As most of you know, my particular ministry is teaching about healing, and that is a multi-faceted subject.  As human beings, we are focused on our earthly life from the time we are born until we die.  Only when we become aware of God do we start thinking beyond our earthly life.  At some point in everyone’s life, God moves to make His presence known to them, and we are presented with a choice whether to accept Him or reject Him.  God doesn’t just give us one opportunity to know Him, then He’s gone, but rather, He will keep pulling on our heart strings until we receive Him, or tell Him to get lost and never speak to us again. It is written in 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We can see how loving God is, that He is not willing that ANY should perish, so He keeps tugging at us to turn to Him, so we won’t be lost.  That is HIS choice, and He even went so far as to provide the payment for our sins.  Think of it like this:  we have run up a huge sin debt against God, and He doesn’t want us to be in debt whatsoever, so He paid the bill.  It would be like you having a huge credit card debt with World Bank, and their representative contacted you and said, “You have an overwhelmingly huge credit card debt with us, but we don’t want you to be in debt, so we will pay off the debt ourselves if you will let us.  What do you say?”

Well, if you have a brain in your head, you will say, “YES, THANK YOU! “ And your debt is cancelled.  Can you imagine someone saying, “NO, it’s my debt, and I want to keep it” ?  But surprisingly, there are MANY who do that!  Whichever we choose, that is what we will get.  You see, that is a picture of what the free gift of God concerning salvation is.  Why am I hitting so hard on this today?  Because it is a free gift that many have heard about, but have not laid claim to yet.  Maybe YOU are one of them, I don’t know, but it’s available to all who ask, and if you haven’t asked, don’t let that free gift slip out of your hands, because we never know when our life will be over.  Many have MEANT to receive Christ Jesus, but kept putting it off, and eternity slipped up and caught them unawares, and I don’t want that to happen to you.

This earthly life is full of troubles and trials that seem to mingle with the good times, somewhat like beautiful, fragrant roses with thorny stems, or huge juicy blackberries in a thorny bush full of chiggers.  God doesn’t promise us roses without thorns, but He promises to be with us in those hard times, and never leave or forsake us.  Sometimes sickness and disease raises its ugly head in our lives, and if it happens to YOU, I will try to minister God’s Word to you to bring healing to you.

God’s Word shows us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the account of the earthly life and ministry of Christ Jesus of Nazareth, Y’shua Messiah.  As Jesus taught the multitudes about His heavenly Father and the Kingdom of God, He healed all the sick who came to Him or were brought to Him by others; and he NEVER refused to heal even one of them.  Back in 1993, I was diagnosed with five melanomas and liver cancer and was given only about three weeks to live.

Well, even though I went to church every week, thinking I was doing God some great favor, I was unsaved, meaning I had a huge sin-debt that I owed God, with no way to pay.  He graciously offered up His only Son, Christ Jesus, as payment in full for my sin debt, and I happily accepted.  What I didn’t know at the time was that sickness and disease was PART of that sin debt, for which the sacrifice Christ Jesus made, paid that in full also, leaving me without sin, AND without sickness and disease.  To this day, I’ve never been sick again, for which I am most grateful, not only to be redeemed from sin, but sickness as well.

You see, many if not most people are only concerned with the “here and now”, instead of the “hereafter”.  This earthly life will one day end for each and every one of us, THEN WHAT?  Some think when we die, it’s over and that’s it, but the Bible tells us when this life is over, our spirit returns to God which gave it, but one day we will all stand to be judged by God for what we did in THIS life, that will determine where we will spend eternity!  That means when we are born into this earthly life, it is only the beginning.  When we die on earth, eternity begins for us.  The choice we make concerning God’s invitation to everlasting life at that point is the most important decision we ever made on earth.  Choose VERY carefully, for there is only ONE way to everlasting life, and that is through Christ Jesus.

Now, getting back to “healing”; even those who have received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior still seem to be stuck in the “here and now”, and are not fully “Kingdom of God” minded.  Sadly, not everyone I have ministered to for healing has received physical healing in this life.  Just a week ago a young man of 25 which I laid hands on to be healed, died.  I was crushed, not to mention his parents, his wife, and the rest of the family.  What happened?  Why didn’t God heal his body?  Was faith in vain because God didn’t do what we thought His Word said He would do?  I and they have so many questions, but the LORD has been talking to me all this week about it.  Yes, God heals sickness and disease now, just like when Jesus ministered on the earth.  But God is God, and He reserves the right to carry out HIS will over OUR will.  While I have no clue of how God could possibly get any glory from the death of this young man, I will defer to Him, seeing He is God, and I am but a man on earth.

We tend to want God to do OUR will on earth instead of doing HIS will on earth.  I don’t know of anyone who would want to suffer sickness unto death, so I would assume they would want to be healed and live out their natural life on the earth.  But is it possible that someone close to death, having had a glimpse of heaven, would choose to give up their physical healing, so as to lay hold onto everlasting life with Jesus?  I’m just saying.   Personally, I wanted to be healed and live out my life on earth, THEN go to be with the LORD.  But each of us has a choice, and God will honor that choice.

And yet, here is an account in the Acts 7 of a young believer who was being stoned to death for his testimony for Christ Jesus. Read this and consider the question I’m about to ask.  This is a long chapter, so I will just use the last part of Stephen’s testimony leading up to his being stoned.

Act 7:51  Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Act 7:52  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Act 7:53  Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Act 7:54  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
Act 7:55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
Act 7:56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Act 7:57  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
Act 7:58  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Act 7:59  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Act 7:60  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

OK, now having read that, in verse 60, he COULD have asked God to deliver him from death and/or heal him, but he didn’t.  Rather, he was concerned with THEIR sin debt and asked God not to charge them with murder!  Stephen was not earthly minded, but Kingdom of God minded.  How many of US would have prayed for others while being murdered?   Now, Jesus is all about healing, yet He did nothing to prevent the death of Stephen, though He COULD have.  That young man which died last week believed in healing, yet God didn’t choose to heal his earthly body.  His whole family believed in healing.  I believe in healing, and will continue to do so, no matter what happens.  So, did God break His word?  Or was there a higher purpose that we can’t see?

Am I offering an answer to why some die instead of being healed in this life?  No, actually, I’m offering questions that we need to consider.  I said last week, about the time we think we have God all figured out, we find we don’t.  And that is probably one of the most biblically accurate statements I have ever made.  But He ALWAYS has our best interests at heart, so when I’m praying for the sick to be healed, I will continue to believe He will do so, BUT, I also give Him to liberty to do what is best in HIS will, not mine.  God has the right and the ability to bend any law of nature He wills to do, even defying death and creation.  After all, HE made it all, so HE has the exclusive right to do what He wills to do.

Years ago, a young man committed suicide, and I went to raise him from the dead.  After all, Jesus told the disciples, and that’s us today, in Matthew 10:8, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. So I was going on that authority.  I put one hand on his foot and the other on what was left of the bottom part of his head, fully expecting God to recreate his head and bring him back to life. He was cold and stiff.  Over the next hour of praying, he turned warm and pink from his feet to his waist, when the LORD asked me, “If I don’t raise Michael from the dead, will you still trust me?”Well of course, I said, but I want at least two witnesses from the Bible why you won’t, being you commanded us believers to raise the dead.” He gave me five chapter and verses right there on the spot and I wrote them on the back of my hand.  Then the hospital made me leave, so I left rejoicing, knowing that God could finish the job and that He would receive all the glory.  But God didn’t raise him.

Later, when I got back to my motor home I got my Bible and read the five verses the LORD gave me.  One was Acts 20:9-12, where Eutychus died from a fall.  One was Acts 9:40-41 where Peter raised Dorcus from the dead which died of sickness.  One was 2 Kings 4:32-36 where Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son from the dead who died of sickness.  One was John 11:43-44 where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead who died of sickness.  The last was Acts 1:18 where Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus committed suicide.  The LORD told me “I loved Judas, he was my disciple, but if I would have raised him from the dead, I would have been in violation of Judas’ free will, and I cannot do that.  So don’t pray to raise someone who committed suicide.  But if they die any other way, pray and believe.”

I felt it important to share this incident today.  It isn’t always about our will to receive our dead back, there is also the issue about that person’s free will, as well as the will of God himself.  But He gives us His Word and instructions how to carry out His will on earth.  Yet at times, I find God works outside His Word for His own purposes, and we must be ok with that, lest we find ourselves fighting against God.  Does that mean when I pray for the sick to be healed, I must pray, “If it’s your will, heal them”?  No, Jesus clearly showed it IS God’s will to heal.  It’s just that sometimes there are exceptions that we may never know about. This earthly life is only PART of God’s plan for us.