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by John Penn
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My last two Healing Moments dealt with seven obstacles to healing grace. The seven obstacles were: unworthiness, fear, ignorance, unbelief, unforgiveness, unresolved grief, and sin. We as human beings are good at sabotaging our own health and well being, either consciously or subconsciously. We forget that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, to reflect the goodness or blessedness of our Creator. We are made in the image of God. We are God�s handiwork, created a little lower than the angels. God desires that everyone experiences the abundant or full life that Jesus Christ came to bring.

God has a vision for human wholeness. Why? Not only does God want us to be a whole person, God created the human body to heal itself. Our wholeness is reflected in the wholeness that comes through our spiritual union with God. God met all of the needs of those God created. They lacked nothing and lived a life of abundance, peace, protection, and ease. Life was good. They enjoyed health and well being.

But the disobedience of the first human family, resulted in a domino effect, which introduced sin, separation from God, and spiritual death, we call the fall. Think of the fall as going beyond the boundary God had set for our protection and preservation. God's miracle of creation had been distorted and compromised.

However, God loved humankind so much that God would not abandon or give up on His creation. Divine love is greater than human sin. Remember, love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). God would send humanity a savior in the person of Jesus, to conquer sin and to restore the broken relationship between humankind and God.

Salvation is God's ultimate response to human sin. Jesus restored God's good creation and reestablished those boundaries as God's means of grace to protect and care for the whole of creation. God told Adam and Eve (the first family) that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was out of bounds. But, inside of the boundaries of God, they lacked nothing.

The many means of grace that God provides for our health and wholeness are a window into God's unconditional love, for His creation. Each means of healing grace is based on the concepts of the Incarnation (that God does not despise the body and its weakness), and the Resurrection (Jesus was able to heal even from death).

In my booklet, What Everyone Should Know about Healing, I list twelve means or ways of grace that God uses to heal us. They are love, prayer, laying-on-hands, anointing with oil, faith, medicine (or doctors), spiritual gifts, salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, sacraments, and exorcism. For this Healing Moment, I will deal with the first four means of grace.

Love is the first and foremost means of God's grace. It is important to understand that healing is rooted in love. God is love. God does not do anything apart from love. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world (John 3:16). It is through the eyes of love that God looks beyond our faults and sees our needs.

The name Joshua in the biblical Hebrew is written as "Yehoshua." The short form of the word Yehoshua written in English as Jesus. The name Yehoshua or Jesus means salvation, help, or rescuer. Out of love, God sent Jesus to bring salvation to rescue fallen humanity. This salvation brings ultimate healing.

God did not send us any kind of Messiah. God sent us a healing Messiah (Isaiah 61:1-3). Those who turn from their sins to trust God for their salvation, receive eternal life. In the resurrection, all human brokenness and dis-ease will be healed. On the cross, Jesus destroyed sin, sickness, and death (1 Corinthians 15:20-24; 55-58). It was out of agape love that God redeemed humankind through the atoning death of Jesus. God's love was demonstrated through the cross (Romans 5:1-8).

Not only are we healed through divine love, but God has poured this love into the hearts of believers (Romans 5:5). Jesus said that we are to live in his love. He also said that love would be the identifying mark of his disciples (John 13:35).

A second means of healing grace is prayer. Someone has said, "Prayer changes things." Prayer is a means of grace by which believers connects human needs with God's power. James also makes it clear that Christians should confess to one another and pray for each other that they might be healed. James tells us,"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16b).

Prayer for many is often the last things people turn to when they need help. When we are sick, James tells us that prayer should be our first response. He states: "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you Sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will raise him up." The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:13-15; 16b).

Laying-on-hands and anointing with oil are the third and fourth means of healing grace. In instructing the sick, James includes prayer, the laying-on-hand, and anointing with oil as sacramental healing therapy. The touch of loving and caring people, bring healing and comfort to hurting and broken lives. Some people are gifted with healing hands and compassion for hurting people.

It has been proven that the healing touch is therapeutic and speeds up the healing process in babies born prematurely. Animals are now being used for the sick and elderly persons to touch as a means of grace to bring about healing and comfort. People in general and new born babies who lack human interaction, including gentle and loving touch of people are much likely to suffer loneliness; and are less like to enjoy wholeness and well being in their lives. Many of them lose the will to fight to be well or to live.

In the next Healing Moment faith, medicine, spiritual gifts and salvation will be discussed as means of God's healing grace.

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