Tag Archive: healing


blind

Did Jesus heal everyone?

There are a lot of people who seem to enjoy the argument that Jesus didn’t and that might be true. But there is never an account of Jesus trying to heal someone and failing. Although this one comes close, but He gets it right on the second attempt. Join me as I read through the interesting Mark 8 from 22 to 26 and this encounter of Jesus and the semi-blind man.

[For the next Mark Passage on Denying another Day, click here]

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Wow! So this one should get people clicking on it. It may seem like a bit of an unusual topic to list under ‘Taboo Topics’ which after all was a series designed with the aim of talking about some of the issues that are very prevalent in the world, but that the church [and often even the outside-of-the-church world] rarely speaks about, or into. But think about it for a second. Preaching about sex in church? In any context other than the ‘Thou shalt not!’ of pre-marital sex… I certainly can’t remember the last time i heard a good preach on how to have good sex in marriage.

I know what a lot of you might be thinking – of course not, how inappropriate would that be, that is something for a counselling sesssion… or something like that.

It certainly is something for somewhere. And if the majority of married people are not receiving any form of counselling, then chances are it is not being spoken about. At all. Does the bible have anything to say about sex? Absolutely, and it definitely has a lot to say about how we should be treating each other.

So I wanted to get the ball rolling and so i sent out a general email to a bunch of my married friends, and Steve and Helene responded almost immediately and having read their stories i am so excited to be able to share them with you as there is so much Love and Grace and Redemption within them, that I really believe these are going to change lives and hopefully share a bit of an ‘I get it’ with some of you who may have felt as if you are the only one who understands what you’ve been through. While each of our stories is different, sometimes it just takes hearing the story of someone who has gone through something similiar, to be able to feel a little bit encouraged and have a lot more hope that this can turn out alright…

I should say before we begin that I really do believe that marriage is the place God created for a man and a woman in a committed relationship to have sex in. That is how God designed it to be. Although at the same time, it is important to acknowledge that we do live in a broken world and we live with a lot of that brokenness in us {which God is bringing to redemption], and so it doesn’t always end up that that is where sex happens. Fortunately we have a gracious and loving God who is able to enter into our stories where we have messed them up…

This was the original blog post and two responses that invited the whole focus on this topic – click here to read ‘How much Sex in Marriage?’

Click here to read the story of Steve Graybill and his wife Helene Scalliet

Click here to read the story of Helene Scalliet and her husband Steve Graybill

Jesus walking on the water

Jesus has just fed a crowd of more than 5000 people using one child’s lunch so how does He follow that up? By slowing things down and spending time with His Father, feeding His soul and replenishing His batteries… after which He is right back at it as He catches up with His crew by taking a stroll on the lake to meet them…

Come and take a listen as we read Mark 6 verse 45 to 56

[to read the next passage on The Traditions of man vs. The things of God, click here]

let me be honest, i am tired of all the Oscar Pistorius ‘stuff’ – i am tired of it and i wish it would go away.

i am also deeply disturbed by it. i don’t know that i completely understand why, altho i know it has something to do with the fact that it feels like almost everyone has an opinion, many people have made judgements, many others are just sending links and updates and quotes and there seems to be something a little too much in that – this article that calls us all vultures, seems to capture some of what i am feeling the best

i have mostly wanted to not write about it, because i don’t want to be just another voice commentating on something i don’t have a lot of facts about – presuppositions for sure, news posted comments definitely and a lot of opinion and argument and sentiment and so on, but no one really knows what happened [except maybe Oscar] and maybe we never really will. so i will keep my writing to the idea of the thing, rather than the thing itself, as that is something i do have a little bit more of a valid opinion about.

the celebrity aspect has to be a part of it – if that was James Smith [google ‘James Smith’ to make sure i haven’t accidentally picked another celebrity name] then this case would not have even registered a blip on the radar. in fact there was a newspaper headline board on a pole when i went out earlier that read ‘two more girls killed in cape town’ and no one [relatively] is going to even know that that happened. so because the guy who allegedly shot the girl [Reeva Steenkamp by the way although it finally feels like everyone now knows her name as well] is famous, somehow this case means more.

i mean at this very point i am multi-tasking between writing this blog and trying to convince someone on facebook that a cartoon of Elmer Fudd blowing a woman’s head off with a shotgun because she is making a duck face at her camera is NOT OKAY… it is not “just a cartoon bro” and even further, ” I’m 100% positive no person on their right mind will shoot a girl in the face for taking a picture like that.” Yes, i’m with you on that point, i don’t think they will, but THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY!

on a different page, my friend Megan is posting awareness photos as to how often images of violence are subtly woven into advertising as far as women are concerned and the link from her original post to an article focusing on ‘America’s Next Top Model 8’: Week Four: Crime Scene Victims just makes me feel sick to my stomach – the challenge is for each model to pose as a person who has been killed in a different way – with a judge commenting, “What’s great about this is that you can also look beautiful in death.” – i couldn’t even make it through all the images…

it just leaves me wondering how far have we gone? and how long will we continue to call this all normal?

and how can i be part of the remedy?

i think it must be along the lines of posting and speaking and pointing towards and declaring LIFE. not to pretend that darkness and death and brokenness is not happening [we must never do that – we MUST act when people share ridiculous cartoon pictures and when people are challenging the mentality behind advertising and the fact that a celebrity should not be allowed to get away with something no-one else should] but to remind ourselves in the midst of it that LIFE is happening. the smallest light destroys and chases away the darkness!

and so i want to call on you [and me] this week to look out for stories of goodness and grace and beauty and Love and to share them via your status or your Twitter or your blog – for every negative story that is out there, let us share a positive one. if we can’t stop all that is bad [at least instantly] then let us at least celebrate and cheer on and be encouraged by that which is good. let those stories give us the strength and belief to get involved in the less-than-happy ones and hopefully see more positive endings to those as well.

life to the full

i am thinking of the invitation i just received to Linawo Chilren’s home’s 10th birthday celebrations, i am talking about the children’s house Val is a trustee of and the uThando LeNkosi Work Day, i am even simply talking about Monday night’s TheatreSports show at the Intimate theatre in town – whatever it is, let’s just start speaking and sharing some life, so that we don’t get taken completely down by the darkness…

for the first positive upbuilding story focusing on Nicholas McCarthy, one-handed pianist, click here…

a story of pilots flying in water and supplies to flooded areas and also a site for daily stories of good news

the inspiring and humourous no limbed Nick Vujicic has a baby boy…

is anyone with me on this?

so we continue the walk through Mark and in this one we take a look at Jesus’ encounter with a leper

Mark 1 verse 40 to 42

as always, would love to hear any thoughts, ideas or impressions that hit you as you looked at or listened to this passage so please leave your, ahem, mark…

to continue on to the next story about Jesus healing the paralytic who was lowered thru the roof

in morning prayer this week we read from Matthew 9.27-34 about how Jesus heals two blind men and frees another man from some demon.

what was interesting about the translation we were reading from was that it said this:

‘As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

When He had gone indoors, the blind men came to Him, and He asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

“Yes, Lord,” they replied.

Then He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith, let it be done to you.”‘

Wo! Wait one second. Can’t it be according to YOUR faith, Jesus? I think that question would cause me to take a moment and really consider the likelihood of the healing following my answer.

Because when it comes to faith for money or provision or God coming through with an answer on direction or something to speak into a situation, my faith is really strong and in any of those cases i think i would be good with His response or challenge?

But when it comes to healing… hm, not so fast. Do i believe that God CAN heal? Absolutely. Do i believe that He WILL heal?

Um… CHEQUE PLEASE, table 9!

i have prayed for a lot of healing in my life [for other people] and cannot remember ever seeing [beyond a headache or some mild pain] instant healing [in the ways i have heard stories of healing, like this one] and certainly no blind or dead people [yet!] i have seen people get better but i haven’t witnessed [as in personally] people really get healed… like categorically undeniable [oh me of little faith i hear you thinking out loud]

and i am not looking for answers to this question. i am just wanting to share that i have it. if Jesus’ healing of the people i come into contact with is “according to my faith” then they might do better moving on to the next person, cos my faith [in the healing department] has taken a few knocks.

BUT i still believe God can and i still believe He does and so every new time i come across someone who needs healing i try to ask them if i can pray for them and if they say yes [like two people did this last week] then i pray, believing that God can and hoping that He will heal. and the fact that He didn’t [in any discernible way to me] heal either of those two people [have seen at least one of them since] doesn’t make me stop believing. it makes me continue to hunger and question and trust and take opportunities because my faith, when it comes to healing, is more like the father of the demon possessed child in mark 9.24 – Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

i do believe.
but i still call on Jesus to overcome my unbelief.

and keep on, taking new opportunities as they present themselves in the hope that God will let me in on the secret, or the mystery of how it all works some day [not so i can do some kick ass miracles, but so His name will be glorified… and maybe He is still working on me to fully get me from the one to the other]

Firstly, I want to thank Brett for giving me a podium and his trust. Secondly, I want to thank you for your courage to read anything about the struggles people face with porn and masturbation.

This is not a really short story, but perhaps it is a familiar one. I pray that it is as helpful to you to read it as it was for me to write it.

I was introduced to masturbation before I was introduced to porn. When I was in 7th grade, I played in the school band and one of the older kids- he sat next to me because we played the same odd instrument- brought it up. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but as we usually do in 7th grade, I acted like I did. That night, I went home and tried out what he was talking about. I was hooked. After awhile, I realized visual aids helped the experience along, and I descended into porn addiction.

This was back in the “pay per minutes used” AOL internet days, and I learned quickly where the best and fastest places were to look for porn. The family computer was in my dad’s study (he was a pastor), so I also had to be sly with my surfing- deleting my browsing history (that smile of yours is the smile of recognition, my friend), having multiple screens open, etc. I got really good at hiding my tracks. Too good.

Things continued along these lines for all of high school- I went to a couple of different Christian high schools, where the topic of porn and especially masturbation were never, never discussed in class. I don’t know why. So many of us were looking for direction, wondering what the Bible really had to say about it, who it was really hurting, whether the authority figures in our lives had ever had to deal with these urges in pre-internet times… we never got answers.

When I went to college, things changed. People accepted porn and masturbation as natural, good, normal, and all those other modifiers that made you feel like everything was okay. I went to a large public institution, and they had high-speed internet plugged into every dorm room. It was the worst possible situation for a guy who still didn’t understand the toll porn can take. I would watch tons of it, to the detriment of any social connections I could make. It led me to make the worst decision in my life- sleeping with my girlfriend- because of the enormous pressure and acceptance exerted in the setting I was in. I don’t exactly blame college; I blame my own weak walk with the Lord, my reliance on other structures instead of His will for me.

I left college after that first year, running from myself as much as running to God. I joined an international ministry where I thought I would be safe. I was wrong. While leaving a situation is a good idea in most cases, you can’t very well leave your body or mind behind somewhere. I brought my problems with me. I thought that maybe, if I just had a girlfriend, or if I just got married, this issue would go away. I was looking for the cure in every place I could except through confession, forgiveness, and repentance.

I’d like to say that I found the courage one day to confess my problem. Truth is, I ran from every opportunity to do so. Only slowly- through the working of God and His people present in my life- did I begin to let others know that I was in trouble. I couldn’t say it straight out, but I beat around the bush and dropped enough hints to find out something amazing: I was not alone. Some others in my same boat found the courage to open up to me about their problems, and that allowed me to feel safe enough to let mine out too. It turns out that it is like every other addiction- if you bring it to the light of day, get some outside help and support, and work actively against it, you CAN overcome it and find happiness without it. Porn addiction, sex addiction, these can only be overcome when you stop fighting them alone. God will help you; but He will use His own method to do so. We all want this sin burned out of our lives instantly, never to return. For a few- a small group of people- it happens that way. For the rest of us, the healing process is a journey fraught with fear, peril, vulnerability, and yes- consequences. Don’t tell me your porn addiction hasn’t cost you something. You know the price, mentally and spiritually, that you’ve been paying. You know the relationships you’ve affected, the lies you’ve had to tell others. You know the fear of exposure. I did, and I do.

Some of you know me and will be hearing about this for the first time. The journey is a part of me, of who I am, and it has given me a greater ability to love sinners and accept all kinds of people who I used to judge. I’m still afraid, of course; I’m afraid of what confessing this will do to my reputation. I’m afraid of saying something wrong and hurting someone’s walk and chances for freedom instead of helping them. I’m afraid you’ll not relate to this in some way, and that you’ll dismiss me as a freak. But more than my fear, I am hopeful. I hope that you hear my heart. I hope you know that I am not cured; I am rehabilitated, and it is a daily fight. I hope you see God’s love in my journey. And I hope, most of all, that you feel the courage to confess your sins and confront them with help from your peers and mentors in Christ. God bless you.

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