>Pray for Healing? Or for a Miracle?

>Interesting stuff from TIM CHALLIES

Daniel Doriani’s commentary on James is one of the relatively few commentaries I’ve read cover-to-cover. It’s one I enjoyed a lot. In his discussion of the final portion of James 5, I found an interesting story that I thought I’d share with you. As I read it, I though of my continuationist (charismatic) friends. It is my experience that these people often typify cessationists like myself as those who do not believe in supernatural or miraculous healings. But this just isn’t the case. The disagreement really arises over whether or not the spiritual gift of healing is operative in the church today. I believe in heailngs, not in healers, so to speak.
This quote describes something that happened in a conservative, Reformed, Presbyterian context and something that I think is consistent with cessationist theology (even though cessationists may have some disagreement about what James refers to by anointing a person with oil). Doriani is not the only Reformed Presbyterian who has experienced this kind of blessing.

During the autumn when I first studied James in earnest, a friend suffered a viral infection of the heart. While it was not a heart attack, it mimicked many of the symptoms of one. My friend felt listless; he looked gray and lifeless. One day at church, I told him that James 5 instructs elders to lay hands on the sick and to pray for their healing; I suggested that he call the elders for that very purpose. Two weeks later, he told me he wanted to proceed. No one in our church had done this before, so we did something very Presbyterian: we studied the matter another six weeks and hoped he didn’t die in the meantime.At last, we appointed a night for prayer and the elders gathered. Our church’s pastor (I was a college professor at the time) summoned the elders. Before we prayed, he told us not to expect a dramatic physical healing, since God heals in many ways. I appreciated his motive, but there was no need to restrain my enthusiasm; my doubting heart was already skeptical enough…
…My friend knelt down in the middle of a circle of elders. We anointed him with oil, laid lands on him, and began to pray. Since I had started the process, I was appointed to offer the closing prayer.
As soon as we began to pray, I had an overwhelming sense that God was, at the moment, healing my friend. My arms felt what I can only describe as bolts of fire pushing through them. As I grasped my friend’s shoulder, heat and energy burned my hand. I felt that my one hand could lift all of his 230 pounds to the ceiling or push him through the floor if I wished.
I knew God was healing him. I wanted to shout, “We must stop praying that God will heal John and start praising God that he has healed him.” But I was too astonished, too ensure of my sensations, to say a word to anyone that night. For four days, I kept my experience to myself.
Four days later, after church, my friend beckoned me with a wild grin, “Dan, watch this.” At once, he dashed up a flight of steps. I dashed after him and met him at the top. He smiled, “And I’m not even breathing hard.”
I knew it,” I exclaimed, and told him what I had felt a few nights earlier. And he told me, “I knew it too.”
Since that day, I have joined elders to lay hands on the sick and pray for them. I have never again felt the fire. And while I occasionally feel a flood of warmth and emotion, I have learned that my feelings and God’s healings have no connections. A small number have experienced immediately healing from serious illness. More have recovered gradually and under the care of physicians. Many have found spiritual healing—great peace and spiritual renewal in times of crisis and suffering, whether they recovered physically or not. And some have apparently gained no physical or spiritual benefit at all.

A page later he provides an interesting and important clarification about what James says about healing and something that is consistent with cessationist beliefs.

Sick men and women call the elders as a group. They do not call those with a gift for healing; rather they call all to pray for healing. James says the prayers of a righteous man are effective. Since the first qualification for an elder is holiness—not social standing or theological acumen—the prayers of elders are effective. The elders pray for healing, not for miracles. It doesn’t matter if a healing is quiet or splashy, True healings garner all the attention they need.

>Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

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“The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions. Our problem is to get the consent of our world-loving minds to make Jesus Lord in fact as well as in word. For it is one thing to say, “Lord, Lord,” and quite another thing to obey the Lord’s commandments. We may sing, “Crown Him Lord of all,” and rejoice in the tones of the loud-sounding organ and the deep melody of harmonious voices, but still we have done nothing until we have left the world and set our faces toward the city of God in hard practical reality. When faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed.”
– A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest

>Super Glue This to Your Mind and Heart

>I, for one, try to keep these truths central in my mind and heart whenever I communicate…whether from the “pulpit,” in camps, small groups, or the more difficult one-on-one:

“We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“The gospel flies with the wings of grace and truth. Not one, but both…Truth-oriented Christians love studying Scripture and theology. But sometimes they’re quick to judge and slow to forgive…Grace-oriented Christians love forgiveness and freedom. But sometimes they neglect Bible study and see moral standards as ‘legalism’.”


“Truth without grace breeds a self-righteous legalism that poisons the church and pushes the world away from Christ.”


“Grace without truth breeds moral indifference and keeps people from seeing their need for Christ” ”
 
– Randy Alcorn

>Missional mothering

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Good stuff from Jani Ortland

 

Mother: You have a mission field

Our first and primary mission field is our children. God values our children. Jesus became indignant when the disciples didn’t embrace the worth of children in God’s expanding kingdom (Mark 10:13-16). God tells us that children are his blessing to us (Ps. 127:3). And he places great importance on our teaching our children to love and serve him (Deut. 6:7-9).
Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years. Your availability, sensitivity, affection, and unhurried attention are irreplaceable.
There are no neutral moments in a young child’s life. Someone is going to be influencing your children, inculcating values and imprinting standards on their impressionable young minds. Let it be you!
Accept your calling from God to serve your family. As a mother, you are helping to shape the souls of your children for Christ and ultimately influence the world. Your children are your gift to the future.

Stay on mission

Does this mean you will never invest in others outside your family? Goodness, no. But if you are a young mother, stay on mission. Use your primary ministry of mothering to serve Christ now. Don’t let anything diminish your unique role as a wife and mother. It is not godly guilt that would call you away from a wholehearted investment in your little ones for his sake.

Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years.

This season in your life is just that—a season. And each season is a divine calling from our creator and king. Organizing a new event at church is important. Teaching your little boy to be kind to his sister is also important. But which one can best be done by you during this season? Serve God well by ministering to your children first. Very soon they will be grown and gone, and you will be unable to recapture the teachable moments you have now.
Mothers, listen to Psalm 78:4-7: “We will . . . tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done . . . that the next generation might know . . . so that they should set their hope in God.”

>Trinity Hint?

>Way back-in-the-day, long before Jesus invaded my life, I used to score free drinks frequently by posing as a mind-reader.

I’d simply take a piece of paper, draw a large dot in the upper left hand corner, then, on the right side, right the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a vertical row. I’d say to my “prospect” something like, “Tell you what, here’s a piece of paper and a pencil; draw a line from the dot to any of the four numbers, and I’ll guess what it is..if I’m right you owe me a drink; if I don’t I’ll buy you one.” Usually they would comply; and I’d go through some drama and end up saying, “You drew to the number 3.” The vast majority of the time I was right.

How come?

Beats me. Water, ice, steam? Earth, wind, fire? Hickory, dickory, dock?

I don’t know.

Maybe it’s a subtle hint at the Trinity?