DELIVERANCE AND HEALING
By Petal Barclay-Smith
When Jesus called his twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power and authority to drive out impure spirits, to heal every sickness, raise the dead and cleanse those who had leprosy.
They were given specific instructions to go to the lost sheep of Israel and to preach the Kingdom of heaven as they searched the town or village for worthy persons.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 10: 16-20: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
As we proclaim the Gospel, Jesus promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He promises to be with us until the end of time. There is no problem that will come our way that Jesus will not handle for us and bring us through victoriously and triumphantly.
Jesus cautioned us to not to be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, we should be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell. As we do God’s work, He wants us to be wise, diligent and to always be on our guard against the wicked scheme and plot of the enemy. God does not want fools in His Kingdom. He said we must be as shrewd as snakes. Shrewd means that we must have or show strong powers of judgment. We must be sharp, astute, clever, intelligent and wise.
As Christians, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. The disciples faced tremendous persecution, but God was with them and delivered them successfully from the hands of their enemies.
Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for doing the work of God. As they were praising God, suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. All the prison doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. They walked out as free men, glory to God.
Peter and John also faced persecution by the priests and Sadducees as they proclaimed Jesus as the risen Savior to the people. They were beaten and put in jail. Many who heard their message believed and the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. When they were released from jail, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit spoke boldly to the rulers and elders of the people saying that it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they crucified, but whom God raised from the dead, that they were able to teach and heal the sick.
Persecution continues to be rampant today. Christians face persecution by other Christians, believe it or not, and some face persecution by the hands of religious groups. We saw in First Samuel how David had to be running for his life from King Saul who wanted to kill him because of jealousy and envy. David was a man after God’s own heart and was truly blessed.
After David had killed the giant Goliath, the Jewish women were dancing in a victory parade, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7, NIV). This angered Saul because the people made more of David’s victory that his, causing him to become jealous and wanting to kill David.
Saul was also disobedient to God and God rejected him as King. David succeeded him as King of Israel. There is nothing new under the sun. This kind of drama is still prevalent today among Christians.
The Persecution International Christian website reported recently that five Christians were gunned down by Islamic Militants in Nigeria. The report stated that on the roadside near Nigeria’s central city of Jos, five Christians were forced off of a minibus and executed after declaring their faith to their captors. The website stated that Christians in Nigeria’s northern and middle belt state have found themselves under extreme attack after the Islamic Militants began its armed insurgency in 2009.
It was also reported in the Morning Star News (via Wikipedia), Nairobi, Kenya, that two men armed with pistols shot Abdikhani Hassan, a Christian seven times as he approached his home last month. Before killing Hassan, 35, one of the assailants told the neighbor, “We have information that Hassan is spreading wrong religion to our people, and we are looking for him,” the neighbor said.
Believers, we will be hated for preaching Christ, but we are to stand firm in the Lord. Jesus declares, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”
Apostle Paul, through his suffering says, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” Yes, God is more than able to deliver us from the enemies. Just as He had delivered His apostles, He will deliver us through times of persecutions, trials and temptation.
I encourage us to continue to walk faithfully in the ways of the Lord. Let us continue to do His will. And we can rest assure, that through our difficult times, He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us to the end.
Let us not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, let us be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell. God is faithful to His promises. He loves us and cares for us. And He will never leave us nor forsake us. Amen