I had no response. “Everyone prays to get healed here Teresa. It’s a Cancer Center.”
Dr. Scott Timperly was utterly baffled trying to reconcile the lab results she held in front of her with everything western medicine had taught her.
“I suppose I would call it a miracle, I don’t have any other explanation” she said. Seeming both genuinely happy for me and utterly perturbed she had no satisfactory explanation her question lingered in my heart long after I left.
“But why you?”
The truth was I had no idea. There are many disqualifying markers that would indicate I could never merit a miracle. To my disgrace I merited nothing but by His grace, I merited mercy and forgiveness through my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Never the less “numbers don’t lie” and as my multiple lab reports confirmed, I was the one patient my oncologist was stumped by. “I’ve always believed miracles could happen, but till now I’ve never seen one” she said shaking her head.
If a medically certified phenomenon was not enough of a thorn in their side, those close to me were even more perturbed when I shared other long held, sacred encounters I’ve had with the miraculous. Many people are embarrassed or offended by a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ despite their Christian nomenclature. The name of Jesus is a hot button igniting strong emotions on both sides of the spectrum, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Doing a study on the life of Moses I carefully read the remarkable, dramatic highs and the lows of this servants life. The murder of a man in his prime, life as a fugitive, his marriage to an idol worshiping woman and the uncircumcised son that almost cost him everything, just to name a few. Imagine the Lord personally coming to your abode with the intention of killing you???
That’s what happened to this deliverer of Israel who was only spared when his Midianite wife quickly cut the foreskin of her son. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me” she declared. (Exodus 4:24) Moses, God’s great messenger who would bring the Torah and represent the heart of God to his people had violated the very sign of the covenant.
Yet God did not destroy him, he forgave him.
If black marks on one’s life record were able to disqualify us from our divine call we would have never heard Moses’ name. But as Moses repented, greatly humbled himself and resolved to surrender and obey God’s commands, the miraculous flourished in his life. It literally became his daily bread! (Manna in the wilderness; Exodus 16)
Moses went on to be heralded not only as the deliverer of Israel, the receiver of the Torah, the hero of the Jews but God himself described him as utterly unique. “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord.” (Numbers 12)
So what was it about Moses that enabled him to receive and embrace the miraculous? And what is it about you, me, or anyone else that enables us to touch heaven? I believe insight for this is given in Exodus chapter 19. “The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”
During intensely difficult times of my life and in the crucible of my affliction I sought, then heard and responded to God calling me to GO UP. Go up the mountain to a place of solitude and communion with Him in His Divine Presence. With all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I did so and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The subsequent experience resulted in one too holy, too overwhelming and other worldly to even attempt to speak of it. With the exception of my mother and father I kept it hidden in my heart for forty years. That I would discover was great wisdom. Upon the discovery of another health crisis in my life, I did the same.
Moses died at 120 years old and the scripture says “his eyesight hadn’t failed and his strength hadn’t diminished.” (Deuteronomy 34: 5-7) Twice Moses went up into the Presence of God for forty days at a time and existed without food or water during that period. That is not possible in the earthly realm, but Moses stepped out of the earthly realm and existed in the Spirit realm with God, as the angels do. In that spirit realm he was transformed, so much so his face shone as an angel’s when he returned to his people. (Exodus 34:29)
God’s Holy Spirit is utterly life giving. Disease, despair and all forms of darkness can not exist in His Presence. His Spirit heals, renews, refreshes, transforms. It can alter your cells, modify your DNA and regenerate your mind, spirit and soul. His Spirit filled me with joy, gave me unspeakable peace even in the time of trouble. He utterly removed my life long struggle with insomnia and gave me the sleep of the beloved. That to me seemed an even greater miracle.
So what should my answer have been to “Why You???” I understand more now. The very nature and substance of God is that of a merciful healer and deliverer. He transforms from the deepest place of the heart and the body simply complies with His healing essence. He is love, light, mercy and holiness. The shed blood of His holy lamb, Jesus makes a way for us to come before Him without judgment and to be changed by His Divine Presence.
He renewed my youth, decimated my disease and healed deep wounds from a painful past. The scripture says, “He is no respecter of persons.” The only qualification is repentance and a heart hungry and thirsty for truth. For Him.
I now understand my sickness was never a punishment and my healing was never a REWARD. It was the RESULT of truly being in the Presence of God.
My Will, Not Thine Be Done. A prayer most Christians would never dream of praying! But as the daily behavioral skin of the onion is peeled away, the end result may often be the same. Our will, not His.
I’m reminded of the greatest prophets of God reduced to dross and crying out for mercy. “Woe is me, I am undone” groaned Isaiah when he experienced his vision of the Almighty, high and lifted up.
Daniel embraced weeks of great mourning, fasting and prayer after a notable encounter with the Lord. “I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption and I retained no strength.“- Dan. 10:8-9
Daniel, Isaiah and others. Righteous men of God who sought after the Lord, and discovered in the face of His holiness their own righteousness was as “filthy rags.” –Isaiah 64:6 There are none righteous, no not one.
Many of us in the Body of Christ live lives of religious appeasement as we say our quick little prayers and proceed to do our own thing and fulfill our own desires. I have been guilty of the same and worse!
Maybe a deep sense of sorrow over sin fueled Peter’s passion to walk ever so closely with the Lord after he both cursed His holy name and denied Him. Not once but three times.
To think at the end of Peter’s life he requested to be crucified upside down, stating he was not worthy to die in the same manner of his Lord. Peter indeed learned from his failures, confessed his sin and went on to be a great apostle in the kingdom of God. Paul who tortured and murdered Christians, did the same. There is nothing too hard for the Lord. (Jeremiah 32)
Jesus said in Luke 6: 46, “Why do you call me Lord, but not do what I say?” The fact is one can not do what He says, if one does not take the time to hear what He says. I have come to learn the Holy Spirit of God, the comforter, counselor and guide who will lead us into all truth abides with us to do just that! In conjunction with an understanding of the scriptures we are equipped to fulfill God’s destiny for our lives. One decision, one step of obedience, one day at a time.
Romans 8:26 says, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.” Verse 27 says, “And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God…” According to the will of God, the authority of God, the Lordship of God.
So if the Holy Spirit prays through us according to the will of God, will we know what the will of God is? If we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will reveal the will of God to us. Ephesians 5:17 says, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Verse 18 says “…be filled with the Spirit.” Bingo! The vital piece so many of us miss. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
The Spirit, (Presence) of the Lord carries with it the fullness of joy. It is not a burdensome thing to spend time in His Presence and discover His will, it is the most joyous thing in life. So why did I not live like this all my life?
As the prophet Hosea declared “my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” and as the seeds of wisdom and knowledge are planted within us the enemy comes to steal the seed or the cares of this world choke the seed. (Mark 4:19)
Living a lifestyle of intimacy with the Holy Spirit bears much fruit. As a matter of fact the fruit it bears is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control according to Galatians 5:22.
A powerful exchange of turmoil for peace, sorrow for joy and anger for gentleness. Who in their right mind, would not want this deal? Bye, bye anti-depressants and sleeping aids, hello joy!
AND the Holy Spirit comes bearing gifts! The Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom, the Gift of Prophecy, the Gift of Faith, the Gifts of Healing, the Working of Miracles, the Discerning of Spirits, Diversity of Tongues and the Interpretation of Tongues. Each one a powerful key to unlock mysteries of the super-natural promises of God meant for each one of us, not just a special few. For as Peter learned first hand “God is no respecter of persons.”
Aaahhh……doubtful? Think you can not know the Holy Spirit? Well you can.
The scripture describes him as a dove. A gentle, tender dove. Non-threatening, unlike a bird of prey, doves subsist on seeds and grain. They are particular about where they go, what they eat and are categorized as “clean” birds, not fowl of the air. The symbolism is perfect as this Holy Spirit Dove yearns for a sanctuary in our hearts to abide in. He desires to bring with Him treasured gifts, peace and the resultant work of sanctification. He is more gracious and forgiving than one can imagine and He waits to be invited into our hearts. He waits for you to prepare Him an abode.
Once the blood of Jesus has washed and cleansed you and his broken body has healed your broken spirit the Holy Spirit is ready to come. All you must do is earnestly, sincerely confess your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Then invite the Holy Spirit to come and abide inside of you! He yearns to reveal Himself to you! Do not allow misappropriated priorities, the cares and distractions of life, self-will, sin and rebellion to build a wall between you and this gentle dove. He is your life line to the Father.
Don’t start this holiday season without Him! He wants to fill you with the joy, peace and extra-ordinary blessing of His Spirit. He may bring a life transforming word or give you bread for a desperately hungry soul that only you can feed. I bless the Holy Spirit of God, the lesser known person of God’s Trinity of Being and pray you will embrace Him with each sunrise. He awaits your invitation.
What is the value of a soul? In short, it depends on who you ask. To our beloved Heavenly Father it is of immeasurable price. What father would sacrifice the life of his only cherished son for something of little worth? What son would forsake a paradisaical bliss to be clothed in flesh and pierced by iron stakes? What is the value of a soul? To the heart of a loving mother it is impossible to quantify and to the heart of a zealous betrothed it is everything.
Even to the prince of darkness there is great value, though not intrinsically.
In the unseen cosmic warfare of the heavens, a soul is his weapon of choice. With calculated patience the cunning one hones his most potent, diabolical strategy of attack against his nemesis. As the cheated drug lord delights in the murderous revenge of a man’s most precious treasure, his wife, children and family so this lord of darkness relishes the slow torture and swift demise of the fathers beloved ones. Those made in his very image. Like the skewed eye of an unforgiving wife who is chaffed by the ex-husband’s look alike child, Lucifer daily detests the reminder we bring him. The fact that the earth, his current geographical domain is promised as an inheritance to God’s children further fuels his fire for he knows the scripture better than any church going saint.
I listened intently as a man shared his life altering unexpected encounter in heaven. Having had such an experience myself, his words resonated within me as indisputable truth. Upon entering paradise, he watched a never ending line of souls leaving this world to an even greater darkness. He looked in horror and great distress as tormenting fear overcame them and they realized all they had heard of heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ was true. They had rejected him during their lives on earth, some by careless words, some not by their words but by their behavior. Simply put; they were not made ready to meet Him. Overwhelming distress and astonishment overtook them as they came to understand the glory, peace and bliss of heaven would not be theirs.
The minister wept knowing their true torment had not yet begun. Stunned by the symbolism they bore as they went, the Lord God showed him lives spent in the worship of the god of money (wrapped in dollar bills) engulfed in bottles of alcohol and vials of drugs (or as the Hebrew text calls pharmaka, what the bible defines as sorcery) and souls wrapped in the dirty filth of lust. He understood the demon gods they served on earth would be the merciless gods they would now serve for eternity.
As I listened to his words I was taken back to my own encounter and its impact. I also wept. I marveled at the cunning of this great deceiver, who the bible calls by many names. The serpent, the dragon, the god of this world, the prince of darkness and the angel of light. Lucifer. The enemy of God and the enemy of our souls. Quietly I sat and contemplated the heart-wrenching vision he described and I thought again; what is the value of a soul? Clearly to our Lord Jesus a soul is worth the price of the cruelest cross and to the lord of darkness it is no more and no less than a means to an end. Revenge.
On a surprisingly crisp Monday morning I welcomed delicious coffee and our spectacular New Mexico sky. Opening my ipad Bible I resumed reading where I left off. Again I was struck by the parallels between ancient Israel and the church of God today. Thousands of years have passed, cultures have changed, but the condition of men’s hearts remain the same.
Finding myself in Ezekiel chapter 28 the prophetic word of judgment delivered to the King of Tyre intrigued me. It was as if the Spirit of the Lord stopped speaking to the man and began speaking to the spirit behind the man. The dark power that provoked, propelled and fueled the arrogance and evil of this King of Tyre. But whether to him, Nebuchadnezzar, Egypt’s Pharaoh, or more modern day emissaries (Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong) this same word applies. “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, “I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods…yet you are but a man and no god.” Then to the Prince of darkness himself, ” You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God… so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God.”
Pondering the push-button heinous act Satan committed that got him cast out of God’s paradise I took a closer look at the original Hebrew language. Profane…. the word God used to describe him. Lucifer, the son of the morning (or morning star as he is called) became the first of God’s vile, profane creatures. Once a magnificent being he now bore the curse of God. To my complete surprise the Hebrew word for profane is Halal. Halal…. a word I was sure I recognized but couldn’t quite place. Looking further I discovered in the original Hebrew translation the word means, not only profane, but to make sick. I realized Halal is the term placed on Islamic meat and other food products. Quite a label to place on something you are about to ingest.
In Arabic the word means lawful or permissible, but that begs the question; permissible to who? Halal certification requires a sacrificing of the animals life to Allah via an explicit posture, form of slaughter and prayer.
“In the Name of Allah; Allah is the greatest.” Greatest? Compared to who? I could not help recall the “permissible” act in the garden of Eden when Satan deceived the woman into disobeying God’s command.
Permissible he said, but the consequence of eternal death he never mentioned.
Many say Allah is simply another name for God but is that true? Could Allah be the same God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob? The Holy and revered Creator of Christians and Jews? If so, why would the Lord God describe an act intended as a means of sanctification with the very word He defines as to defile? I discovered Halal is also the phonetic pronunciation of the word (name) Heylel. Heylel is the Hebrew word for the name Lucifer, whose root means a sense of brightness, the morning star or son of the morning. In essence when one says the word halal they are in effect pronouncing the name of Lucifer, the nemesis of God’s people. I marveled that the emblem of their food stamp was marked with a name that literally meant: Lucifer, Profane, To Make Sick. This was just the start of what would become for me a most fascinating and troubling exploration.
We read in the prophet Isaiah’s description of Lucifer (chapter 14) he is depicted as the star that fell from heaven. This star was captured in the graphic representation of the crescent moon and star, which became the symbol for Baal worship through out antiquity. Honoring the light that rules the darkness, Baal was considered the moon god. The graphic icon seems the perfect symbolism. Another surprise was my discovery of the original meaning of the word crescent, which in Hebrew means surrounded by walls or a prison. Quite telling considering the crescent moon represented the very host of hell’s prison.
Archeologists have discovered this icon of Baal on ancient sculpture, murals, glyphs, coins and jewelry and Isaiah chapter three reveals the judgment of God on the Israelites who wore the crescent moon symbol as jewelry.
The emblem was used for many nations historically. The Canaanites, Phoenicians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Assyrians all included it in their worship of Baal. Expressions of worship to this god included open displays of sexual deprivation, eating meat sacrificed to the idols of Baal, the sacrificial death of infants, the use of alcohol and sorcery, (or as the Hebrew calls it; pharmakeia; the use of mind altering drugs) cutting, piercing and marring of the worshipers bodies in self-mutilation. Even the earliest form of pornography was celebrated as temple prostitutes openly engaged in sordid sexual acts under the direction of Jezebel. The infamous kings wife was committed to having Baal worship become the national religion for Israel. Baal even welcomed defecation in his worship at the Mt. of Peor, a place where sadly 24,000 Jews died for their idolatry.
Jewish Midrash tells the story of a man that used Baal’s altar as a latrine. In the story the spirit spoke welcoming the urination and defecation as a flattering form of worship and so it was, Baal Peor became the most vile of Baal’s altars and a place of terrible judgment for the Jews. The Talmud relates another story: “There was once a gentile woman who was very ill and who vowed, “If I recover from my illness, I will go and worship every idol in the world.” She recovered and proceeded to worship every idol in the world. When she came to Peor she asked it’s priests, “How is this one worshiped?” Said they to her, “One eats greens and drinks beer, and then one defecates before the idol.” Said she, “I”d rather return to my illness then to worship an idol in such a manner.” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 64a)
Islam uses this same Baal icon, the Crescent moon and Star to represent their god Allah. It displays at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, on all of their halal food products and its flag flies high at mosques all around the world. It is the very mark of Islam. Called the Lord of all gods, Baal was referred to as the Locust King which the Bible also references as the King of demons. He was the god of war and rebellion, the god of violence. He was believed to be the god of fertility for both seeds sown in the earth and in the womb and life and death was attributed to him.
I marvel how this crescent moon and star represents over 1.6 billion people in Islam today, and how the earmark characteristics of Baal worship are still so vibrantly displayed in cultures around the world. Certainly the volume of child sacrifice, (abortion) pharmakeia, ( prescription drug epidemic) sexual promiscuity and violence is rampant in our modern age. Tragically we have more in common with the Baal worship of thousands of years ago than we would like to admit.
I came across a quote in the Huffington Post written by a resident legal scholar with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation named Liaquat Ali Khan. He clarifies what he believes is the Baal-Allah connection for us. ” To renounce any lingering qualms about the relevance of Baal, Sure al-Waqia of the Qur’an makes it clear that Allah is the sole authority that provides fertility to the seeds sown in the earth and He is the one who sends rain from the clouds and He is the creator of life and death (thus rebutting existence of the deity known as Mot.) This Sura shifts the powers once associated with Baal to Allah. (56:60-70).”
It seems a rather transparent re-packaging to me.
I thought I would take things a bit further and explore whether the actual name of Allah appeared anywhere in the Bible. I was again stunned to find the Hebrew word Alah and its meaning defined as cursed, or an oath to curse. Cursed, just as the serpent was in the garden of Eden. Could all of this be nothing more than coincidence? I think not.
War, rebellion, violence. Cursed, profane, to make sick. There are many names the Bible uses to describe the evil one. Destroyer, deceiver, adversary, angel of light, Beelzebul ( lord of dung), angel of the abyss ( death angel) and more. Jesus described him as a thief, a liar and a murderer from the beginning. Jesus also attributed sickness and disease to Satan. (halal) It is not so surprising to have our Lord call the enemy of our soul these revealing names, but I did find it interesting that even Muslims call their god Allah the Destroyer ( Al-Mumit) and Deceiver (Al-Makr, meaning the greatest deceiver). In John chapter 10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure.”
One has to consider who this god of Islam really is. Is it the same God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? I think not.
Scripture says we will know a tree by its fruit. Genesis shows us everything begets after its own kind. After reading large portions of the Quran, the Hadith and the other sacred (?) writings of Islam I was literally appalled at the commandments of violence and the hatred their prophet spewed forth. Having been raised believing the Quran was their version of our “Bible” I was speechless at what it actually says and how little I understood about it.
What a contrast to Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.
Maybe it is best summed up by a quote from one of Muhammed’s most ardent ambassadors. “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah”- Ayatollah Khomeini
It’s appearance was like Coriander with an indistinguishable hint of fragrance. It glistened with a pearl like luster and its taste? I guess one might say it was congruent with its origin. A wafer thin heavenly bread tasting as if it were cooked in oil and finished with a touch of honey. ( Numbers 11:7) They ate it raw, ground it and baked cakes with it. This manna appeared suddenly one day with the early morning dew. As the Israelite’s rose to discover this unusual sight, words of astonishment fell from their lips. “What is it?” they asked one another. Hence its name in Hebrew means just that. WHAT IS IT? As is often the case it was more than it seemed. Their heaven sent sustenance, yes, but it foretold something greater than they could imagine.
“Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations” Moses told Aaron. So in the Holy of Holies, guarded by the intricately woven Cherubim veil, this most holy place safeguarded the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod and the tablets of the testimony bearing the ten commandments.
In not many days the joy and gratitude for this miraculous provision turned to loathing. Having their every need met by the miraculous, they lusted for the familiarity of sin.
“But now we have lost our appetite! We never see anything but this manna!” they complained. “Meat, we want meat….why did we come out of Egypt?” (Numbers 11) And God satisfied their cravings as He “rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas.” (Psalm 78: 27) But God was not pleased with their yearning, for at its core it was covetousness. It spoke of an appetite not for the things of God but for a life of sensual pleasure and idolatry. Like us, they were not only slaves to Pharaoh but to their corrupt, death ridden natures. And He longed to deliver them.
Forty years later, Joshua safely brought this nation into the promised land. It was there they celebrated their first Passover and ate its fruit and the heavenly manna ceased.
Silently lying in its sacred bowl, the presence of God abode with this miraculous bread from heaven in the Holy of Holies. As it could only be.
I was startled to learn the Hebrew word omer, in its root amar, means: to pile on blows of chastisement, to deal tyrannically with, to treat as a slave. Another surprise was the characteristic ascribed to manna in scripture: The propensity for vast multiplication. The Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart.
“Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that come down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” ( John 6:32, 48-50)
“What is it?” they asked. “What is it?” you may wonder. It is the perfect sacrifice of the Father’s Son. The Spotless Lamb. The grain of wheat planted in the earth to die only to bring forth much fruit. Our Lord Jesus, the true manna took the blows of chastisement for our peace and suffered the scourge of a cat of nine tails for our healing. He tyrannically paid a debt He never owed and lay dead in a borrowed tomb. During those three days He erased the death sentence for each one of us. He apprehended the keys of Hell and He decimated the power of the grave. When He resurrected He resurrected an entirely new creation, a new breed of creation. He became the first born of many brethren.
The omer of manna in the pot was even the designated quota (ten percent) God chose for His First Fruits Offering. As He resurrected on the third day Jesus did so with a magnificent First Fruit offering for His Father. For many of the bodies of the saints arose and entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Mathew 27: 52-53)
My prayer is that the Lord will give us an appetite for the food that truly satisfies. The Bread from heaven and the water of life of His Spirit that springs up to eternal life and eternal joy. It really is the only thing that completes the human heart regardless of circumstance. It makes all the wonderful things of earth pale in comparison and it utterly satisfies.
Jesus the Bread of Life. The manna that heals our broken spirits, renews our worn out bodies and transforms our spirits to the new breed of creation Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for.