Matthew 10:7-8

"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I first wrote the bulk of what you are about to read quite some time ago, so if it seems familiar you will know why.  I've adapted some of my thoughts so that I can address a recent family situation.  Please take the time to read this in it's entirety.  Even if you can't accept what I am going to express, give me some grace in being allowed to fully explain my feelings and beliefs.

Sometimes the things we believe within our faith will be put to the test.  We soon find out the strength of our convictions.  Depending on the result of a certain circumstance we may find that a conviction ended up not being a conviction at all, but more like wishful thinking.  As you read on you will begin to understand more as to what in the world I might be talking about.

I have an uncle who has been in a battle with cancer.  There have been ups and downs and for he, my aunt and cousin there probably seem to have been many more downs than ups.  Usually it's much easier to pray with confidence when it comes to praying for other people, but what happens when it is someone in your own family?  Usually, because the circumstance is more personal it's much easier to worry and doubt.  When it comes to my uncle, as well as others that are struggling with health issues in my family I have determined to stand by my convictions.  I will not waver  I will not doubt.

Let me keep moving on.

One of my favorite songs, especially when it was popular was "Jesus Saves,"by Jeremy Camp. As I was listening to this song on the radio one day I began to think about Jesus saving us. As I was listening to that song, I started thanking the Lord for his saving power.  I surely believe that the greatest miracle that we can experience is to be forgiven of our sins, receiving salvation and the promise of eternal life.   However (if you know me at all by now you had to know that a "but" or "however" would surely follow), I know that receiving salvation through Jesus should only be the beginning. Read these verses very carefully with me.  It will seem like one verse has nothing to do with the other, but if you give me some grace, I will show you that they do.  Ready?

Luke 19:10 .....for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Matthew 9:22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well."

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 14:8-10 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple
from his mother's womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking.
Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with
a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped up and walked.

Any idea what those verses have in common? There is a little, but very powerful 4 LETTER WORD that is found in each example. The catch to this is that you would find that 4 letter word if you were reading those passages in Greek.  That 4 letter word, which is far from a bad one, is SOZO.   Sozo can be found several dozen times in the New Testament, but we instead usually see it in the form of the English word "saved." We also see it in the word "well" in the Matthew passage and in the phrase "to be healed" in the Acts 14 passage.

Why do I think this is important? Because Jesus intended to do so much more for us than to save us from our sins. I want to stress again that I believe that being finding salvation through the forgiveness of our sins is the greatest miracle of all.  However, in bringing the kingdom of heaven with Him, Jesus intended to set people completely free from things such as physical infirmities, personality disorders, the grip of the demonic, and generational curses (that's a bigger one than most realize), just to give a few examples. Now I know somebody will say that of course all those things will happen, but they may not happen until we get to heaven.  Indeed, for those who love Jesus and don't experience healing in this world it will be received in heaven, but let me get back to where I was going with this.   Often when someone is sick people will often pray, "if it be Thy will," for example.  (Jesus did pray, "........if it be Thy will," but it was in regards to facing death on the cross.  He nor the apostles never prayed that way in regards to deliverance and physical healing.)   Fault with that can't really be found because after all, church after church and pastor after pastor teach that principle. So many of our pastors learned that traditional view in theology schools and seminaries, or simply when they were growing up.  After all, if we pray for someone to get well and they don't, then it is easier for us to explain why.  We can say that it must not have been God's will.  People are taught this and accept it WITHOUT reading for themselves and that is so dangerous.  It is the thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy, not Jesus.  I believe that many have been robbed of God's best in THIS LIFE, because of teachings like this.  I would beg to ask the question: Are we saved from our sins right now or do we have to wait until we are in heaven and with the Lord? The answer is obvious. Jesus also wants us  to experience the other blessings of SOZO as this life.   There are just too many burdens that we simply accept and carry around with us until we step into eternity. Study SOZO for yourself and realize how many times it is used in the New Testament and begin to understand it's meaning. Maybe fresh winds of understanding and knowledge will flow through your spirit. Over the years I began to learn a different way to pray for people after starting to understand sozo. I found out that God desires to heal and bring release of heaviness and bring wholeness in this life and we need to pray accordingly.

Does everyone I pray for get healed? When I pray for someone to be set free from something like depression, or addiction do I see the result that I desire every time? Of course not. God forbid I try to get you to believe otherwise. However, just because I may not see the result right away, won't change how I pray. There is so often a missing link in those types of situations that maybe we can't see or understand in the moment. My friend, the missing link is not with God or His word, but it is with us and in the natural around us. Instead of changing our prayers we need to keep pushing into the Spirit to discover what we might be missing and pray that God would bring each person to a place to where they are able to receive their healing, deliverance or whatever the situation calls for. Even today as I was praying for a man I spoke to his body and commanded it to come in line with the way God created it to be.

SOZO (from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance) "to save, deliver, or protect from; heal; preserve; do well; be made whole."

I am hesitant to push a bit more for concern of causing offense, but no offense is intended, so I will speak on. I have been around several church settings in my life and I can be completely honest in saying that the churches that teach and practice what we have been talking about can give testimony to many more healings and miraculous works more than the churches who do not. That may sound critical, but within me there is no critical spirit when I say that. It is simply what I have witnessed. Signs and wonders of the supernatural tend to occur much more in the one setting than the other. I encourage you to study this for yourself. To read the Bible for all its worth, for you and nobody else. Always ask yourself if you believe certain things because of what you've been taught by tradition, or because of what God has revealed to you through His word.

I think of close friends or family who's lives have been cut short due to accident or illness. I have seen the effects that cancer can bring, so my heart is very sympathetic if you have experienced something like that.   Circumstance will not change the way I pray and believe, though.   I understand the word sozo and will instead continue to take a stand against anything that stands in the way of God's people walking in complete freedom and healing. Torments of darkness, sickness, disease and poverty are all things that have been mocking the people of God for way too long. I borrow that thought from a similar thought I heard made by Bill Johnson, a pastor in Redding, California. Israel thought they had to put up with Goliath because he appeared to be so much bigger, stronger and defiant until David came along and changed what appeared to be their discouraging destiny.  Now we have reached an age where God is calling for many "Davids" to come forward and to take a stand against the things that are hurting and destroying His people in this life. As I pray and join with others who pray with boldness against circumstances that destroy, I am seeing with my own eyes how quickly something from the enemy will begin to fall in line under the authority that has been granted by Jesus. I am determined to find those missing links.

Jesus.....sozos.........Jesus SAVES!!!!!!!  I pray this over my uncle tonight.  I pray that he experiences the entire sozo package.   Even though he is far from me the Holy Spirit connects me to him through prayer.  It is as if I am right there beside him.

And as always, I pray for you tonight my brother and sister,

Mark S.

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