Things We Tell Ourselves

“Every day you preach to yourself a gospel of your loneliness, inability, and lack of resources or you faithfully preach to yourself the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Paul David Tripp

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Every day we preach to ourselves some kind of gospel, whether a false “I can’t do this” gospel, or the true “I have all I need in Christ” gospel. Here’s the thing: No one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do. It’s a fact that you and I are in an endless conversation with ourselves. Most of us have learned that it’s best not to move our lips because people will think we’re crazy, but we never stop talking to ourselves.

In this inner discussion, we’re always talking about God, life, others, and ourselves. The things we say to ourselves are very important because they are formative of the things we desire, choose, say and do. Luke 6:45 says, “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (BLB) What have you been saying to you? What have you been saying to you about yourself? What have you been saying to you about God? What have you been saying to you about life, meaning and purpose, right and wrong, true and false, good and bad? What have you planted in your own heart?

In Psalm 42, we are invited to eavesdrop on a man’s private sermon. Like us, the psalmist was always preaching some kind of message to himself. We either preach to ourselves a gospel of lonliness, poverty, and instability, or the true gospel of God’s presence, power, and constant provision. We can preach to ourselves a gospel that produces fear and timidity, or one that propels us forward with courage and hope. Shall we convince ourselves God is distant, passive, and uncaring, or that He is is near, caring, and active. We talk to ourselves about a gospel that causes us to rest in God’s wisdom, or a gospel that produces panic because it seems as if there are no answers to be found.

Today, when it feels as if no one understands, what gospel will you preach to you? As you face physical sickness, the loss of a job, or the disloyalty of a friend, what message will you bring to you? When you are tempted to give way to despondency or fear, what will you say to you? When life seems hard and unfair, what gospel will you preach to you? When parenting or marriage seems difficult and overwhelming, what will you share with you? When your dreams elude your grasp, what will you say to you? When you face a disease you thought you’d never face, what gospel will you preach to you?

It really is true: No one talks to you more than you.

Tripp, P. (2014). New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. Wheaton, IL: Crossway

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Hatred

In light of the nationwide bickering and outright disrespect each seems to have for the other this year in particular, I felt it fitting to reblog this poem I wrote in 2008 and included in a post from nearly two years ago. I long for your feedback. God bless America.

The Accidental Poet

That hatred you have for everyone, that global anger,
Is going to kill you.
It doesn’t matter how justified you are, or how wrong the other person is.
You can fume and cuss and scream, complain and blame everything on others,
But it’s just going to eat you alive.
You can get pissed off at me for telling you this,
Give me the cold stare and refuse to talk to me
Until the end of time, but it won’t change a thing.
Hatred will kill you.

1998 Steven Barto

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Colors Other Than Gray

A glimpse inside, riding the
tide of my emotions, until a
wave knocks me down near
the side of a stone jetty.
The lifeguard blows her whistle
and signals that I’m in danger;
I’m at risk;
too near injury to be left alone.

It’s sunny today, with
blue skies.
Background music of baritone
teens imitating the Ramones,
down the shore, just a quarter mile
from Barnegat Light.

I might, for the first time
in a long time,
be seeing life again as
it’s meant to be seen.
Feeling the warmth of our
giant solar orb on my face,
and catching glimpses of pretty young girls
in bikinis, clad in
colors other than gray.

© 2017 Steven Barto

Through All of It

As most of my followers know, I struggled for nearly four decades with addiction. I was able to put down the drink and the pot pipe in 2008, but I held on to one thing. One “ace up my sleeve.” One exception. One excuse. Opioid painkillers. This latest struggle has taken me through some ugly places. Despite legitimate severe pain, I cannot responsibly use such medicines as Vicodin, Percocet, or Ultram. During my last bout, I fell down the rabbit hole after taking 90 Vicodin in 4 days.

My opioid binges remind me of the example of the jaywalker in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. At first, he makes it across the street. But then he gets hit by a car and suffers some bumps and bruises. He’s not phased, though, and continues to jaywalk. The next time, he suffers a broken wrist. Again, he decides to try jaywalking, only to sustain a broken leg. This continues without end. He is actually showing behavior that demonstrates the true definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results. So was I.

For me, what always follows is withdrawal symptoms that include irritability, anger, lying, denial, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and severe diarrhea. Once I level out, I get my appetite back. I see the sun shining again. I get back out the door. I return to my usual outgoing, polite self. I do my laundry. I wash my car. My problem with drugs and alcohol began at age 18 when I drank a Miller Lite and smoked a joint. I was an addict from the start. (I don’t remember ever drinking “just one.”) My regret has always been the terrible ways I’ve treated people. Used and manipulated them. Two wives. My mother. My children. My siblings. My friends.

Today, I am more determined than ever to stand against my addiction. My mantra now is to tell my addiction (whose name is Satan) that I am an ambassador of Christ, and that my body is an embassy. It is “foreign soil.” I tell the devil he is not permitted to enter. I rebuke him in the Name of Jesus, refusing to even open the gate. I have taken a totally different approach to pain management over the last two weeks. I am using modalities I’ve only “considered” in the past: chiropractic; stretching 3 times a day; walking about a half a mile every day; hydrotherapy; laying hands on painful spots and asking God to send relief to those exact areas; meditation; weight loss.

I have definitively decided, after years of struggle and denial, that I cannot safely use narcotic pain medication. I’ve put all of my physicians on notice, saying they are not to give me anything, even if it’s a year from now, or I beg them. I stay away from friends who routinely use such medications. I attend regular NA meetings, and I see a Christian psychotherapist who went to seminary and post-graduate studies. I have stepped up my interaction with fellow believers, listen exclusively to contemporary Christian music, and began classes online  at Colorado Christian University in 2015. I attend weekly individual and group outpatient drug and alcohol treatment. And, finally, I have an NA sponsor rather than an AA sponsor. This works best for me. I recently spent over an hour on my knees crying and seeking God’s face, realizing just how out of touch I’ve been. How much I’ve missed. How much sorrow I’ve spread.

This contemporary  Christian song hits me hard every time I hear it. I changed one phrase to suit my situation. (See the brackets.) This song, by Colton Dixon, can help all of us, but it has become especially inspiring for me. I am reprinting the lyrics below.

There are days of taking more than I can give
And there are choices that I made that I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This has been the story of my life

I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes, but [most] times I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh, and You have been my God through all of it

You were there when it all came down on me
When I was blinded by my fear and I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes, but [most] times I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh, and You have been my God through all of it
Oh, through all of it

And this is who You are, more constant than the stars
Up in the sky, all these years, all my life
I, I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to

I have won
And I have lost
I got it right sometimes, but sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh, and You have been my God through all of it

If you want to listen to it, click here.

A Very Profound Passage

I had to repost this. Sorry, but I forgot to properly cite the Scripture passage when I left out “Luke.” Enjoy this profound statement from Jesus. Please click on the link in the post to take in the blog post it came from.

The Accidental Poet

Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:21-24)

The above Scripture is one of the most profound I have read in a long time. It comes from a blog post by Don Merritt. You can find the entire post here: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/the-72-return/

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I Mourn

Oh, how I mourn
a relationship
I never had;
I dream of days
I never owned.
How can true love
fall apart?
I reflected how
Disrespected you must
have felt in your
heart
to throw it all
away.

As I let it
sink in, the
booze and the
drugs, and the
estrangement,
I stood where you
stood, and I
felt what you felt,
amazed
you stayed at all.

At the end, on
the day I thought
would never come,
you said,
“I don’t think I
love you.”
I winced when
you continued:
“I’m not sure I
ever loved you,
But I do know I
don’t lie like you
anymore.”

I adored you for
a season,
but we married for
a reason that could
not be sustained;
Thus
there is no more
us.

© 2017 Steven Barto

A Study in Romans Chapter 7

This is the second installment in a three-part Bible Study in Romans 6, 7, and 8.

Paul clarifies the relationship between the law and sin in Romans Chapter 7. The heading for Chapter 7 in Eugene Peterson’s translation The Message is Torn Between One Way and Another. Paul begins by giving us an analogy from marriage. He says in Romans 7:1, “Do you not know, brothers and sisters, for I am speaking to those that know the law, that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?” Paul has already argued in Chapter 6 (as we saw in Part One of this study) that we died with Christ, and we have therefore died to sin. In Chapter 7 he will argue that, in our union with Christ, we also died to the law. When we died to sin we also died to the law of Moses. In the eyes of the law, we are dead.

We have been given new life with Christ. So where does that put us?  Paul’s second point is that we are under a new authority. In verse 2, he uses the analogy of marriage, in which death can affect the legal status of the living. He says, “For example, a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.” The law of marriage is binding only so long as both partners are alive. As soon as one dies, the marriage restrictions are gone. By comparison, under the old covenant, we were bound to the law. But since we died with Christ, we are released from the law, and as a result, a new union can be formed. That’s what Paul is interested in – a new union. Because a death has occurred – the death of Jesus Christ – a new relationship can be formed.

Paul applies his analogy to the law in verse 4. He says, “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him that was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” Paul’s point is that death breaks the bond of the law, and a new bond is permitted. As believers, we died to the law through the death of Christ, and our allegiance is to Him rather than the law. We have to be released from the law so we can be united with Christ.

We are supposed to avoid sin, but sin is no longer defined by the laws of Moses. Rather, it is defined by the character of Christ. We are to conform to Him, and since He is not bound by the law of Moses, neither are we. We belong to the One “who was raised from the dead.” Why? To “bear fruit for God.” We are to serve Him. When we first trusted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we enjoyed our initial access into grace. God intends for His children to continue accessing grace day by day throughout their lives. Every time we face any matter with dependence upon the Lord Jesus, we are drawing from the bottomless ocean of God’s grace. His grace becomes our resource for living.

Paul contrasts the “before and after” again in verse 5: “For when we were in the realm of the flesh” [some translations say “sinful nature” – the Greek word is sarx], “the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.” The Amplified Bible says, “When we were living in the flesh [trapped by sin], the sinful passions, which were awakened by [that which] the Law [identifies as sin], were at work in our body to bear fruit for death [since the willingness to sin led to death and separation from God].” Before Christ, our lives were dominated by our sinful nature, and our sinful desires, instead of bearing fruit for God, brought us death. But with Christ, our life need no longer be controlled by the flesh.

Paul says that our sinful passions were “aroused by the law.” As he said in Romans 5:20, the law had the ironic result of increasing our desire to sin. Before Paul develops that thought more, he makes this conclusion in verse 6: “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” The law once bound us, but we have been released from it. Instead of serving God according to the law, we serve in a new way, defined by the Holy Spirit. (Paul explains that in chapter 8.)

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful?” (v. 7). If the law causes our desire for sin to increase, is the law bad? Paul says, “Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.” Romans 3:20 says, “…because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (NASB) Unfortunately, that is a dangerous bit of knowledge. We tend to think that if we know what we’re supposed to do and what we’re not supposed to do we will comply.

The relationship between law and sin is worse than simply giving information. Paul is saying that the law, by defining sin, told his sinful nature how to sin more.  Our sinful nature wants to violate laws. If you give it a rule, it wants to break it. So the law, by prohibiting certain things, made people do them even more, because of our perverse nature. Is Paul really talking about himself, or is he just giving a general principle, writing in the first person? Some people are troubled by the idea that Paul struggled with sin throughout his Christian life. They would like to put all that struggle in Paul’s past, but Paul was human.

In the literary flow of Romans, Paul is talking about something that happens after we come to faith in Christ. In chapter 6 he said that we died to sin, but we still have to fight it. In chapter 7, he says that we died to the law, but we are to serve Christ in the way of the Spirit. He does not want to make it sound effortless or automatic. The struggle that began before we came to faith continues even after – and indeed that’s the experience of many Christians. “For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died” (v. 8-9). When was he alive apart from the law? When he was a baby, too young to understand. But when he learned the law, the sinful nature inside of him found a way to express itself — by rebelling. Sin sprang to life, and Paul sinned. He was condemned.

The law is not the problem — it’s just that it is so easily hijacked by our sinful desires. The law didn’t cause us to take a wrong turn — it just told us where we would end up if we took it, and the perversity inside us made us take the wrong turn. Sin deceived us and put us on the pathway to death. The law isn’t the culprit — it was an unwitting accomplice. So Paul concludes in verse 12 that “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” The law is holy, but it can’t make us holy. The law is about performance. Those who live by the law are left to their own resources to work up a life that measures up to the perfect standards of God. Those who daily put their faith in the Lord Jesus for the issues of life access grace for godly living.

Paul says, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” (v. 14) How could this be the Christian Paul, who said he died to sin and is no longer its slave? In verse 15 he describes the struggle: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.” The Message puts it this way: “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” Paul wants to do good, but he ends up doing bad, and he struggles to know why. He has a converted mind that wants to do the will of God, but his flesh wants to do bad. Why? Because there is another power at work within him, that is, in his flesh.

“And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good” (v. 16). The fact that he doesn’t like his own behavior is evidence that he likes the law. “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me” (v. 17). The Message says, “…if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes.” All the blame goes to sin, not to Paul, and that is why he can say that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (See Romans 8:1). Whatever bad they do is blamed on the sin within them, not on the new person they are in Christ.

It is as if Paul explains the problem by splitting himself in two — there is the old person, in the sphere of sin, and there is the new person, alive in Christ. The new person is enslaved to Christ, but the sinful nature is still enslaved to sin. Being freed from sin and enslaved to righteousness is not automatic — it involves a struggle.  Galatians 5:17 describes the same struggle: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (v. 18). Paul qualifies his statement by saying that he’s talking about the flesh, the sinful nature, not his new nature in Christ. All the good in Paul’s life comes from Christ living in him, rather than originating in himself. The good comes from the new nature, the bad comes from the old. “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing” (v. 18-19). He wants to do good, but he sometimes sins. The sin within him makes him do things he wouldn’t otherwise do.

Paul summarizes this issue in Romans 7:21-23 when he says, “So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members.” (Amplified) This is the nature of the struggle. Although he wants to do good, the evil within him sometimes causes him to do things that he hates. So he groans, as he says in Romans 8:23, waiting for the redemption of his body, the resurrection, and the ultimate victory over his sinful nature.

Paul describes in the Book of Romans a deep frustration—one with which all Christians can identify. The agony comes from realizing that our sinful flesh refuses to respond to the requirements of God’s Law. Those things which we despise, we find ourselves doing. No matter how much we may wish to serve God in our minds, we find ourselves sinning in our bodies. As Paul describes his frustration in Romans 7, with his mind he desires to serve God. He agrees with the Law of God and rejoices in it. He wants to do what is right, but his body will not respond. He watches, almost as a third party, as sin sends a signal to his body, and as his body responds, “What would you like to do?” Paul finds, as we do, that our fleshly body refuses to obey God. Instead, we tend to do that which we desire, rather than that which delights God.

As long as we continue under the law as a covenant, and seek to be justified solely by our own obedience, we continue to be the slave of sin in some form. Paul makes a devastating self-assessment in verse 8: “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” (NLT) Paul is not saying that the believer who sins moves from being a Christian to being a non-Christian. More likely, he is saying that, in the moment of failure, sin got the upper hand. Remember Paul’s warning in Romans 6:12: “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.” (NLT) He tells us to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies so that we obey its lusts. In other words, we should not sell ourselves to sin.

Paul concludes, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (NIV)

Old Town

I follow a blog called  City Jackdaw that features the poetry of Andrew James Murray; well, Andy. I have always been impressed by Andy’s work, but a recent poem he wrote, called “Old Town,” is truly remarkable. It is the type of piece that transports you elsewhere; that makes you forget you’re reading.

Please enjoy Andy’s poem.

As is their wont,
the ancestors speak of nothing,

just leave their handprints
on rock, drying in shadow.

In sterile dust
we kick
careless trails,

tracks opening up
in animal minds.

In towns
we lay our markers down,

watering holes
within arid charms.

The rats have our number,
wait us out,

sandstorms filling our lungs
like egg timers.

On the porch
she reads Capote.
Turns her face to the south.

Her bookmark is an old photograph
of an old man; a girl; a dog:
‘Mary and her grandfather Jasper, around 1900.’
He: sat, stern and saturnine, wearing the dust.
She: stood, hand lightly on his shoulder,
glaring at the camera,
facing down posterity:
Not yet. Not yet.

The dog is unnamed.
The birdcage in the window, empty.
In the book there are voices on the wind.
Here, just the parched whisper
of turned vellum.

A Very Profound Passage

Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:21-24)

The above Scripture is one of the most profound I have read in a long time. It comes from a blog post by Don Merritt. You can find the entire post here: https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/the-72-return/

A Classic Book on Healing Revisited

In 1924, F.F. Bosworth published an incredible book called Christ the Healer. I bought a copy in 1980 only to have it ruined by water damage while in storage. Admittedly, I had not read the book cover-to-cover, and had long forgotten the truths it contained. As many of you know, I struggle with significant pain from fibromyalgia, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and a collapse of disc space in my lumbar spine. The pain has been so debilitating that I am currently receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. I have a long history of substance abuse, which began when I was 18. As you probably won’t find surprising, extreme physical pain has been a trigger for me, leading to numerous relapses on narcotic painkillers from 2008 to as recent as August of last year. I have come to the revelation that it is time for a different approach to my healing.

A few months ago I was looking at books at our local Christian book store, Bible Depot, in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. I gravitated to the “healing” section. (No surprise there!) There are many good books on healing, but my eyes rested on Christ the Healer. I was immediately transported back to when I first read the tome. To date, there are over 500,000 copies of Christ the Healter in print. Indeed, it has been in continual print for 76 years. It speaks of God’s compassion and longing to heal all who are sick. Bosworth’s passion was to communicate transforming truth about God’s will regarding healing. Bosworth was a dedicated evangelist. To him, saving souls was paramount, but healing took a close second.

Bosworth said in his preface to the 1924 edition, “…little did [I] dream that the truths presented were to bless such vast numbers in so many parts of the world. The results, down through the years, have been a demonstration of the truth of the inspired declaration that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (See Ephesians 3:20) Bosworth indicated that by the simple presentation of enough of the written Word of God to the minds and hearts of the incurably afflicted they can be brought to the same state of certainty and assurance concerning the healing of their body as to the healing of their souls.

First Things First

Before people can have a steadfast faith for the healing of their body, they must be rid of all uncertainty concerning God’s will in the matter. One of my misconceptions was that I deserved to suffer after all the evil and hurt and sin I had committed. Seeminly, I brought all this pain on myself. Appropriating faith cannot go beyond one’s own knowledge of the revealed will of God. (Here’s where I needed to get a grip!) Before attempting to exercise faith for healing, we need to know what the Scriptures plainly teach. We need to know that it is just as much God’s will to heal the body as it is to heal the soul. Without this realization, there is nothing on which to base our faith. What is it that makes steadfast faith possible? Actually, it starts with a renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2) As Romans 10:17 puts it, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

The Word is the Seed

Jesus told us that the Word is the seed. It is the seed of the divine life. Until the person seeking healing is sure from God’s Word that it is God’s will to heal him, he is trying to reap a harvest where there is no seed planted. It would be impossible for a farmer to have faith for a harvest before he was sure the seed had been planted. Parenthetically, God will not reward the farmer with a bumper crop without the farmer having sowed what he intended to reap. God’s Word does not allow for a harvest without the planting of the seed – without His will being known and acted upon. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) Another way to put it is freedom from sickness comes from knowing the truth. God does nothing without His Word. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.”

For each sick person to know that it is God’s will to heal him, it is necessary for the “seed” to be planted in his mind and heart. It is not planted until it is known and received and trusted. No sinner can become a Christian before he knows that it is God’s will to save him. It is the Word of God, planted and watered and steadfastly trusted, that heals both soul and body. The seed must remain planted and be kept watered before it can produce its harvest. For someone to day, “I believe the Lord is able to heal me” before he knows from God’s Word that He is willing to heal him, is like a farmer saying, “I believe God is able to give me a harvest without any seed being planted and watered.” God can’t save the soul of a man before the man himself knows God’s will in the matter. Salvation is by faith – that is, by trusting the known will of God. Being healed is being saved in a physical sense.

Here’s something that must be grasped: Praying for healing with the faith-destroying words if it by Thy will is not planting the seed. It is destroying the seed. The prayer of faith that heals the sick requires following (not preceding) the planting of the seed. Look at the words from Matthew 8:17: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses.” Eugene H. Peterson’s modern-day translation The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language puts it this way: “He cured the bodily ill.”

We need to remember that seed is powerless until it is planted. As Bosworth puts it, “Many, instead of saying, ‘Pray for me,’ should first say, ‘Teach me God’s Word, so that I can intellectually cooperate for my recovery.'” We must know what the benefits of Calvary are before we can appropriate them by faith. David specified, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.” (Psalm 103:3)

Bosworth believes that our purpose to have our body healed should be as definite as our purpose to have our soul healed. We should not ignore any part of the Gospel. Our Substitute (Jesus) bore both our sins and our sicknesses that we might be delivered from them. Christ’s bearing of our sins and sicknesses is surely a valid reason for trusting Him now for deliverance from both. When, in prayer, we definitely commit to God the forgiveness of our sins; we are to believe, on the authority of His Word; that our prayer is heard. We are to do the same when praying for healing.

Between the time we definitely commit to God the healing of our body and the completion of our healing, we can, and should, learn one of the most valuable lessons of our Christian life. That lesson is to observe Hebrews 10:35-36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (NIV)

The Word of God cannot be health to either soul or body before it is heard, received, and attended to. God’s words are life only to those who “find” them. If you want to receive life and healing from God, take time to find the words of Scripture that promise these results. When God’s Word becomes health to all your flesh, your cancer will be gone, your goiter will be gone, your kidney disease will be gone, your drug addiction will be gone. The flesh of many believers today is unhealthy flesh because they have failed to find and attend to that part of God’d Word that produces healing. This is the divine method of receiving the blessings that God has provided for us. Many have failed to receive healing simply because they have not followed this method.

God says that when we do as we are told in the Scriptures, His Words are made health to all our flesh. It does not matter what particular kind of unhealthy flesh. God is not held back by facts. He is not beholden to a physician’s prognosis. He says, “health to all their flesh.” Whose flesh? Those who find and attend to the Word of God on the subject. This is exactly the same way that the Word of God becomes health to the soul. God tells us to not let his Word depart from our eyes. We are to keep His Word in the midst of our heart. Rather than having our focus be on our symptoms, we should let God’s Word be our focus. As the only way a seed can do its work is by being kept in the ground, so the only way that God’s imperishable seed can effectually work in us is by it being kept in the midst of our heart. This does not mean occasionally, but continuously. It has to be our only focus. The reason why many have failed to receive healing is because they have not done this.

God bless you in your journey for physical healing. It is the will of God.

References

Bosworth, F.F. (1924). Christ the Healer. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Peterson, E. (2006). The Message //Remix: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO” NavPress