Monthly Archives: March 2010

What’s Your Option “A” for Healing? (Part 7)

Click on following links for: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

(1) Knowing God.

Before Jesus and His ministry arrived on the scene, how were Jewish believers healed?

Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever than first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] (John 5: 2-4)

Approximately 450 years separated the prophet, Malachi, and the ministry of Jesus.  These are known as the silent years when no inspired prophet arose among the Jews. And without the Old Testament prophets, there were no healing ministries.

Yet, Jehovah Rapha kept his healing candle flickering in Jerusalem at the Pool of Bethesda. There, an angel of the Lord would periodically stir up the water, and whoever stepped into the pool first was supernaturally healed.

The odds of an individual sick person being healed at the pool were slim because hundreds of people were laying on the five porticoes, waiting for a chance to be healed.

So, think about this:  For every supernaturally healed person who shouted for joy at the Pool of Bethesda, there were tears, anguish, disappointment and cries from the many hundreds who were not healed.

Jesus walked into one of these porticoes during a feast.  Now, wouldn’t you think that this would have been a perfect time to hold a healing meeting? After all, the porticoes were filled with hundreds of desperate, hurting people.

But Jesus walked past and stepped over countless numbers of people to find one man. And just that one man, out of the hundreds laying there, received his healing from Jesus.

How could Jesus focus on one person and not be overwhelmed by all the suffering people at the Pool of Bethesda?

Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5: 19)

Jesus intimately knew the Father, and the Father showed Jesus that just one person was to be healed by Him. And  Jesus was at peace with the Father’s decision.

This is an important revelation for everyone who has or will have a healing ministry.

We need to intimately know God, walk with him and only do what He wants us to do. Otherwise, we will end up like William Branham, overworked,  exhausted and sitting on the sidelines. Our hearts will be weighed down and tugged on by all the suffering people in the world.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11: 29 -30)

When William Branham returned to ministry in 1950, he prayed for sick people in a different manner than he did in 1946 and 1947. No longer did he push himself past his physical limits. Yet, he was just as successful.

If you have a calling to a healing ministry, spend time with the Lord and get to know Him now. So, you can run the race and finish the course the Lord has set before you.

(Continued in Part 8)

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What Is Your Option “A” for Healing? (Part 6)

Click on following links for: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

…But the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]. (Daniel 11:32 AMP Version)

(1) Knowing God.

One of the most common cliches used by us Christians is: “We need to know God.”

But what are we really saying when we use this phrase? Are we saying that we need to learn more about God? More facts. More sermons. More teachings. More seminars. More schooling. More church. More books. More of this. More of that.

Now, there are certainly some valuable lessons in learning more about God by whatever methods possible, but I believe this type of knowledge falls far short of us really knowing God.

Larry Burkett, on his radio program, once talked about the most amazing Christian that he had ever met. He had attended a church service where a Chinese man had given his testimony.

This particular Chinese man testified how he was a lieutenant of Mao Zedong when Mao took over China in 1949. The man’s assignment was the rural areas of China where he was ordered to execute every government official, every Christian leader and every Chinese national who had ever visited America or attended a U.S. school. This was one of many bloodbath purges during Mao’s reign where he hoped to rid the nation of Western influence.

But the man ran into a group of Watchman Nee-taught Christians who prayed and fasted for the man. The Chinese man was gloriously saved, much like Paul on the Damascus Road.

In the man’s zeal, he determined that he needed to return to Peking (now called Beijing) and tell Mao the good news about Jesus. Needless to say, Mao was not impressed with the gospel and ordered the Chinese man to recant of his new love for Christ. The man refused.

Then, Mao brought the man’s wife and children to the man with soldiers standing next to each person with guns to their heads. Mao said, “Recant or I will kill your family.”

The man wept and pleaded, but said, “I cannot deny Jesus. He is so real to me.”

Mao executed his family.

Next, Mao brought the man’s parents, brothers, sisters and every living relative and stood them before the man with soldiers standing next to them, holding guns to their heads. “Recant or I will kill all of your relatives and eliminate your legacy for all of eternity.”

Again, the man wept and pleaded, but he would not deny Jesus.

Mao executed all of his relatives.

Next, all of the man’s friends and their families were brought and executed before him. Yet the man would not deny Christ.

Mao decided the man was less than a dog and not worth a bullet. So the man was stripped of his clothing, thrown into prison and routinely beaten for the next twenty years.

But even in these hardships, the man led 90% of his guards to Christ and the guards ended up smuggling a Bible into him. Yet, the man never had fellowship with a church or a pastor or read any other books during his stay in prison. He just prayed and read the Bible when he could.

After Mao’s death, the man was eventually released from prison. As the man walked on the road, heading away from the prison, peasants working in fields  next to the road were overcome by the Spirit of God. The peasants fell to their knees and gave their lives to Christ. All of this happened without the man doing or saying a word.

As the man finished up his testimony at the church, tears filled his eyes and he said, “I have visited all of the great churches in America. And sadly, you Americans do not know the Jesus that I know.”

So, how could knowing God, in such an intimate manner like this man did, have made a difference to William Branham and his healing ministry? Or for us today, in our healing ministries?

(Continued in Part 7)

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What Is Your Option “A” for Healing? (Part 5)

Click on following links for: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

William Branham’s strength was that he walked in the spirit realm unlike any person since the Apostle Paul. So what was his weakness?

Branham’s weakness was that he walked in the spirit realm unlike any person since the Apostle Paul.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “how can his strength also be his weakness?”

No one could relate or understand what it was like to be William Branham in the 1940’s. He had sixty or seventy visions a day. In fact, he would have to force himself out of the spirit realm so that he could spend time with his wife and other people.

Before meetings, Branham fasted and prayed for three days. He granted no interviews before a night service. Other preachers handled the morning and afternoon services, allowing him time to prepare himself.

Then, at the evening service, Branham preached a short message before heading to the prayer line. Then, he would not do anything until he sensed his angel standing at his right side. After the angel’s arrival, his two gifts kicked in.

His left hand would vibrate and he would know the secrets of  people”s hearts.

For example, let’s say the sick person Branham was praying for had a sin which hindered the person’s healing.  Branham would know about the sin and turn aside to the person and whisper, “The Lord has shown me that you have sin which needs to be repented of before you can be healed.”

If the person refused to admit or repent of his sin, Branham would go a step farther and whisper something like, “Your sin is adultery and you need to repent of it.”

If the person still continued to deny his sin, Branham would press the issue even more by whispering something like, “The name of the woman was such and such. She’s your secretary. She wore a certain color of dress on this date. You need to repent.”

Branham was persistent and dogged when he prayed for people. He wanted them healed. His 35,000 miracles in 1947 attest to the success of his methods.

But all of the agonies of the suffering people weighed heavily on his heart so that he prayed for people until 2 AM in the morning. Night after night. He did not know when to stop. After all, he was the man of signs and wonders and there was no one else quite like him.

In 1948, Branham suffered a nervous breakdown. He was mentally and physically fatigued. His weight dropped considerably and rumors circulated that he was dying.

William Branham did not hold another major healing crusade until 1950.

Now these happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10: 11-12)

I believe William Branham was a forerunner for the upcoming apostolic move of God, much like Elijah was a forerunner for John the Baptist. And I believe we can learn some valuable lessons from his ministry which will help us in the new move of God.

(Continued in Part 6)

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What Is Your Option “A” for Healing? (Part 4)

Click on following links for: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Almost all of the preachers in the Healing Revival (late 1940’s – 50’s) depended on their gifts of healing, gifts of faith, gifts of effecting of miracles,  plus their laying on of hands to produce healings for sick people. This was true for Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, A. A. Allen and Jack Coe.

But this was not true for William Branham. He was a man of signs and wonders.

From his birth through his childhood until his salvation at twenty-one years of age, Branham had wild experiences. A whirling light at his birth. A voice speaking out of a rushing wind when he was a youth. A miraculous healing on his deathbed. A cross lit up on a shed’s wall at his salvation.

But none of those experiences matched the experience he had with an angel in 1946. The angel told Branham that he would have two gifts as signs for his healing ministry.

First, Branham would be able to detect diseases by a vibration in his left hand. The angel then instructed Branham that when he felt the vibrations, he was to pray for the person until the vibration went away. If the vibrations stopped, the person was healed. If not, he was to bless the person and walk away.

The second gift was a prophetic one. The angel said, “You will know the very secrets of their hearts. This they will hear.”

In the half hour visit, the angel told Branham about his healing ministry and that he would soon stand before thousands of people.

Without any money, preparation or proper clothing, Branham received a telegram the following Sunday evening from a pastor in St. Louis asking him to come and pray for the pastor’s daughter. Branham’s congregation gave an offering to him and a brother loaned a suit. He left later that same night on a train to St. Louis.

In St. Louis,  he saw the little girl at the pastor’s home, lying on a bed, her hands clawing her face and her voice hoarse from screaming. She had been tormented like this for three months.

Branham retired to a room to pray and seek the Lord. There he received his answer in a vision.

He returned to the girl’s room and waited for the conditions to match what he saw in the vision. When he prayed for the child according to the vision, the evil spirit left the child and she was healed. The young girl went on to have a normal childhood.

This was the beginning of the Healing Revival.

A few weeks later, Branham returned to St. Louis and held a twelve-day meeting. The tent was packed each night with thousands of people. A dead woman was raised up. A blind minister was healed; then the healings multiplied and grew beyond count.

For nine years, William Branham walked in a signs and wonder ministry. People were saved and healed by the thousands at his meetings.

…After it [the gospel] was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. (Hebrews 2: 3-4)

William Branham’s strength was that he walked in the spirit realm unlike any person since the Apostle Paul. So what was his weakness?

(Continued in Part 5)

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What is Your Option “A” for Healing? (Part 3)

Click on following link for: Part 1 and Part 2.

By modern preaching standards, William Branham (1909 – 1965) would be considered a backwoods hick. His poor command of the English language and cheap, ill-fitting suits would not endear him to today’s glamor-seeking YouTube audiences.

But yet, this humble son of poverty stricken parents  recorded 35,000 miracles for his ministry in 1947.

And if you are wondering whether Branham’s miracles were real or not, read Gordan Lindsay‘s book, A Man Sent From God. This same Gordan Lindsay eventually went on to found one of the finest Bible schools in America, Christ for the Nations.

Another man who was profoundly changed by Branham’s ministry was T.L Osborn. He and his wife, Daisy, had returned from a missionary trip to India in 1947. They were defeated and ready to quit when the two attended a Branham meeting in Portland, OR.

As Osborn sat in the audience, he saw William Branham turn a severely cross-eyed girl around to face the audience. Next, Branham prayed for the little girl. Her eyes were miraculously straightened out as everyone watched on.

Then, Osborn heard heavenly voices say to him, “You can do that! You can do that!”

T. L. Osborn and his wife returned to the mission fields renewed and refreshed, and then preached to millions of unreached people in over 90 countries. They preached daily to crowds of 20,000 to 300,000 people and had astounding miracles, even more than Branham ever had.

Before continuing, there are those who look at William Branham’s ministry and only see his latter years when his doctrines slipped into deep  error. They label him a false prophet and a heretic and ignore the nine years when his ministry was at the forefront of the Healing Revival.

I do not endorse Branham’s teachings on Oneness (“Jesus Only”), Seed of the Serpent, No Eternal Hell and countless other off-the-wall doctrines. But I think what Frank Viola wrote in his book, From Eternity to Here,  is apropos to Branham’s healing ministry:

I would like to ask you to pause and think of the most horrible day you ever lived. The day when you did something you deeply regret. You can take great comfort in this one fact: Your heavenly Father saw that day when He chose you in His Son before time….And it did not keep Him from choosing us in Christ to be His own. (From Eternity to Here, Frank Viola, pp. 71)

We Christians can all throw rocks at Branham’s teaching errors, but there is one thing no one has been able to do since him. And that is, match his miraculous works of healing. He was the real deal!

Even today, William Branham is still considered the father of the Healing Revival.

So, what was it about William Branham and his ministry that made it so unique as compared to Smith Wigglesworth, John Lake or Kathryn Kuhlman?

(Continued in Part 4)

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I’d Like to Prophesy…But* (Part 9)

A Updated Rerun Series

Click on following links for: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

What is the price for rising above entry level prophesying?

5. Humility

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man who doesn’t care who gets the credit.” (Dwight L. Moody)

If I had to pick just one character trait which Jesus is longing to see in us prophetic people, it would be humility. And yet, this seems to be the hardest one for us to attain.

Let’s say, you are on a platform with a microphone in your hand. You look into the audience and see a woman.  There’s nothing remarkable about her, but you instantly know something.

You point at her. “Your prayers are about to be answered,” you say, “that man you have been praying about for years and years is coming back into your life. Buy a wedding dress.”

The woman breaks down and cries. She raises her hands and shouts, “Thank you Jesus!”

Afterward, you find out the woman has been praying for her ex-husband. She believes they will be remarried, but everyone, including her pastor,  has told her she’s nuts. They say that her ex-husband will never, ever change his ways.

Six months later, you are invited to the wedding of the woman and her ex-husband. The man had an experience with the Lord and was instantly changed.

This actually happened to me, and countless other ones like it.

Pretty heady stuff, right?

Today, as I look back at the guy who held that microphone and spoke those words, I cringe and shudder. I hate him. I hate his pride, his arrogance, his thinking that he was the man who prayed, fasted and heard God for other people. I don’t even like to remember the time period because I am so ashamed of that man.

But let’s be honest, okay? I still give prophetic words. So, what’s changed in me?

“I remember the day and the place where I died.” (Katherine Kuhlman)

Maybe, Kuhlman was fortunate enough to completely die to all of her pride on just one day, but I wasn’t.  I can take you to street corners where parts of me died. Or to dumpsters where I crawled into searching for cans so I could collect the nickel deposits on them. Or to jobs I failed at. Or to countless other experiences where my heart was crushed.

Am I a perfect example of humility now? No! No! No! No!

But I am no longer the same guy who held the microphone and spoke the words to that lady…and I pray that I never will be like him again.

Humility takes time, lots of it. It is an ongoing work in my life, one which I continually struggle with; and yet, I embrace it.

(This series will be continued in the future.)

*I have used the word prophesy in a general sense to denote prophecy, words of knowledge and words of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12: 8-10).

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What is Your Option “A” for Healing? (Part 2)

Click on following link for: Part 1.

Smith Wiggglesworth died in 1947 and did not live to see the healing revival which hit America in the late 1940’s and 50’s. Names like Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, A. A. Allen, Kathryn Kuhlman, Paul Cain, Kennith Hagin and others became synonymous with healing and miracles.

Tents and auditoriums across America were filled with people seeking healing for their bodies and a desire to hear the gospel preached by this new breed of of preachers.

At a meeting in Washington, D.C., during the 1950’s, Jack Coe ran past 20 people sitting in wheelchairs. As he ran by, he grabbed the invalids by their arms and flung them out of their chairs, saying, “Be healed in Jesus’ name.”

Seventeen people were healed before they hit the floor. Sadly, three were not healed. The newspapers, of course, reported only on the three people who were not healed and how shameful it was for them.

Oral Roberts visited the Philippines and prayed for a line of sick people, seven miles long. Miracles happened up and down the line. When he finished, his aides carried him off, cross-eyed, exhausted and not able to lift his arms above his shoulders.

R. W. Schambach described the greatest miracle he ever witnessed which happened in the late 1950’s at an A. A. Allen meeting:

“A mother brought her four year-old son who was born with twenty-six diseases to some meetings A. A. Allen was conducting in Birmingham, Alabama. Blind. Deaf and dumb. His tongue hanging on his chin. Both arms and legs deformed and twisted. Elbows touching the knees in a fetal position. No male organs. No feet.

“As A. A. Allen began his preaching, Allen was carried away in the spirit and saw the birth of a baby boy who had twenty-six major diseases. He then saw the mother and another woman bring the child to his meeting in Birmingham. Allen asked the mother to bring the boy to the stage.

“I along with a crowd of three-thousand people watched Allen pray for that child. The first thing which happened was the tongue snapped back into the child’s mouth. The child’s eyes cleared up. Legs and arms stretched out in a normal position. And then I saw the greatest miracle ever.

“God created feet on the bottom of the boy’s stubs. Allen then placed the child down on the stage. He had never walked. Never talked. Never heard. Never saw with his eyes before. The boy then took off running across the stage and leaped into his mother’s arms and spoke his first words ever, ‘Momma.’

(Hear audio of R. W. Schambach telling this story here and here.)

Most people if asked to name the person considered to be the father of the Healing Revival would answer Oral Roberts. Their reasoning would be his legacy of healing and the university he founded: Oral Roberts University.

But they would be wrong.

(Continued in Part 3)

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