The Real Life Experiences with Spiritual Gifts: HEALINGS, by Bob West

9. Gifts of Healings

The fact that God healed Cheryl, Dan, Sylvia and me on October 24, 1993 didn't mean that we would never again have health problems.

When an aspirin relieves a headache or penicillin cures an infection, we are not surprised if later that person gets another headache or another infection. If a doctor is successful in resetting a dislocated bone, that is no guarantee that it will never be out of place again. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but Lazarus must have died again.

Both Sylvia and I had re-injured ourselves at times. That didn't surprise us. What surprised us was that we could do the same thing Randy and Sandy had done.

When Sylvia or I had an injury or got sick, the other one would lay their hands on the problem area and command the pain or disease to come out and that the body be healed in the name (by the authority) of Jesus. Sometimes we could feel the problem going away as we were speaking to it. Sometimes it took longer.

When I told Randy about this over the phone, he said that Sylvia and I both have the Holy Spirit within us, and we can do the same thing they did.

I thought about Mark 16:15-18. "Jesus said to them, 'When you have gone into the whole world, preach the Good News to all mankind. The person who believes it and is immersed will be saved, but the person who doesn't believe it will be condemned.'"

That's probably one of the most quoted scriptures in my religious background. I heard it over and over again year after year, and even used it myself. But why didn't we continue on and quote the next verse too? Jesus is still talking: "These signs will go with the believers: They will use my name to throw out demons... They will put their hands on sick people and the sick people will become well."

Why didn't we quote that verse as well?

Satan had convinced us that believers can't do that anymore. He said that was for the first century only. He said God won't do "miracles" today. And we believed him. Now I know that's just another one of his lies.

Jesus' Seminars

I asked Sandy how they learned to do what they did. She said they had gone to one of Charles and Francis Hunter's healing seminars. I looked up the Hunter's phone number and ordered some of their materials.

Later a preacher challenged whether healing seminars were scriptural by asking me, "Did they have healing seminars in the first century?"

The answer of course is "Yes." Jesus did.

"After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples..." (Matthew 11:1) "they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere." (Luke 9:6; Mark 6:12-13)

Naturally, the religious organization that I had been a member of did not have healing seminars, because we did not believe in supernatural healing. But we did believe in congregational rituals. Therefore we had training classes where the men learned to make announcements, lead singing, lead public prayers, and officiate at the communion table. Sometimes we had singing schools where congregations learned to read shaped notes and practice four-part harmony. Did the early disciples have men's training classes or singing schools?

On the Job Training

One night just before bedtime, I sat at our dining table reading the Hunter's Handbook for Healing. My lower back in the pelvis area was so painful that I knew I would get very little sleep that night. The page I was reading had an illustration of the skeleton with all of the parts labeled. I read what they said about the pelvis area:

"The sacroiliac can assume many different positions. Sometimes the ilium (pelvic bone) rotates on the sacrum and causes one leg to appear short; or it can go out of position and the legs will appear even length and still the spine is crooked (scoliosis). The sacrum can tilt forward and cause lordosis (swayback) or backward and cause a straight or 'military' back. In all these examples, do the pelvic thing and command the sacrum to move into the correct position."

I paused and said softly, "I speak to my sacrum. In the name of Jesus, I command you to move to the correct position and stay there. Thank you, Jesus."

I went back to my reading and in about two minutes I noticed that all of my pain was completely gone! Amazing!!!

Forgiveness Brings Healing

On December 13, 1993, I wrote a letter to my mother:

"Mom, you have been on my mind a lot since your call yesterday. I realize you're always hurting, and that you feel you always need someone around to talk with so that you don't have to be alone. I hope I can say something that will help.

"As you know, I have encouraged you to talk with Jesus and with your 'heavenly Daddy.' I can understand your difficulty in doing that. It was difficult for me, too, even after spending so much of my life in 'church' and Bible classes. But God is always there, anxious to listen, and to answer. Jesus knows about all of your pain, and about the things people did or said that hurt you. Even the things you may not remember anymore, but are still deep inside causing you pain and bitterness.

"Mom, I know you've been hurt so much that you have a hard time trusting anyone. I know how you feel, believe it or not. I got to where I didn't trust anyone. I worried about tomorrow, even if something good was going to happen. I looked for the bad in people, and when they did something good, I wondered what they were up to, for surely their motives were bad. Jesus has helped me overcome most of that attitude. I still have some more work to do in that area. I can't do it without help. Neither can you. We both need Jesus. And He's ready to help. All you have to do is ask Him.

"I think about your step-father. I used to dislike him. Knowing what I know now about how Satan works to destroy families, I feel sorry for him. We don't know what kind of life he had that made him the person you were afraid of.

"He was an unhappy man. He was even jealous of the love you had for your father. That's why he yelled to you that 'your old daddy was no good.' If you could see him hurting inside while he was hurting you, just as God sees us the way we are, maybe you could forgive him, just as God forgives us.

"As a little girl who had lost one you loved who loved you, his words were like salt in an open wound. You couldn't know that his words were really a cry for help. He needed someone to love him too. He was frustrated because he did not know how to make that happen, because he did not know God.

"Your step-father may have let Satan rule his life, and hurt those he had under his control. If you still hold bitterness and unforgiveness toward him, he still has control over you. The only way you can be free is to forgive him. Ask God to take it all and deal with it. Trust God to do that for you and you will find peace and joy that passes understanding.

"Nobody is perfect. We all have sinned, and we all have problems, emotional or otherwise. Each of us has an empty spot inside reserved for God's love. Satan distracts us and tells us that empty spot can be filled by something else. He convinces one person that drugs will take care of their need. He tells another it is food; or new clothes; or sports; or sex; or work; or someone to visit with; or something else. Anything but God's love. But Jesus keeps standing there at the door of your heart, knocking. If you open that door, He will come in and live with you. But He won't come in uninvited. You have to say, 'Jesus, the door of my heart is open to you. Come on in.' Then the Holy Spirit will come in and fill that empty spot with His love.

"And you will never be alone again."

The Heart That Believes

On December 18, 1993, David and Vickie and their children came up from Florida to visit for a few days.

On Monday morning just as they were getting ready to drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it began to snow. The children had been praying for it to snow while they were here. Snow had not been in the forecast. Now the air was thick with it, and it was accumulating fast. Would anyone dare suggest that this was merely a coincidence?

Sylvia had gone to work in her office downtown, but left there mid-morning to come home. She almost didn't make it up the mountain in our 4-wheel drive Subaru before the snow was too deep.

While his family played in the white stuff, David and I talked about the Holy Spirit. He expressed his concerns about the book I had by Charles and Francis Hunter. I told him that I didn't agree with them on everything doctrinally. But I did believe God has worked through them. Randy and Sandy Culbertson learned from them. The Lord used them to heal us. And the Lord has used us in the same way.

David made some comments about man's intellect, emotions, and will. I remembered a sermon I heard on that subject years before. Back then I thought that was all we had to work with. It sounded so biblical. But now I realize that Satan was again successful in getting me to take my eyes off Jesus. My faith was in human wisdom (my intellect) and my ability to interpret the Bible without any help from its author. Since Satan is the master of deception, I was very vulnerable, and accepted a theology that robbed me of a personal daily relationship with my Creator.

My spirit and my intellect are not the same thing. There are other scriptures, but I will mention one that makes a distinction: "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful." (Another version says, "my understanding has no part of it.") "So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind." (1 Corinthians 14:14f)

In Pat Boone's book, he speaks about the human intellect and its limitations:

"Paul says that it is 'with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness!' (Romans 10:10) How can a man believe with his heart? I think I know now, at least in part, because I've had this experience. There was a time, however, when I didn't fully understand what 'heart belief' meant.

"The two most powerful motivators of man are fear and faith. Where do you feel fear? In your brain? No, you may understand why you should be afraid intellectually, but unless you feel fear, it's not likely to motivate you much.

"On the other hand, you can intellectually believe (even the devils do) and still not be motivated to real righteousness. Until you believe with your heart, until you feel with your faith, through encounter and experience, it won't motivate you much.

"As humans, we keep going at things backwards. We keep trying to approach Christ, and serve Him, intellectually...

"We need to put our hands into His, and fall to our knees exclaiming, 'My Lord and my God!' We need personal encounters and intimate experiences, like Paul's and Peter's, and those other first-century Christians. We need simply to open the door of our hearts and let Jesus come in..." (Pat Boone, My Brother's Keeper (Van Nuys, CA: Bible Voice, Inc., 1975) pp.25-26)

A Major Fall

On Christmas Eve the roads were still icy and more slippery in spots than before, especially on our driveways. We still had plenty of snow for a white Christmas.

Sylvia and I were invited by Suzanne and Fred to have supper with them and their children. After we returned home, I had to go back to their house on an errand around midnight and left my car at the foot of their driveway. As I left their house by moonlight, knowing how slippery their steep driveway was, I took each step with extra care. However, in the shadows of the trees I lost my footing.

Suddenly, my feet went out from under me and I was airborne. I came down on my left hand. Next my left shoulder made contact. Then my left hip. I believe it was worse than the fall from the ladder, which had caused me years of pain.

Sylvia was at home and had already gone to bed. I was alone. I began praying immediately, and went directly to bed when I got home.

The next morning I was in such excruciating pain that I could not get dressed. My left wrist and hand were swollen. My shoulder and hip were out of place. Sylvia and I both prayed and spoke to the injuries. In this case God chose to heal over the period of two or three days, instead of two or three minutes, or instantly. Amazingly, within a week after the injuries, I was able to swing a heavy maul and axe to split firewood.

A month or two later I was in Asheville and stopped by Dr. Eric Randall's office to say hello. I told him about my ordeal and how the Lord had healed me. He said, "That's incredible! That was a major fall."

Faster Than Aspirin

On January 29, 1994, Randy and Sandy Culbertson came over from Lafayette, Georgia, to spend the weekend with us.

At one point during their visit, we decided to visit Suzanne and Fred. Just as we were ready to leave, Sandy asked if we had any aspirin or tylenol. Randy had a bad headache. After what we had seen them do as the Lord healed Dan, Cheryl, Sylvia, and me at the Thompsons' home three months earlier, I wondered why they asked for aspirin.

Randy was laying face-down across the bed with his face in a pillow when I entered their bedroom with the bottle of tylenol. I walked over, put my hand on his head and said, "In Jesus' name, headache out!"

Then I said, "Here's some tylenol," as I walked across the room and placed the bottle on the dresser. I looked back toward Randy. He was already up sitting on the edge of the bed and putting on his shoes. He looked at me and smiled.

"My headache is gone!" he remarked.

"Are you just saying that to encourage me?" I asked.

"No. It is really gone," he said.

And as usual, I was amazed!

Chapter 10. God Is Sovereign! >

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