Sunday, August 07, 2005

mingling the seeds ...

We had a visiting pastor speak at our church today and he had quite an interesting Word for us ...

He based his sermon on Deuteronomy 22:9 "You shall not sow your vineyard with different kinds of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled."

this guy had us jumping all over the Bible to support his comments. i did not agree with everything he spoke on (a little unbalanced on the 'name it, claim it' side - there's nothing worse than one pastor commenting on another pastor's sermon, huh?) but i wanted to write about one part of the sermon that really impacted me.

when he talked about 'seed', he talked about it in relation to the Word of God, but also to our words. i've often taught that our words have life. they will either give birth to life or death in our lives and those around us.

Proverbs 4:22 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

Luke 6:45, Matthew 12:34 ... For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

He went on to talk about us speaking life and death over ourselves at the same time ... mingling our seeds ... and receiving the harvest of defiled fruit. When we speak 'i know God will heal me, i've been healed by the stripes of Christ' and when it takes longer for the healing to manifest itself, we say 'i wonder if the Lord is trying to teach me something from this illness' that we are in fact sowing different seeds into our lives. those of faith and those of unbelief.

theologians like to argue about this concept almost as much as they do election and predestination.

while i am not going to provide an answer to this, i want to share what the Lord showed me ...

this is profound because my husband and i have struggled with illness almost from the first of april this year. first me with gallbladder and torn ligaments in my ankle and then him with a serious enough back injury to put him off work longer than he has ever been in his 40+ year career.

we've wondered what we've done wrong. we've prayed. we've fasted. we've rebuked the enemy and infirmity. we've asked the Lord to show us what to do. but we have still been left to struggle through this illness and glorify the Lord as much as we could during the process.

i've always been impatient with people who will ask you how you feel and when you tell them the truth they say: 'no, you are healed by the Stripes of Jesus!'. i looked at the cast and felt the pain in my foot and wondered, 'well, where is it?' why would i want to lie when the truth is, i'm injured and in pain and to tell someone that i was healed would be a lie.

what the Lord showed me was ... from the moment that the illnesses started to manifest, even before they started to manifest ... the healing power of Christ on the Cross was manifest in our bodies and our lives. and since 'greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world' and since 'the very power which raised Christ from the dead lives within us' ... all we need to do is agree with the healing work of God and speak into it rather than not.

another way of saying it - according to our friend:
the facts are ... the ankle is sore and ligaments are torn.
the truth is ... the power of Christ is working in that ankle to bring it to complete healing ...

now that i can wrap my mouth around. that i can take into my heart and believe.

the challenge is to speak life into the situation or the illness like 'i thank You Lord that Your power is working in my ankle to bring it to complete healing! not 'i don't think this thing is healing, etc.'

it doesn't help me to explain to the precious couple who came to me this week asking why their ten day old baby died when they had been speaking these words of life and faith over her, but i guess that is another post, huh?

i'm not questioning my faith ... hear me ... i know the Lord is faithful and that He heals ... i received a complete physical healing from multiple sclerosis eight years ago! i just needed to look at it another way.

what do you think???


annie said...

"all we need to do is agree with the healing work of God and speak into it rather than not."

Ah, then, but what does it mean when a brother dies of the cancer that has struck him? And what about the couple who lost their baby?

I am no theologian, so I fear getting onto a slippery slope here, but I am interested in your thoughts, and I'd like to be able to respectfully ask my questions.

Illness happens, can we say when someone is not healed that they are somehow blocking the healing power of God? I don't think so, but I am open to hearing what you have to say.

(I am assuming you are speaking strictly of physical healing that would take place here on earth, rather than the "healing" or transforamtion that would oddur after death. Again, I am no theologian, but what I think I hear you saying is that we are responsible when we are not healed from illness. What I hear is that the couple who lost their baby are somehow responsible by the lack of their faith for the loss of their baby....maybe my hearing is faulty. Please forgive me if I have misintepreted your words, and know that I am only asking an honest question that perhaps is motivated by events in my own life.

annie said...

"but we have still been left to struggle through this illness and glorify the Lord as much as we could during the process."

This is more in line with what I think often happens, and even though we are left to struggle, I don't think it is always due to a lack of faith. We do live in a fallen world and stuff happens. And sometimes, the way we as Christians deal with our stuff speaks volumes to those around us.

Carolyn said...

you're right with my 'theology', Annie in the second post. i have struggled with the 'name it claim it' doctrine for many many years. my experience as a pastor and psychotherapist belies the idea that we can somehow buy our healing or God's grace by our faith or confession.

what i meant by my first comment is that in our daily walk, our confession could be positive in the present ... giving to God's perfect will in the situation.

it is just the situation with this couple who lost the baby or my precious mentor who died of cancer after having been healed up it three times.

i believe God's will is God's will. that is why Jesus prayed - three times and with different meaning to the word each time (in the Greek) - maybe another post i can do tomorrow. Jesus said - not my will by thy Will Father. That means complete submission of the will of Jesus to the Will of the Father ... His predetermined will.

(now we can get into predestination versus election versus ... and maybe we should ...?????)

i love this kind of conversation.

theologian ... maybe i am by degree, but i still feel so very inadequate to interpret the finite with my finite mind. it is very irreverant to me. lol

~m2~ said...

it's late and i have insomnia (and a bad belly, truth be told), but wanted to comment on this:

i did not agree with everything he spoke on (a little unbalanced on the 'name it, claim it' side - there's nothing worse than one pastor commenting on another pastor's sermon, huh?) but i wanted to write about one part of the sermon that really impacted me.

how do you move beyond the things a pastor says and are bothersome and not dismiss the sermon in its entirety based on your opinion on the one or two things that don't *sit* right with you?

i have a hard time with that, and it's probably why i have a hard time with people like (gulp) joyce meyer. she had me for a while, but i found oftentimes her theology was a bit skewed and now i can't even watch her.


i'll be back to comment on the healing/physical stuff later when i can get beyond my initial question and the tummy aches goes away.

(maybe i need to pray a prayer of healing???)

love ya :) (hi, annie!!! love ya too, girl...)

Carolyn said...

too funny, pen. i'll be praying for your tummy to heal.

as for how do i get past them? this one particular guy has a delivery that grates on my nerves to be honest. i do not like his voice, it hurts my ears, and he's quite choleric, so his delivery is quite forceful. it's just his temperament.

what i listen for is God's Word through the thing. to be honest, it took me several minutes to get into what he was saying and i regret i did not take notes.

but ... God's Word was all over this thing.

you see, we all interpret His Word through our own perspective. that's why we have such trouble with each other's doctrine.

i just submit my flesh (mind, will, emotions = soul ... and body) to my spirit, and my spirit under the Holy Spirit of God, and He always gives me His message inspite of the delivery. i don't know if that makes sense, but many years as a bible college student, pastor and now bible college professor has netted me many, many, many boring sermons that had a great Word within them.

look past the servant, ask the Lord to give you the message He gave them. if they are speaking the Word of God, truth is in there just for you from Him, if you only listen to HIM and not to the speaker.

that's love. when i crucified my flesh, the Lord gave me a rhema that i will hold on to for many years. many questions were answered.

i think i've told you many, many times before that the truth really does lie somewhere in the middle of the two discenting camps on these doctrinal issues. when the Lord provides rhema, i KNOW it is the truth.

does that make sense? love ya too...

really looking forward to your take on this one. all of us will be able to fill in the holes on what we believe or have experienced with loving, respectful discussion ... looking forward to it.

Carolyn said...

"Illness happens, can we say when someone is not healed that they are somehow blocking the healing power of God? I don't think so, but I am open to hearing what you have to say."

annie, that's exactly what i am trying to say. some of the people i run with - or who are in the non-demonination (lol) i am in, are of the 'name it, claim it/faith' camp and will not allow anyone to say anything negative.

if you say - i have a flu - they say 'nope, by the stripes of Christ, you are healed'. it always made me feel like an idiot, pastor or not.

the facts are - you have a flu, darn it.

what God showed me today is the balance in this.

the facts are ... you have a flu. yes. the truth is ... at the moment that flu started to attack your body, the healing power of Jesus - the stripes - started to work. so, we can speak into that and thank God for that and feel better and trust our incredibly made bodies to heal us, or we can make ourselves miserable and speak fatigue and sickness over ourselves.

that's the day to day stuff.

where it comes to those who go home with the Lord from cancer or babies who die at 10 days old, that's a completely different thing.

our faith may move mountains. our faith may be part of us being healed of these things - IF IT IS GOD's WILL - but if it is not, our faith is not the reason for us not being healed. God's will was. (and yes, eventually, eternally, we are healed anyway, aren't we?)

it's a difficult discussion. a very big thing to wrap our minds around ... that is why there are so many doctrines around it.

i'd rather err in my theology on the side of loving ... not to leave a person feeling condemned for not having enough faith to be healed as the 'name it, claim it' camp can do.

what d'ya think?

loren said...

Hi Carolyn,

Jesus taught us to pray, 'Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven'. In others words, we believe it is a settled matter in heaven but it is not yet manifest on earth. We're praying for the manifestation without doubting the fact (oops, the truth).

Breakthrough thought for me: 'Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the confidence of things unseen.' (Heb 11:1 NASB). In other words there are two parts to faith. Our part is to have confidence in God that He will fullfill His promise; but God's part, until it is fulfilled, is that He will periodically assure us of the promise --- just as He returned twice more to assure Abraham that He would bring him a son, Isaac.

Anyway, saw your blog while surfing around and wanted to share that. Thanks.

Carolyn said...

loren, that is good.

and that is essentially what i believe the Lord was showing me ... and ... keep speaking the faith into the situation ... it can only help the healing process - as we know is proven scientifically.

should you return, and i pray you do ... would you give me a take on what could be said to the couple who lost their little baby? which actually started this thought process in the first place.

my faith is extremely strong and i trust the Lord to do His Will in any situation. i know He took this child and had His purpose for doing so. i trust and believe in that.

but ... how do we comfort a grieving mom who just wants to hold her baby and cannot understand why her faith was 'not strong enough' to save her.

she said to me ... sure, i was healed, sure, my son came home after 5 years missing ... it is easy for me to have faith ... but she lost her baby.

i'm interested in other's opinions.

loren said...

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for coming to visit my blog and for your kind remarks. I’m actually writing a module on faith at this time, so this was a very ‘current’ subject for me. But your question is a very tender, difficult one, which is not necessarily related to faith per se.

God views death much differently than we do. Our great comfort is that Jesus Himself holds the keys of death, and it is appointed for man once to die (Rev 1:18; Heb 9:27). Even if we cannot understand the reasons, manner, or timing involved, death is never an accident or an indictment of anyone’s faith. It is God’s will at work.

Since all of us will one day die (though through Him we shall live,) our comfort is in knowing that Jesus has this event absolutely, fully, completely in His hands. Ironically, the picture that comes to my mind is a mother who holds a baby in her arms; and in a similar, complete picture of a quieted trust, Jesus takes us into His arms through death, and we may totally be at peace in His arms.

In God’s eyes, death is also a deliverance from this world and the trials to come. In ourselves, of course, we have sorrow when a loved one is taken, but God asks us to see it as He does, and to consider this perspective:

The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.”
(Isa 57:1-2)

Also, as strange as it may seem, the truly comforting thought can be that we, too, will die one day, and when this occurs we will be reunited with our loved ones. And this is something that no one will take from us (1 Thes 4:13-18).

Earlier, I mentioned that this is not a matter having to do with faith per se. No one should feel that a failure in their own faith occasioned the death of another person – God doesn’t work that way. But this does go back to an understanding of what faith really is, and what it is not:

Faith occurs when God has initiated, and man has responded; just as Abraham “believed in the Lord, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”. When man initiates and expects God to respond, it is not faith but presumption (Lam 3:37,38; Is 40:13,14).

If there is a matter in which we desire God’s help, we need to start by taking our petition to Him. Unless and until He issues the decree, we have no object for our faith. But once He speaks and makes the promise, we can respond with faith in Him to perform what He has spoken. An excellent example is in Matt 9:27-30. Two blind men cried out for a healing, but in itself this did not heal them. Then Jesus took over the initiative and asked them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They responded Yes. At this point He issued the decree, and faith as a response to Him was born, so their healing came immediately.

Here’s something that requires some thought. Sometimes, as Charismatics, we presume a little too much on the Lord because of the Scriptures. If God said it once, it’s for us too, so we believe on that basis. But I think when we do this, we are often willing to settle for the arrangement instead of the relationship, whereas God wants both.

Consider Jesus Himself as an example of what I’m saying. His entire life was foretold by the prophets, and He was the Word made flesh so He knew exactly what to say and do. Yet, He did not act on this alone. “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49).

It is through being led by the Spirit of God that we are sons of God; and knowledge cannot be allowed to take this place. The purpose of the knowledge is to point us to the living relationship (see 2 Tim 1:12). So we have to be careful, or sadly, our own knowledge of Scripture can start to shut the Lord out in those living terms. In effect, we could use this knowledge to play ‘holy spirit’ to ourselves, to guide ourselves, and to presume on the Lord’s power.

Yes, He’s still the same and He hasn’t changed His mind about anything He said in the Scriptures, it’s just that He wants the relationship too. He wants to lead us, not just respond to our Scriptural knowledge. I’m not sure if I’m making this clear, but I hope the heart is breaking through my words.

So if we know what the Scriptures say, we should put Him in remembrance of His words and use this as a basis for making a request. We should persevere in this until we perceive that He has taken over the initiative and issued the decree on our behalf. At that point faith is a proper response. Before that, it seems presumptuous. The Bible says we have not, because we believe not? No, we have not because we ask not. The difference is in arrangement vs. relationship. Again, I hope my heart is breaking through.

Carolyn, this is already a long post so I don’t want to open another subject, but may I ask? Has everyone in your church been baptized? (I now that sounds odd, but there’s a reason for this question).

WES ELLIS said...

"honesty's best" so they say. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves, I've often heard people say, "I'm blessed, good was for when I wasn't saved" in response to a simple "how are ya?" Sometimes we don't feel so great, sometimes we just aren't healed... yet. Honesty's best.

Carolyn said...

yes, wes. i agree. so much. that's one of the things that prompted my interest in this discussion.

i realize we are moving into a few doctrinal areas, but this is good ... thanks for your input.

loren, i loved your post. i brought up many if not most of your comments to her ... maybe not as eloquently as you, but i don't have it in writing either. my heart aches, just aches for this precious woman. i wish i could give her a shot of 'feel good', but only her Father can do that. this is a journey for the two, He is mighty enough to keep her and teach her.

i guess part of the challenge of the ministry is not to bear the burdens and although i do not believe i am, i am also thinking about what i've been taught, what others have said, what the Word says and what the Lord is saying.

at this point, it is a mish mash of ideas, but i know the Lord will be faithful to bring it all into clarity.

blessings, thanks for your responses.

anyone else??

Carolyn said...

loren, interesting question considering i am discussing baptism on another blog right now.

i am not senior pastor of the church so i would not know if all are baptized but it is talked about, encouraged and made available.

why do you ask? i'd love to know. you may email me if you like so as to not disturb the flow of this thread. we may just start another one on this topic? i'd like that a lot.

annie said...

Carolyn, I see what you mean about the difference in dealing with the day to day stuff and then the difference in facing the more difficult issues, such as the death of a baby.

This has been a thought-provoking discussion and I will continue to follow it. I certainly don't have any answers. Once, I thought I did, but that was before facing some of the realities I now face in my life. All I can say for sure is that God has been faithful through it all.

I have had an experience sort of the opposite of the young mother who lost her baby. Instead of having someone minister to me who knew victory from her trials, one of the woman who has ministered to me through the continuing trials of my son's addition issues lost her own son a year ago. Who can explain why God could call her to reach out to me, when she no longer has her son, and I do? Who can explain how she has been able to do such a thing, except ny the grace of God?

May God brings His comfort to that young mother in her loss. And may He lead people to her who will listen and sit with her without trying to hard to find an explanation, who are comfortable enough in their faith to say "I don't know" when she asks why, or how this could be.

Carolyn said...

Annie said ... This has been a thought-provoking discussion and I will continue to follow it. I certainly don't have any answers. Once, I thought I did, but that was before facing some of the realities I now face in my life. All I can say for sure is that God has been faithful through it all. yes, that is so true. it is easy to judge another's reaction to something when we've not been through challenging times ourselves, isn't it?

i keep going back to loving ... when you've been hurt or experienced a trauma, it somehow makes these theological discussions almost silly.

i read somewhere ... i wish i could remember where so i could give the person credit, and this is 'carolyn's paraphrase' ...

but pride is judging someone for having a different opinion and trying to convince them that you're right. humility is allowing them to hold their opinion and trusting God to show both of you the truth.


Anonymous said...

Carolyn, I've been in a discussion about this very subject with Bryan. So most of my thoughts about it are on his blog.

This is what I think. In His sovereignty, God alone decides who He will heal and who He will not. (and it looks like the discussion is strictly about physical healing). It seems that God desires to heal some and develop others.

Look at Scripture:

"And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." Luke 4:27

God chose to heal the one.

"And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." Matt 8:2

He said if YOU are willing; and Jesus was.

The fact is not everyone is healed - I mean that's pretty obvious. So are we then going to 'blame them' by telling them THEY are at fault somehow?

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:1-3

He was blind so that God could be glorified through him.

Or do we tell people they're not healed b/c they don't have 'enough' faith? What exactly is 'enough?' And how does one muster up that quantity?

In my discussion with Bryan, I've tried to research and find somewhere in Scripture that says God desires us to all be healthy. I don't see it. I do see that He tells us we will suffer, we will encounter trials and tribulations. (Bryan didn't think illness fell under trials and tribs) ??? I see illness, especially chronic, life-threatening illness as most definitely trials.

His power is made perfect in weakness.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

And of course:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

And in the healing accounts in the gospels there are numerous verses where it says "many" were healed. Many is not "all," so not all were healed.

Where do we get that "by His wounds we are healed" to mean physical healing? One of the cross references to this verse lead me to "confess your sins one to another, and pray for each other that you may be healed." This certainly doens't pertain to physical healing.

OK, now most of my thoughts are now on your blog. :) Sorry to ramble, but you know me. :) It's just been a fresh subject lately.

Carolyn said...

gayla, i love it. great post. you're fighting the fight i've fought on this with the same Scriptures. i agree with you completely.

i actually had the opportunity to talk to this pastor last night and ask him what he would have said to this precious dear woman.

his answer?

well, God has not failed, and the Word has not failed. So she will have to ask for wisdom as to what did.

he then proceeded to tell me all about the things that prevent healing.


my eyes bugged out of my head, my jaw dropped. i really had no answer for him.

what i see is there is such polarization on so many theological issues ... and each camp can quote Scripture after Scripture to support it.

He heals where He heals, He doesn't where He doesn't. we do not know why ...

maybe, just maybe, the truth is somewhere in the middle of the two?

Carolyn said...

oh, and most important?

He is good and faithful.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Carolyn!

If our underlying and sustaining belief is that *God Is Good* then we can even view the seemingly *bad* events as good. Does that make sense?

If we believe that 'God is for us' then we know He will give us grace for the moment - when we need it.

annie said...

"He heals where He heals, He doesn't where He doesn't." I think that is one of the hardest things for a lot of people to accept. We are often guilty of wanting everything neatly explained and logical, and we forget that God does not usually work that way. If we can figure it all out, then we could be God, and I don't mean that in a disrespectful way. I mean God's ways are not our ways and life (and disappointments) gets less complicated when we can accept that.

Carolyn, I like how you put this: "but pride is judging someone for having a different opinion and trying to convince them that you're right. humility is allowing them to hold their opinion and trusting God to show both of you the truth."

And Gayla, I think you have expressed things well too.

What a great discussion.

pete porter said...

You've got it, "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free". Facts are subject to the truth. You hold to the word of the Lord. Don't let anyone or situation cause you to doubt, the word rules, forever!!!!
Be Blessed,

Carolyn said...

annie, have i told you how much i love your spirit? your post reminds me of the story of job. some things we just do not understand.

byan, thanks for coming in and
taking a look. i am fascinated that you would respond that way!

my faith is not my problem, its strength surprizes me and i realize it is a wonderful gift from the Lord, not something i have exercised. sometimes i struggle with communicating it and since i am a professor, i am always looking for other metaphors or methods by which i can communicate it to those who think differently.

this healing thing has been of interest to me since my own healing. i guess because my life Scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6, leaning on my own understanding is not something that i know i should do, but at the same time, it is my struggle. interesting?

this has been such an interesting conversation. i thank each and every one who joined in.