Healing for 2022.

Continuing the call of David in Psalm 103.1 to praise God’s holy name, I have been singing “Jesus name above all names”. I look up and see a beautiful light shining from the top of the mountains – the world around is dark – then I see myriads of lights of all colours of the rainbow, spread out through the dark.

“Look at those lights Ian, those are all the places I touched and led you and blessed you this past year. But it has always been – you have just not been so aware, there has never been a moment when I wasn’t near you. During that time that contact has always been for your benefit – to bless you – to grow you and prepare you to be part of My bride. Just relax now and let that knowledge flow over you as you prepare for the road ahead.”

Today, is a Friday like any other, yet it has considerable symbolic significance. I choose to look back in an attitude of grateful thanksgiving for the past year. There is so much to be hugely grateful for, as we close this chapter of our lives. Yet it will always be part of us, won’t it?

I have spent some time in Psalm 103 this week but want to just stop on vs 3 for today. It is an age-old question, much debated and probably misunderstood by many. So in the psalm David starts his list of benefits we have received from God, remembering the benefit which is probably of prime importance. Having our sins forgiven. To underline that, he returns to this theme again in vv 8-13. Plumer says that “all human blessedness …. must be based on the forgiveness of sin”.

Now the question is what is the link between the blessing of sins forgiven and healing of all diseases, as mentioned in this vs. There are, of course, those who would say that the healing is built into the promise of the covenant. A favourite verse is “we are healed by His stripes” Isaiah 53:5c.

Even though this blog is not the place for a complete discussion of the whole question of healing and forgiveness, I want to put forward a few thoughts on the subject for you to chew on, as the Lord turns the page into the New Year.

  1. Healing is built into our creation. The whole physiology of the body is focused on healing. At their best, doctors can simply buy into that and assist in some way. We must presume that in the Garden, where there was no death, this function worked perfectly in keeping man healthy.
  2. The curse, God’s reaction to sin, brought death and all forms of sickness into being.
  3. Some sicknesses, like STD’s in many cases are the direct result of sinful actions. You can lump a lot of things into that. Heart disease, diabetes, many forms of metal illness, trauma, the list is endless. Can forgiveness reverse those diseases? Well yes, but only in some cases. In most others, although one can receive forgiveness, one has to bear the consequences of the sinful behaviour.
  4. Every sinful action or thought can be classed as a sign of imperfection – “sickness, as it were.
  5. When we are born again, God starts a process of reversing the effects of sin. He doesn’t just forgive, He brings restoration. This may include physical healing, perhaps through a better functioning of our own physiology of healing. I often allow my imagination to play on the way God is working in my body, if I’m sick. I may pray like: “Please activate my immune system Lord. Let all those cells and antibodies swing into action etc” But the focus is probably much more on Spiritual healing and cleansing. The two are intimately intertwined and continue to be fostered by our relationship with our Father, who created us. These two aspects, as real as they are, are governed by the basic principle of the gospel expectation “now but not yet”. We have been given it all, yet much is still “in the bank” as it were. That means we are still not experiencing it completely in practice yet. We are all still going to die, some time or other.

In summary then. Sickness and even the way we respond to infections, is closely linked to our psyche, our thoughts and minds, our attitudes, sinful and spiritual and that again is still very much influenced by sin. So forgiveness of sins, releases an enormous potential for healing, then and in the future. That is why we need to continually remember the huge benefit of forgiveness, so that we can receive that benefit on all fronts, on an ongoing basis.

Praise in Perspective.

Singing a song of blessing for the Lord especially for His holiness.

“Oh Ian, it is hard for you or anyone to truly grasp and understand My holiness completely. One reason is that, although it is very, very real, it is also unseen. Only those who desire to see it can have some idea of it. It embodies everything about Me. My complete “otherness”, My total omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. Totally other than anything or anyone in the world. Yet my expectation for you is that you be holy – “without holiness no-one will see the Lord” – but holiness is not something you can have by trying. Holiness only comes with complete surrender “I have been crucified and I live, yet not I, the life that I live in the body I live through Jesus Christ, the Lord”. Every decision you make leads you either to more holiness or away from it. Decisions coloured by worship and surrender to Me on the one hand or by your own desires or agenda on the other. It is as basic as that. Holiness in a growing measure is available all the time to you”.

So stimulated by a message from Mervyn Eloff yesterday, I am going to study Psalm 103 this week as we move up to the New Year.

Starting to day with the opening two vv and the last 3. These verses set the framework for the whole psalm and its main message. I am sure you can all see what it is. It is all about the importance and value of praising God. So just a few remarks concerning these few vv, for you to chew and meditate on:

David calls on his soul to be the source of his praise (v 1). Perhaps very basic, this tells us that true praise is not just what we do with our lips. Real praise comes from the heart, from our whole being, in fact, the Hebrew word for worship describes an attitude of kneeling submission.

The basic reason we should praise Him is expressed in His name.(v 1) Do you see it? His holy name represents who He is. It is because of His total “otherness” that we can and should praise Him. It is an inexhaustible source, since we can never plumb its depths completely.

Then in v 2 David tells us to “not forget His benefits”. What does that mean? How do we benefit from God? That represents everything about our lives that has value which flows from God and His grace. It represents everything that is good. May I suggest you meditate on that as we consider our attitude of praise to the Lord.

Finally, the last three vv describe David calling on the entire creation and everything and everyone, both seen and unseen in it, to encourage them to praise Him. Everything in his entire dominion. Ever thought of the earthworms in the ground that you walk on praising God?

Here’s another thought to finish. The attitude of praise keeps us walking with God and appreciating Him all the time. The opposite is to grumble. Oh-oh that subject? How many of you are looking back at this last year with an attitude of dissatisfaction and grumbling? So easy to join in the chorus of “ain’t it awful” ? Whether we are together with friends, even Christian friends or our pagan friends. You don’t have to be “holier than thou”, but your attitude towards life and its knocks is sometimes the best chance to be a witness you may have.

As you apply this to your whole attitude to life, this past year and your expectation of the coming year. Why don’t you read the rest of psalm 103 and we will chat about it again on Friday, good old New Year’s eve.


“Allow your mind to consider the creation again, as you experience the universal, quiet anticipation of the celebration of the beginning of the greatest intervention of all time on earth. There is a vast unseen cloud of witnesses of spiritual activity out there. And there is a hush as they all wait for to-morrow, which is actually a prediction of My coming again to wrap up the age – no-one knows when, but each one is ready in anticipation. So continue to prepare yourself for to-morrow. Don’t try and foresee – just prepare each day and the happenings in it are up to Me. I hold you close to My bosom – and nothing – nothing can happen to you that I have not foreseen and allowed. Remember I will never force you to do or your decisions you make, but will take all of them and work them together for your good.”

My reading today is Luke 2:1-20. I wrote last time about this passage. It is possibly one of the best known passages in the bible. Who hasn’t seen a number of nativity plays? The danger lies in just that. Because we know it so well it no longer holds the full wonder for us that it was meant to. I close my eyes and see the scene in Palestine 2000 years ago. A small group of shepherds sitting around a fire chatting, dressed in the basic home-spun clothes of the poorest. Behind them in the starlight their sheep, grazing away quietly (sheep feed mostly at night). Suddenly the glory of the Lord shines around them. Their reaction? They are terrified. The Greek could not emphasize this more strongly it reads “megas phobeo, phobos”.

Just think back of the dedication of the temple in Solomon’s time when God visited it with His glory.: 2 Chronicles 7:1,2……Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifice, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.”And then the announcement: The announcement of the beginning of the greatest history-changing event of all time. That’s not all. The show is not over yet. A great company of the heavenly host appears with the angel praising God. This was no nativity play with paper props, this was a glimpse into heaven itself. A huge supernatural display of God’s power and joy.

Luke is writing in the same style of his first chapter, using huge contrasts to highlight the event, like a master painter. Here is Mary, a pregnant, peasant lass, with her husband Joseph, a carpenter (betrothed yet not consummated). far away from home in the simplest of accommodations. Among animals in a stable. Giving birth to a baby and without a cot he is laid in a manger, with the animal food just scraped out. Outside in the field a group of the simplest folk gathered. No rich and influential people around, kings or religious leaders, just the most simple scene. And God reveals His glory (not nearly all of it but enough to make a huge show)

Who is this baby? The reader must ask? He is, vs 11 none other than the Christ (the Messiah, everyone in Israel was waiting for). But not the King riding in on His white steed but a small, vulnerable child. God, yes I said it God Himself, coming to identify with His creation completely. Wrapped up in that little body was the Saviour of the world. Luke wants us to be gobsmacked, just like the shepherds were. He wants us to absorb this truth so that it will change our hearts, our very lives.

Like the shepherds in vs 12 we must also go out and spread the word, so that everyone who hears it will be amazed vs 18. He is a unique King. A king described best by the term “now but not yet”. There will be a day when He will come in glory. Maybe sooner than we think. The question is: does this story strike such a familiar note that you – yawn, as you see all those little children, in your mind’s eye, bumbling through this year’s nativity play. Aren’t they so sweet? Or is it so mind-boggeling that you can’t wait to go and spread the word?

let’s stop and be honest with ourselves. Which news has dominated your thinking this year? Of which news are you the most concerned? I’m sure like me the whole Corona story is the one most prominent. Why don’t we decide that 2022 will be the year when we, with the Lord’s supernatural help, turn our thoughts and conversation to this coming and the possibility of His next coming and away from Corona and it’s sooty fingerprints on everything. God has created the environment, we need to make use of the opportunity!

(This devotion is a reprint of one from December last year, which I thought was specifically relevant again to day, while I finish my prep for tomorrow.)

May I wish all our readers and fellow-bloggers the greatest blessing tomorrow and He and the historical events around His birth be more real to you than ever before.

Experiencing Advent.

“The whole world is silent – the whole of creation is waiting in silent expectation. Expectation of the celebration of the onset of the most momentous period in history. That babe was tiny and helpless, completely dependent on His mother, both physically and emotionally. He needed her love and care to grow. Yet in Him was wrapped up the potential power of the whole universe – all creation, suns a hundred times the size of our sun exploding – down to the power released from splitting one atom, the smallest particle in all creation demonstrates this power. That was all wrapped up in embryo form in Him and would be released when the Spirit came on Him at His baptism. Savour the expectation of the weekend. Drink in the full import of it.”

Having finished Hebrews, my mind has swung to experiencing and understanding afresh, the full import of the events which we will celebrate on Saturday.

I started by reading Psalm 24. Just as my quiet time message, it starts by focusing on the fact that Yahweh is the Creator of the whole “world” and by that I take the whole universe. Then, after defining who will be able to benefit through a relationship with this Great Lord, it comes to a whole section on the coming of “the King”. “Lift up you heads, oh you gates, be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the king of glory, may come in” the Lord strong and mighty in battle”. This refrain is repeated for emphasis: “Who is this king of glory? The Lord Almighty – he is the king of glory”. (Jehovah, the Covenant God of Israel).

But now hold on now. Is this Jehovah not already with the people He has called? So why must they expect His coming? (v 7). So I turn to Isaiah 9:6 and I read of an expected child, in fact specifically a son, that is going to be born for the benefit of Israel, (but also of the whole world). He has a number of titles, but of special interest here is v 7b, linking the idea that the psalm has raised. “He will reign on David’s throne, over His kingdom”. So let me put this together. The expected king, described as Jehovah, the king of glory in psalm 24, is none other than the babe to be born in Bethlehem.

Wow! Just stop and think. That babe we are going to worship and sing about, is none other than God Himself, come to earth on a special mission. And then a special thought comes to mind. It is in His very lowliness and humility that His full power is released. So His power, His ability to work through me, lies in me being truly humble, in me becoming nothing.

You know all this don’t you? Yet in a miraculous way as I meditated on these two passages, it took on a strange, new and deeper significance. It was as if My pulse was beating faster in expectation. Saturday, is a day which is going to be like any other in the calendar, but God refers over and over to “That Day”, a special day. So in my mind I am swept up with the thought of Saturday being a “special day”. A day of remembrance. A day of great thanksgiving and a day of rejoicing.

Please join with me in prayer as I prepare to lead and preach a special outreach service on Saturday morning at 8 am. And read and meditate this week, on what we are going to celebrate on Saturday, asking God to give you a fresh sense of His reality. A sense of the immediate implication of all this to you personally.

What did Jesus say to you, through Hebrews?

I am rising up and up, floating into the light which is so bright that I cannot look at it.

Yes Ian, I am lifting you up through My Spirit – shedding all that holds you back. Stripping it off so that you can become lighter and lighter and can soar upwards as with wings of an eagle – I have cleansed you of all that holds you back – stripping off the burdens so that as you come into my presence now, you are holy – crystal clear like glass – cleansed by My power through Jesus’ death on the cross, cleansed by My Spirit working through My word and washing you completely clean. I am doing this for you, feel the lightness after all your burdens are shed – light as a feather. That is what I am doing for you right now.

As we wrap Hebrews up, a few last thoughts: Firstly, did you notice the two absolute exceptions in the letter?

Without holiness no one will see the Lord. Heb 12:14

Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord. Heb 11:6,

So what do you make of that? Ch 2:1 sets up the theme of Hebrews: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away“. So what do you think? This is not only for those who, at various places in the letter are completely doomed, but for all of us. “We must all pay attention to what we have heard.” Does that sound like the purpose of my blog? Let’s LISTEN to Jesus. Listen in such a way that we are paying careful attention. The warning is for all of us. Not that we may apostasize totally, but that we may drift away, losing our passion, becoming spiritually lazy or discouraged through suffering. Changing the priorities of our lives and thoughts and hearts. An important warning, as we reach the end of a grueling year, not to let our guard drop.

So how does Hebrews help us? Firstly his focus is primarily on Jesus. Who He is and what He has come to do. From the opening verse to the end, the ultimate answer does not rest in a lot of doctrine, but in a Person. All along in the earlier chapters, the writer focusses on believing, not letting sin harden our hearts. We must combine what we hear with faith cf 4:2. How will we know if we are doing that? It will show in our perseverance in the faith, despite difficulties and apparent purposeless delays. (ch 11). During all this time the alternative to drifting away, is fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives, ie to become holy. Growing in holiness is a sure sign of the believer who is exercising faith an a continual basis. Not a namby-pamby idea of holiness, but the real thing. Becoming more like Jesus in every way. There is actually no short cut. We only grow in holiness as we spend time with Jesus, learning to believe in Him and to trust His word. Listening to him and then applying His “gospel principles” in our lives, as I explained last time. “That way we will see God and please Him”.

let me end this with the blessing from the end of Hebrews for all of our readers: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”. Heb 13:20,21 Yes, Amen.