I have told you many times how I came to the Lord in 1979, but I never explained what was going on in the early days of my faith. Right from the beginning I was told about the power Jesus gave to His disciples. How He went about healing folks and setting them free of demons, but then, gave that authority to his followers. Oh, some will tell you that He only gave that to the 12, but that can’t be true because in the tenth chapter of Luke, He sent out seventy more disciples, to do the exact same thing!
Go ahead and look at it:
The Lord now chose seventy other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit later.
These were his instructions to them:
“The harvest indeed is abundant with ripe grain, but the farmhands are few. Plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers to help you, for the harvest is so plentiful and the workers so few, so ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.
“Now go on your way. But I will warn you, so you will be prepared. I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Don’t carry a purse or a pair of shoes, and don’t stop to pass the time of day with anyone you meet on the road. When you go into a house, first tell them, ‘Peace be to this household!’ If there is a lover of peace there, he will accept your words of blessing, and if not, they will come back to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink whatever they put before you — a workman deserves his wages. But when you enter a village, don’t shift around from home to home, but stay in one place, eating and drinking without question whatever is set before you. And don’t hesitate to accept hospitality.
If a town welcomes you, follow these two rules:
(1) Eat whatever is set before you.
(2) Heal the sick; and as you heal them, say, ‘The Kingdom of God is very near you now.’
Now that is cool! Those disciple were to fully expect to heal the sick! Ooh, but wait:
“But whenever you go and they do not receive and welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We wipe the dust of your town from our feet as a public announcement of your doom. Never forget how close you were to the Kingdom of God!’ (Luke 10:1-11)
Wow! He was serious about His message, wasn’t He? But what happened? Verse seventeen tells that the seventy disciples came back full of joy! That’s right! They were spinning 360’s and slapping each other “High-Fives“! “Lord you won’t believe this,” they exclaimed. “Oh man, even evil spirits obey us when we use your name! Wow!”
Oh, wouldn’t you love to have been one of those seventy disciples? Wouldn’t that have been exciting? Yep! It sure would have been . . . ooh, wait. Nothing has changed! Jesus told those disciples, ““Yep, I was watching and saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning! He’s not so cool. He has nothing on Me, and when you stand under the power and authority of My Name, there is no limit to what your can do! I have given you the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the enemy’s power — there is nothing at all that can do you any harm.”
Oh but there is a problem. We get all excited hearing that kind of stuff, we think we start thinking there is something special about us. That’s why Jesus added, “Yet, you better remember that it is not your power over evil spirits which should give such joy, but the fact that your names are written in Heaven!” That is where our excitement should be!
So when I explained what happened to me, you better keep that in mind. You see, back in those days, if I got even a sore throat, I took authority over it in the Name of Jesus! I would not tolerate anything that would attempt to defeat me. I spoke to that sore throat and it was gone! As I told you before, I spoke to bees, and they either departed, or I cursed them and they died. While I was driving a van full of college students back from a conference, I spoke to a snow storm, and it stopped until I could drive safely home. I (and a car load of other believers), spoke to fog that was so thick we could not see beyond the hood of the car, and it lifted! We would lay hands on folks and they were healed!
When I was set free from my sin and depravity and baptized in the Holy Spirit, I went from being a victim to being a victorious Christian who refused to suffer or to allow my family members to suffer. I was uncompromised in my commitment to overcome all of the works of nature or the devil! But . . . over the years I became like, as one brother described, an old boat picking up barnacles. I gradually began to show less enthusiasm because of the drag on my life. It was so gradual and slow that I never noticed that I was being loaded down with 100 lbs of barnacles!
I began to tolerate little things in the beginning. My resolve weakened and began to compromise my behavior. I no longer fought the works of negative thoughts and deeds. My diet became outrageous and undisciplined. To the point that I was later diagnosed with diabetes, my wife had cancer, and my kids were no longer grounded in the faith. Today, I have difficulty maintaining my balance and suffer extreme fatigue. I have not been able to work for the past year. My wife was diagnosed with arthritis in her hands and knees. Depression and autoimmune diseases are affecting several of us in my family. That is what compromise will buy you.
Folks, the Devil is clever and will wear you down over a period of time. It will be gradual so you don’t pay much attention to it. But eventually you become so bogged down in your Christian life that the power that once flowed so freely is no longer there. But I’ll tell you what, when you fall back into that old trap of being a helpless victim, you better start getting angry at the Devil!
Have you, like I had, begun to wonder where your faith is? You realize that you have changed, but has Jesus changed? No, He hasn’t. But you and I have. Somewhere along the line we became spiritually lazy and complacent. But we have to kind of chuckle at what Jesus said after the seventy were all excited:
“O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, I thank you for hiding these things from the clever and the intelligent and for showing them to mere children!
Ouch! Did He really say that they [we] are not clever and intelligent — mere children?
“Yes, I thank you, Father, that this was your will.”
Then he told his disciples,
“Everything has been put in my hands by my Father; and nobody knows who the Son really is except the Father. Nobody knows who the Father really is except the Son — and the man to whom the Son chooses to reveal him!
“How fortunate you are to see what you are seeing! I tell you that many prophets and kings have wanted to see what you are seeing but they never saw it, and to hear what you are hearing but they never heard it.”
So what’s happening in your life? Do what I started doing again: Speaking to the infirmity, the sickness, the handicap. Along with cursing bees, I curse my condition! So can you. Speak to that arthritis! Speak to that cancer! Speak to that evil spirit that has blinded your child from the Truth of the Gospel (but don’t curse the child. Love them, just start getting angry at the worldly wisdom that is blinding them from the Truth!).
Start getting angry at the devil for stealing your health; for robbing you of the shalom you once knew. Start speaking life and healing into yourself, an into your family! Oh man, quite focusing on the “problem,” start speaking Life into the situation!
Is that too simplistic for you? Well, I guess you can remain in the disparaging place you have been living. But, as Yahweh once said, “Today I offer you life and prosperity or death and destruction” But just in case you are still waffling on your decision, “Choose Life, so that the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to possess.”
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With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.