Healing

TruthTalks Sermons

Inverting Rejection

All of us have experienced rejection in one form or another, but for some people rejection can be devastating. Unless we deal with it in a healthy manner, feelings of rejection can blight our lives and can even result in depression or a total breakdown of our sense of worth.

1 Peter 2:4-10 contains three antidotes to the negative effects of rejection:

1. Develop a biblical understanding of our identity in Christ Jesus
2. Forgive those who have rejected us
3. Receive God’s mercy so that our wounds can be healed

Listen to this encouraging sermon and then share it with others.

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Healing under the scalpel

I am painfully aware that as I take a surgical knife to the subject of healing I will be cutting into a number of sensibilities and run the risk of being carved up myself. Yes, healing is a gift of God, but it can also be a satanic present that carries bondage and distress under its colorful wrapping.

In the last few posts in the Revelation Revisited series I have been dealing with the seven letters to the churches. Last week I focused on pornography as one of the societal problems in the city of Pergamum. In this post I want to develop another aspect of that cities serpentine god Æscalapius’ influence both then and in our day. Strange as it may seem, healing was a gift that this pagan deity bestowed on its devotees. But healing is a good thing, a gift of God… isn’t it?

Although, regrettably, modern medical science claims as its heritage from Greek myth,  I regard it as part of God’s overall provision for us and I consult doctors and take antibiotics when they are needed to restore my health. I see divine healing as a more direct and immediate gift of grace. Medicine can heal and is seldom linked directly to God’s goodness and mercy, but divine healing, true divine healing, always points us back to God and evokes praise and gratefulness. If it were not for divine intervention in my life when I was a baby I certainly would not be here now writing this article. I believe in the present-day reality of divine healing both on biblical and experiential grounds.

But supernatural healing, or what appears as such, is not necessarily from or of God. The pagan priests of ancient Pergamum healed by operating in satanic power and their modern- day equivalents do the same.
truth-is-the-word-revelations-email-18-body-picAbout 20 years ago the Philippine Faith Healers  were in the spotlight and thousands flocked to them for healing. They were the product of Roman Catholicism and indigenous Voodoo and practiced a sort of ‘psychic surgery’. A person with a stomach problem would be laid on a table and the priest would run a dirty thumb nail down her belly. A scarlet incision would appear and the priest would seem to plunge his hand into the wound and then pluck out bloody material of some kind. He would then run his thumb back over the gash and the wound would disappear. The person was then pronounced healed.

Sleight of hand? Crude but effective showmanship? Most certainly, but I suspect that there was more going on than that and that some malign force was also at work. From the reports I have read it seems that the ‘patients’ almost all felt better immediately after the ‘surgery’ but the symptoms soon returned leaving the poor person, well…. poorer.

More recently, the Nigerian Prophet Joshua [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._B._Joshua] has attained notoriety and once again Christians by their tens of thousands have been flocking to Lagos to be healed. I have watched hours of documentary video evidence and have had firsthand experience with a misguided member of my local church. I am convinced that something more than smoke-and-mirrors is involved. Certainly there is a lot of powerful psychological pressure and suggestion, but I discern more. There appears to be a spiritual power at work which, although manipulated in the name of Jesus, does not conform to anything I know of the Lord Jesus’ ways as revealed in the Bible.

Then there is the leg-stretching  so favored by itinerant and TV evangelists. Are we supposed to believe that so many physical ailments are caused by one leg being shorter than the other and that instant healing occurs when the offending limb is ‘grown out’ before the amazed eyes of the faithful? Pull the other leg, why don’t you!

Most of these ‘healing’ events stimulate a rush of adrenalin and a resultant feeling of well-being. But it doesn’t last and the sufferer ‘losses’ their healing. Say what?! When Jesus healed people they stayed healed irrespective of whether they continued to confess their healing and avoid all negative thoughts. When the disciples of the book of Acts healed someone there is never any mention of conditions and the possibility of losing the gift from God.

I don’t see any biblical warrant for psychic healing, leg-stretching, or losing a genuine healing gift from God. In my opinion these are a machinations of Æscalapius, not the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I must stress again that I believe that divine healing is valid in our day as a ministry of the church of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God the Father. I see it in scripture, in the life of the Lord Jesus, in people I know, and in my own life. I urge Christians to believe in and be open to receiving divine healing and I counsel them as urgently to run from the false and manipulative ministries of the serpent, no matter how ‘Christian’ they are presented as being.

In my next post I am moving on to uncover some of the spiritual wealth contained in the letter to the church in Thyatira… can’t wait!

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Getting real about healing

Divine healing is a mysterious thing. Sometimes we ask and receive immediate supernatural healing, but at other times we have to take antibiotics, or other medication, and heal slowly. There are so many theories, doctrines, and theologies but nobody has the real answer to why divine healing is not always available to us. I have written a book concerning this but recently I preached a sermon titled ‘Getting real about healing‘ where I appeal to all who suffer to see the bigger picture and find their hope and comfort in the sure promises of God. The message is taken from Acts 9:32-43 and is limited to an exposition of this passage of scripture.

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Prisoners of Our Past

I put the phone back on its holder with a mixture of emotions ranging from irritation to condescension. I had been talking to a woman who, although in her seventies, regarded her failures and general unhappiness as the product of her childhood. She is not alone, for it seems that many people blame their parents, or childhood circumstances, for their current woes. I just don’t get it!

I understand that trauma, neglect, and abuse of any kind can leave emotional scar tissue, and that even late in life these negative legacies can trigger defense mechanisms in us. This I get. I also understand that sometimes people need to recognise the childhood causes of their reactions and some also need counselling or therapy to help them cope. What I don’t get is why anyone should believe that they are a prisoner of their past. Yet many people have bought into this strange concept and whole counselling practices have arisen to heal past hurts.

Parents are the obvious targets of these inner healing practices. Now I am a parent, and I realise just how many mistakes I made in raising my two children. There was no ‘How to be a perfect parent’ book available, and even if there was it would probably have been more wrong than right. Child-raising is a grand yet guilt-inducing process where one or more parents stumble through decades of trial and error, success and failure, joy and despair. However, this I know, that the vast majority of parents do the very best they can for their children. Sometimes we make monumental mistakes but mostly they are honest mistakes, made because of ignorance and not malice.

If these mistakes leave emotional scars on our children then the best we can do is to apologise, make right wherever possible, and learn to do better next time.
When I look back on my childhood, I realise that there were some events that indeed left me with emotional baggage, and I concede that my parents often played a role in these events. Yet I don’t blame them, because I know they were doing the best they knew how at the time. I also realise that for every unintended wrong they did me there were ten intended blessings that they imparted. My health, education, interests, and talents were all part of the good that they did me. For 17 years of my life I freeloaded off them, gave them problems, made unreasonable demands and seldom even thought to thank them. And now as a mature adult I should blame them for my deficiencies?! I think not!

The lady I had been speaking to on the telephone is not a Christian but even so it irritates and saddens me that she should blame her parents for her less than satisfactory adult life. She had no trauma inflicted on her, no abuse, and no physical deprivation. All she can claim is a feeling of not being loved enough, and that, she says, has caused her to be unfulfilled and unsuccessful. Give me a break! For those of us who are born again of the Spirit, there is even less reason to be prisoners of our past. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). We who know Jesus as saviour have been made new – we have a new self, created to be like God!

Yet, despite this glorious truth, thousands of Christians throng the sanctuary areas of countless churches every Sunday seeking ministry for some or other childhood hurt. During the week, thousands more take up lifetimes of pastoral attention and emotional energy as they seek counselling and inner healing.

For every one who really does need help there are a hundred who need rather to break out of the shackles of the past and walk thankfully and freely in the glorious reality of life in and with Christ Jesus.

 

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.