have to go through that humiliating process of begging for a living. He was so confident in a man he couldn’t even see that he separated himself from his past and transferred himself into his future. Never again would he be called a blind beggar, his name was Bartimaeus.
While these healings are wonderful examples of God’s love and power, they also come with a responsibility. Healing is not just a physical manifestation of the impossible but an opportunity to change your way of thinking and talking. I’ll be willing to wager after he received his sight, Bartimaeus never let anyone call him Blind Bartimaeus again. That was who he used to be, not who he is now. I know this may offend some, but I hate the terminology Cancer Survivor. God never intended for His children to just survive but to thrive. When we tie the term cancer to ourselves, we are, in fact, identifying ourselves with cancer. Cancer is not who I am but rather a path God brought me through. As the book of James tells us: A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! (James 3:3-5). Our words can become our greatest assets or our biggest opponents. The choice is ours. Be careful that your words do not bind the blessings God has by planting those seeds of doubt into your heart and mind.
As a child of God, I cannot imagine a scenario when God has ever forgotten about me or simply refused to care for me. If we truly believe He is our Father, then we must know of His undying love and affection for us. Why then wouldn’t he want to see us healed, whole and well in every aspect of our lives? The problem isn’t God; it’s us. We allow the voices surrounding us every day to steal our blessings. God wants us whole in every area of our lives: spiritually, physically, financially, socially, and emotionally. Yes, God cares about our emotional and social lives as well. I urge you, if you don’t receive anything else from this blog post, receive this:
God loves you more than you could ever think or imagine, and He has only good and bright plans for your future. Are you willing to be like the people in these stories and do whatever must be done to get it and hold on to it?
Stay Home for the Holidays
By Jay Bryan, Associate Pastor
Psalms 91 is a familiar passage for most of us, which is full of God’s love and protection for us. It begins by telling us the benefits of being in the Most High God’s presence. In His mighty shadow, we should abide, and we say “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe.” Because God is our refuge, He becomes our very own home. Home is our safe place. A place where we’ve been nurtured, loved, matured, and cared for. We go to work, to school, to town, but we come home. It’s where we can always return. The word tells us, He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). So, let’s keep our trust in the Most High God this Christmas and stay home for the holidays. Psalms 91 closes by saying “I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me.” I assure you, it will be a Christmas to remember, if we stay in the presence of the Lord our God.
Thank you, Jesus, for being born to be our Saviour.
Remember I love you and God loves you...Merry Christmas!
Facing Your Fears
By: Emerald Barnes, Author of the Entertaining Angels series
There are lots of reasons to be afraid. Afraid of the future. Afraid of death. Afraid of losing someone you love, but God has told us that He has NOT given us a spirit of fear. (2 Tim 1:7) Instead, God has given us power, love, and a sound mind. So what do we do when fear comes against us? We pray.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
The AMPC version says, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”
We talked about the importance of Thanksgiving in our last posts on here. It’s important to give thanks to God because that’s what activates our faith. Once you thank God for what you’ve asked for, whether you’ve received it or not, you’re activating your faith, which in turn activates God, and it’s important to activate this faith in place of your fears.
Fears will keep us away from God. It takes our focus and moves it to the problem, not God. Our focus should always be on God and not the problem or fear.
I’ve talked to y’all about some of my fears, and I had to come face to face with my sister and nieces getting the sick stomach a while ago (which honestly is silly, but it's one of my big fears). I wasn’t happy, but I did better than I thought I would. I prayed to God, focused on Him and my faith, and prayed in tongues. That helps me refocus my fear to God. It opens up a direct line to Him, and it prepared me to listen to God.
Part of facing your fears means listening to what God has to say. The Bible is obviously God’s Word, God’s mean of getting you to listen to Him, but there are times that He speaks to us directly. And it’s important for us to hear what He has to say.
What am I going to do with my life? What if I fail? What if…what if…what if…? Life is full of ifs, but God wants us to get over those ifs and focus on His promises.
And one of those promises is peace. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In the face of fear, we can stand strong in knowing that the peace of God will be with us. There is no reason to fear anything. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
No man can harm you with God on your side. There will inevitably be setbacks. I’ve faced many, but if you listen to God, follow His instructions, you’ll succeed in anything that you do, and you won’t have to worry or fear anything because He’s with you and gives you peace.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord they God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will no fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
I know it isn’t easy to not worry or to refocus our fears. Even I have a difficult time not dwelling on and living in fear, but we have to remember that fear is of the devil. It’s not of God. It’s satan trying to make you forget that God is giving us peace and watching out for us, and satan likes to get loud. God told me once, “The devil is the loudest when we’re the quietest.” I think I've mentioned that on this blog before, but it's so true. When we take our focus off of God, when we stop thanking and praising Him, satan gets loud. He pushes these fears, failures, doubts and worries on us until they consume us and we can’t see past them. He wants us to forget that God is behind the scenes working things out. Satan wants us to worry about things that we can’t control. But as 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” And being with God, living in God’s word, that makes us perfect in love.
So, when we are living in fear, we’re not living in God’s love. We’re living in satan’s word. Fear torments us; God doesn’t. Remember, God has given us peace. We aren’t tormented if we’re living in peace, obviously, but how do we get this peace? Isn’t that the age old question? Trust God, rely on Him, spend time in His Word and listen to Him.
I could have so easily freaked out about the sick stomach. I almost did, but I prayed in tongues and let God talk to me. I was resolved to not let satan get the best of me. I said, “Not today, satan,” and kept going. No matter what happens, God’s got your back. He has your best interest at heart, and He’ll give you the desires of your heart.
So, take a deep breath. God’s got this.