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2017

October 21

The Health Gospel: Is healing, health and wellness always God's will?

Years ago I would have said yes and I'm not alone in this belief. Many people believe that God's will is always healing, health and wellness. I can understand this tendency. After all God is all together good, perfect, all loving and all powerful. Since this is the case, wouldn't God always desire to heal? And there are also many passages in the Bible that could, if isolated from the rest of the Bible, lead someone to believe this well intended vain of theology. (i.e Matthew 21:22 - And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”) There are, however, many problems with this belief. I will list 5 and try to keep this extremely short.

1. It isn't Biblical....Here's a few examples.

Exodus 4:11 - So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?

: Here, God self admittedly makes people deaf, mute and

blind. You may not like that. You may not think it’s fair. But,

please remember who we’re talking about here….God.

John 9:1-3 - Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

: Here, Jesus teaches us that a man was born blind so that the works of God would be revealed in Him.

John 5:3, 8-9 - In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water….Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

: If healing is always God’s will, why did Jesus limit healing to certain people? Why didn’t He just heal everyone at once?

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

: Here, according to Jesus, sickness can bring God glory. Of course Jesus eventually healed Lazarus, but his illness was the will of God. I wonder how many times Mary and Martha prayed for their brother before his death?

2 Timothy 4:20 - Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.

: Why would Paul leave his friend sick? Did he not think to

pray? Did Paul not have enough faith?

Philippians 2:25-27 - Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

: Once again, someone extremely close to Paul was sick, and in this case for a considerable time. Paul wasn’t expecting God to heal him as if it were the norm for God to do such things. Paul recognized that it was the mercy of God, not his faith filled prayers that resulted in the eventual healing of his friend.

1 Timothy 5:23 - No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

: Timothy was a close companion of Paul, yet was frequently sick. We can be certain that Paul prayed for his friend, but here he instructs Timothy to drink a small amount of wine to ease his condition.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 - And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

: In this passage Paul explains that he had a sickness that God refused to heal. Some argue that this “thorn in the flesh” was not a physical infirmity, yet I suggest noticing the phrases “concerning this thing”and “I will boast in my infirmities”. Either way, God didn’t answer the 3 prayers.

2. It's illogical.

In the previous passage Paul made a bold statement. He said that he boasts in his infirmities. Why would Paul boast in something that wasn't God's will?

3. It magnifies man and limits God.

This belief makes the healing all about us. If we have enough faith a healing takes place and if not, it doesn’t. We should never get the attention for a miracle. God should always get the attention.

Additionally, this belief limits God to mere human understanding, forgetting that God has infinite wisdom. Although a sickness may seem bad to us, in God’s infinite wisdom, only He can know what is truly best. What if you were too sick to go to work, yet God was protecting you from an auto accident? What if you were too sick to board your plane on 911? I think you get the point.

4. It hurts people.

I feel bad for the countless people who love Jesus with all of their heart, yet suffer from sicknesses believing that they must not have enough faith. This type of belief can discourage, dismay and even lead someone away from the Lord. Why can’t I be healed? Do I not have enough faith? Does God not love me? Is God mad at me?

Bottom line is this….when someone is sick, we are to pray for healing and have faith in God, trusting Him with the outcome. Ultimately, walking with God is all about submitting to His Lordship and surrendering to His will. Walking with God is not about telling God what to do and manifesting the self willed faith to see it through.

5. It doesn’t work practically.

In Genesis 2 God promises death (physical and spiritual) as a result of sin and in Romans we are taught that all have sinned. This means that everyone will die. Statistics confirm this truth, as everyone of us will someday die (except for a few people in the Bible, the rapture and those alive at the second coming of Christ). So, if God always heals, how does everyone die? Does everyone have to die instantly in some tragic accident?

In closing, I must say that I understand this false theology. It is easy to believe in and submit to God when He is a personal genie, answering every prayer as I wish. But, in that case, I’m really god….telling God what to do. But, God is not a genie and He does not take orders or “prayers” from any of us. In this fallen existence we will sometimes be sick and we will ultimately all die. Then, we go home, where there is no sickness or death. I am looking forward to that day.

August 27

Mayweather vs. McGregor

Well, that's all folks. What do I think?

Floyd did it again. He clearly won a boxing match and did it in such a way that we are left with this idea that someone could beat him. And that's what he does. He's patient. He's calm. He is calculated. He sticks to a plan. And he wins, leaving us to believe that he is beatable. For 50 straight fights he has done this...and it's genius.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in Floyd. I wanted him to leave boxing with the "Wow! Did you see that?!!", first or second round knock out that I know he is completely capable of. I wanted him to meet Connor in the middle of the ring and show him he has no place being there with a legend. I wanted to see Floyd show everyone the gangster in him....the macho....the warrior....the kill or be killed mentality.

But Floyd is a smarter fighter than me.

I guess that's partly why I had 3 losses in 25 fights and he is undefeated. He doesn't allow emotion to effect his craft. He's not trying to impress. He doesn't have anything to prove to anyone....and he knows it.

He stuck to his game plan and won like he has done for over 2 decades. It wasn't my game plan. It was his. And it was exactly what I predicted, just 4 or 5 rounds more patient.

I don't want to take anything away from McGregor in all of this. I'd be a fan if he was humble / non-delusional. He's a warrior. He's macho. He's worked hard to get where he's at. And I tip my hat to him....He lasted 10 rounds with Floyd Mayweather. He could probably do very well in the squared circle, but ironically, he's got a ways to go if he chooses to go that way.

So, now Floyd is left in an interesting place. He's officially retired....again. Now 50 and 0 and 40 years old, I don't think we'll see him in the ring again. His entire life has been consumed with boxing and now....it's over.

And my friend, this is the way life is. It's short. It's a vapor. Legends come and go. Fight night's come and go. Moments of grandeur come and go. Enormous wealth comes and goes. Great accomplishments come and go. Ultimately we will all be left with the same question that Floyd Mayweather has to answer. What now?

Pascal once said that every human has a God shaped hole in his heart. Boxing success, wealth and fame have blinded Floyd for 4 decades to one simple fact. It's all about Jesus. Nothing else matters. A very wise, extremely powerful and wealthy man once sought and acquired everything this life has to offer. He ended his journey by saying, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil."

Don't miss Jesus. Nothing else matters. It only seems like it does.

August 26

Mayweather vs. McGregor

Well, I've had quite a few people sending me texts and calling me to find out what I think about the Mayweather / McGregor fight tonight. No doubt my former world ranking and professional boxing experience sparks some interest in the subject, but I'm sure my time in the ring with Floyd makes my honest opinion all the more interesting. So, what do I think?

Let me start with this. There is one (and only one) reason that McGregor is taking this fight. Money. I'll go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he can't be stupid enough to think he can win. He's probably not that dumb. He knows he can't win, but also that there is no other way he could ever make this kind of money. He's fighting for the payday. On a positive note, he has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain, except looking really stupid (which will happen).

McGregor is a UFC fighter with a 21 and 3 record. He is a mediocre stand up fighter and has a horrible defense. Mayweather is, without a question, one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport. He is 49 and 0. He's never been down in 49 fights. He's fought and beat everyone. He is a technician with the best defense in boxing. He is razor sharp and incredibly accurate. Tonight, Floyd will be able to do whatever he wants to do, whenever he wants to do it. Connor, on the other hand, won't be able to do anything he wants to do, ever.

I really feel like it is disrespectful to Floyd (and to boxing) to compare him to McGregor. Connor has 0 chance of winning. He will come out 100 miles per hour tonight, doing all that he can to hurt Floyd. Mayweather will stay calm, collective and composed. Connor will get tired. Floyd won't. Slowly and surely Floyd will pick him apart and should finish him in 6 rounds or so. Or, in Connor's only hope, hail merry, early fight haste, Mayweather may knock him out with a perfectly placed shot.

In closing, there is only one person who can help McGregor win this fight. His name is Jesus. Connor doesn't know Him, but I saw God working in Floyd's life back in 2004. He sent me to Vegas to be a witness to Floyd, to draw Floyd into a relationship with Him. I actually saw some good fruit from our time together so long ago. So, just maybe, maybe....maybe, God could use a loss tonight to humble Floyd and open his eyes to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know He certainly has in times past with me. And, if that's what happens, I will rejoice and thank God. That's the best thing that could ever happen to Floyd.

Enjoy the most lucrative and widely publicized boxing clinic in history.

June 20

How you doin?

This is a question people often ask. In fact, you may have asked or have been asked this question several times today. The typical response is "ok", "alright", "good" or "great". These responses are based on many different variables, such as, one's health, financial status, employment, social status or relational heath. I have come to find, however, that none of these really determine how you're doing. At best, they may provided some information as to how things are going, but there is only one variable that can reliably determine how you're doing.

Are you fully surrendered to God?

That's it. That's the only reliable indicator of how you're actually doing. As my friend, Stuart Migdon, once said, "No matter where you're going, if you're fully surrendered to God, it's the right direction." No matter what's going on in your life, if you're fully surrendered to God, you are doing great. Why? Because He is sovereign over everything, all together good, loves you immeasurably and will get the final, eternal say on all things.

The apostle Paul is a great example here. His life was circumstantially significantly better before his conversion experience. Before his conversion he may have said, "I'm doing great!", but he was fighting against God and heading toward eternal punishment. After the Damascus Road, however, he encountered much adversity and persecution, including ship wreck, beatings, snake bites and being stoned to death. However, in Philippians 4 he writes, "....for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Paul saw the bigger picture. How we're doing depends only upon our relationship and submission to God. Don't be blinded by circumstantial ease and deceived into thinking you're doing good. Make sure you're submitted and surrendered to God and then, no matter what's going on, you are....good. He gets the last say and He works everything together for the good of those who love Him.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son...." - Romans 8:28-29

February 3

Sometimes, there's no easy answer.

We live in a world that is falling apart. There are mountains of problems that we, as humans, are completely incapable of fixing. The consequences of a sin filled world have simply piled up too high. As far as the current immigration situation goes, there is no easy fix. How do you show compassion towards hurting people and protect the innocent in our own land? I don't think there's a good answer. Some answers are better than others, but either way someone gets hurt.

I'm immediately reminded of our Bible study from Sunday night through 1 Timothy. In the 2nd chapter Paul writes, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." There were considerable problems in Ephesus where Timothy was stationed to oversee the church. He had many challenges ahead, but Paul makes the most important thing very clear.....prayer.

The problems in Ephesus were too great for Timothy to fix, so Paul knew that prayer was the answer. He depended upon help from God. In the same way, the problems in America are simply too great for us to fix. We can certainly improve some issues by making wise decisions, but ultimately, we need God to heal our land. Only He can truly fix the many problems we face.

We need to pray.

As Oswald Chambers once said, "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work.” We can do nothing of lasting eternal value without the hand of God (John 15:5), but we can humble ourselves, seek the Lord and call out to Him. Then, He will hear us, forgive us and heal our land.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

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