As result of church leaders praying for me, I suddenly began to recover some of my sense of taste – and returning to normal so some foods don’t taste like muddy cardboard. Very important for those foods on the special diet to boost hemoglobin production and aid healing of my bleeding stomach ulcers. The diet is not a cure but gives me more time. When my sense of taste went haywire, I was off the diet, and my rate of decline significantly increased. The danger is when hemoglobin falls below 5 [from a normal 12 to 14], resulting in unconsciousness, then brief coma, and then death. The diet turns weeks into months if living longer – difference between hemoglobin production and loss of blood – rate of decline: Presently 5 to 6 months, but that can be improved on, or be less if there are any more setbacks.
The church leaders have a leadership meeting Tuesday nights. The lady I pay my apartment rent to is one of the church leaders, by the way. Email yesterday evening from the pastor of that church I’m associated with…
Hello Brother Jim,
The ministry team at Church in the Park has been lifting you up in prayer regularly. I felt compelled by the Lord to write you to ask if you have considered Biblical prayer of faith found in James 5:13-18?
Many times I have participated in this prayer of faith. God has allowed me to see some amazing answers to prayer. The Scripture is very specific. If someone is sick let him call for the elders of the church… I only have responded to those who call and ask for the prayer of faith. We have not always seen miraculous interventions. Some times we see the person who is sick live a few more years longer than the Dr.’s had initially forecasted. There are times that we do not see physical healing. Ultimate healing happens for those who are bound for heaven.
I feel very confident that faithful men from Church in the Park would pray this prayer of faith with you. Please spend some time reading over this passage of Scripture. It is very specific about certain aspects of this prayer, for example confessing your faults one to another that you may be healed.
I write this as encouragement to you and for your prayerfully consideration.
James 5:13-18 noted in Mike’s email is as follows…
New International Version (NIV)
The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
My email replies to Mike…
Thanks. Will do. Much appreciated. Yes. Quite right.
There’s a huge gulf between BELIEVING something is possible and KNOWING something is possible. KNOWING comes from witnessing something or experiencing it directly. BELIEVING becomes KNOWING. FAITH becomes CONFIDENCE. Even so, some people, like me, tend to have concerns and worry too much even when KNOWING it works, and that’s why it can be more effective to turn to people like you for help with it. Especially when I’m in the heat of battle distracted by pain and suffering. A person closely watching a chess game can sometimes see better moves than the chess player engaged in the chess match.
Maybe healing isn’t the only issue. A man gets sick, stays home a day. If he hadn’t got sick, then his job would have put him on a jet flight to another city. The jet crashes. By being sick his life was saved. Did God need him to stay alive for some purpose, and made him sick to save his life – save him from being killed in a jet crash? Likewise, is my illness saving me from something worse?
I KNOW God has kept me alive when I should have died more than once in the past. For example, bleeding ulcers at end of 1997 dropped my hemoglobin count from a normal 12 or 14 down to only 4.7. Doctors and nurses so shocked they did the test 3 times. One told me, “Human life can’t exist under 5.0 so right now we don’t know WHAT is keeping you alive.” Another observed, “Most people down to 5.0 come into the hospital unconscious or in a coma if still alive. Not only are you conscious, you walked in, wearing a heavy backpack, and homeless out in a blizzard but for straying nights at Union Rescue Mission and public library during days.” More than one MD has told me I’d likely die soon, and I’ve outlived one of those guys – the same MD who treated my father when he had bleeding ulcers. Compared to God, “medical science” amounts to gross ignorance. On one hand I myself may be a “man of science” – while on the other hand I have no doubts about God. But I don’t have all the answers, which calls for trust more than faith. If God is still keeping me alive for something, then I’m still clueless what it might be – not even a guess.
During 1991, I served as a “soldier” in the Southern Division of the Salvation Army at Shreveport, mainly doing disaster relief work, and was the weekend night manager of the men’s homeless shelter. I was in a Bible study group with my commanding officer. This was long before the “Left Behind” books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, dealing with Christian dispensationalist End Times. The discussion that day was about that subject. Salvation Army leaders were under the impression they would be among those not to be left behind. So I dropped a few jaws by suggesting this: “The people who are left behind will need the Salvation Army, so God might keep you here to help those who can still be helped.”
A disaster can take away everything belonging to a person. The life he had before the disaster and all gained by it materially never mattered. After the disaster, the life that matters begins. All the distracting clutter has been cleared away, and so then he can be more aware of God and perhaps the purpose God has for him. A kind of phoenix. A new life. Born again.
Perhaps sometimes the purpose is less direct – God using one to judge another. A man becomes disabled because of war. The people who should have helped him when the help would have made a difference, instead make him wait too long to see an MD, so he dies. He goes to heaven. Those who turned their backs on him will be judged, perhaps sent to the lake of fire. They failed the test God put before them. The disabled man was used to test them for judgment. Now look at health care in America today. Many people suffering, but they will have a place in heaven. Those greedy people who put money first and health care last – if any at all – denying health care to those in need, might be headed for the lake of fire.
Thanks again for your help and time.
ON SUNDAY evening, January 16, A.D. 29, Abner, with the apostles of John, reached Bethsaida and went into joint conference with Andrew and the apostles of Jesus the next day. Abner and his associates made their headquarters at Hebron and were in the habit of coming up to Bethsaida periodically for these conferences.
Among the many matters considered by this joint conference was the practice of anointing the sick with certain forms of oil in connection with prayers for healing. Again did Jesus decline to participate in their discussions or to express himself regarding their conclusions. The apostles of John had always used the anointing oil in their ministry to the sick and afflicted, and they sought to establish this as a uniform practice for both groups, but the apostles of Jesus refused to bind themselves by such a regulation.
On Tuesday, January 18, the twenty-four were joined by the tested evangelists, about seventy-five in number, at the Zebedee house in Bethsaida preparatory to being sent forth on the third preaching tour of Galilee. This third mission continued for a period of seven weeks.
The evangelists were sent out in groups of five, while Jesus and the twelve traveled together most of the time, the apostles going out two and two to baptize believers as occasion required. For a period of almost three weeks Abner and his associates also worked with the evangelistic groups, advising them and baptizing believers. They visited Magdala, Tiberias, Nazareth, and all the principal cities and villages of central and southern Galilee, all the places previously visited and many others. This was their last message to Galilee, except to the northern portions.
Of all the daring things which Jesus did in connection with his earth career, the most amazing was his sudden announcement on the evening of January 16: “On the morrow we will set apart ten women for the ministering work of the kingdom.” At the beginning of the two weeks’ period during which the apostles and the evangelists were to be absent from Bethsaida on their furlough, Jesus requested David to summon his parents back to their home and to dispatch messengers calling to Bethsaida ten devout women who had served in the administration of the former encampment and the tented infirmary. These women had all listened to the instruction given the young evangelists, but it had never occurred to either themselves or their teachers that Jesus would dare to commission women to teach the gospel of the kingdom and minister to the sick. These ten women selected and commissioned by Jesus were: Susanna, the daughter of the former chazan of the Nazareth synagogue; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas; Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy Jew of Tiberias and Sepphoris; Martha, the elder sister of Andrew and Peter; Rachel, the sister-in-law of Jude, the Master’s brother in the flesh; Nasanta, the daughter of Elman, the Syrian physician; Milcha, a cousin of the Apostle Thomas; Ruth, the eldest daughter of Matthew Levi; Celta, the daughter of a Roman centurion; and Agaman, a widow of Damascus. Subsequently, Jesus added two other women to this group ― Mary Magdalene and Rebecca, the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea.
Jesus authorized these women to effect their own organization and directed Judas to provide funds for their equipment and for pack animals. The ten elected Susanna as their chief and Joanna as their treasurer. From this time on they furnished their own funds; never again did they draw upon Judas for support.
It was most astounding in that day, when women were not even allowed on the main floor of the synagogue (being confined to the women’s gallery), to behold them being recognized as authorized teachers of the new gospel of the kingdom. The charge which Jesus gave these ten women as he set them apart for gospel teaching and ministry was the emancipation proclamation which set free all women and for all time; no more was man to look upon woman as his spiritual inferior. This was a decided shock to even the twelve apostles. Notwithstanding they had many times heard the Master say that “in the kingdom of heaven there is neither rich nor poor, free nor bond, male nor female, all are equally the sons and daughters of God,” they were literally stunned when he proposed formally to commission these ten women as religious teachers and even to permit their traveling about with them. The whole country was stirred up by this proceeding, the enemies of Jesus making great capital out of this move, but everywhere the women believers in the good news stood stanchly behind their chosen sisters and voiced no uncertain approval of this tardy acknowledgment of woman’s place in religious work. And this liberation of women, giving them due recognition, was practiced by the apostles immediately after the Master’s departure, albeit they fell back to the olden customs in subsequent generations. Throughout the early days of the Christian church women teachers and ministers were called deaconesses and were accorded general recognition. But Paul, despite the fact that he conceded all this in theory, never really incorporated it into his own attitude and personally found it difficult to carry out in practice.
As the apostolic party journeyed from Bethsaida, the women traveled in the rear. During the conference time they always sat in a group in front and to the right of the speaker. Increasingly, women had become believers in the gospel of the kingdom, and it had been a source of much difficulty and no end of embarrassment when they had desired to hold personal converse with Jesus or one of the apostles. Now all this was changed. When any of the women believers desired to see the Master or confer with the apostles, they went to Susanna, and in company with one of the twelve women evangelists, they would go at once into the presence of the Master or one of his apostles.
It was at Magdala that the women first demonstrated their usefulness and vindicated the wisdom of their choosing. Andrew had imposed rather strict rules upon his associates about doing personal work with women, especially with those of questionable character. When the party entered Magdala, these ten women evangelists were free to enter the evil resorts and preach the glad tidings directly to all their inmates. And when visiting the sick, these women were able to draw very close in their ministry to their afflicted sisters. As the result of the ministry of these ten women (afterward known as the twelve women) at this place, Mary Magdalene was won for the kingdom. Through a succession of misfortunes and in consequence of the attitude of reputable society toward women who commit such errors of judgment, this woman had found herself in one of the nefarious resorts of Magdala. It was Martha and Rachel who made plain to Mary that the doors of the kingdom were open to even such as she. Mary believed the good news and was baptized by Peter the next day.
Mary Magdalene became the most effective teacher of the gospel among this group of twelve women evangelists. She was set apart for such service, together with Rebecca, at Jotapata about four weeks subsequent to her conversion. Mary and Rebecca, with the others of this group, went on through the remainder of Jesus’ life on earth, laboring faithfully and effectively for the enlightenment and uplifting of their downtrodden sisters; and when the last and tragic episode in the drama of Jesus’ life was being enacted, notwithstanding the apostles all fled but one, these women were all present, and not one either denied or betrayed him.
Reported by Jim Lantern
LANTERN TIMEGLASS JOURNAL
Wednesday morning, 7 December 2016
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