Let us open our Bibles to Isaiah 53. We are going to read verses 1 through 8. “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” I think I will stop reading right there for now. The last number of weeks I have been looking at this scripture, and I want to say, This is a message I never went to study for, God just laid it upon my heart. Thoughts began to come to me along the line of divine healing. Through my lifetime, the things that I have heard said by preachers and others alike, as they would say what this means, what it is not, who it is for, when is it available, and so forth, none of which ever really spoke to me, but now I feel that it is time to deal with it. I am going to say some things, that I hope will set some minds straight. Divine healing is a promise, but remember this, All healing is of God. I will look anyone in the face and say, All healing is of God. There is a lot of the Bible that has never been read. A lot of people have thrown this question at people, Do you believe? Well there is a right way to believe God and to understand God, and especially what He has promised. I have to say this morning, Healing, no matter what method or means, or way it is brought about, it is God that does the healing. Let me explain something though. The very minute a little baby is formed in its mother’s womb, there are certain genetic laws and (We could say) virtues that go into affect. When that little baby is born, you may have heard it said, Its immune system is thus and so. Well, what is its immune system? It is something that God has instilled in every physical being, including animals and birds alike. As you are related to this earthly atmosphere and environment, God knew there would be a time when Satan would be the master of the overall situation and he would begin to pervert the natural things that God has instilled in His creation. When a child is born, you may hear the doctors say, Well he or she needs this to build up the immune system. What is he actually saying? They have discovered through blood tests and such that the body is a little slow in reacting and building up immunity to fight against certain infant diseases. I have heard it preached, that if you cannot believe in divine healing, then you have no faith. Well I want to set the record straight on that this morning. I am going to use the Bible. I am not going to use anyone’s nonsense. I have heard people say this, Well just don’t accept it. Don’t accept what? That headache? Regardless of who you are, young or old, when you play with things like that, you are like a scientist: You like to use someone else’s mind to play with your own ideas. That is not according to the Bible. An awful lot of the Bible is never even read or referred to. I am going to take my time and try to show you that all healing is of God, whether it is through a natural way, or by a divine act. I want you to know also, that I have actually heard men say, All doctors are of the devil. Let me say to you, The profession itself is certainly not of the devil. The man himself, in any profession, regardless of his stature in life, may have studied this and that and became guilty of shoving God out of the picture. Regardless of personal choices, if God had not allowed him to have a certain knowledge of how the natural laws of healing work, he could not do a bit more for you than your pet dog. I have Bible for what I am going to present to you. I am not trying to be smart or claim to know it all, but I have lived long enough to see a lot of sick people and observe a lot of things that have been done.
WHAT IS GOD’S WAY?
I want us to begin to understand, and not just play with something when we have scriptures to help build faith and right attitudes in the hearts of people. Some people get the wrong idea when they are brought into this way. I will never forget when we were brought into it from the Methodist realm of belief, into the light of Bro. Branham’s teaching, how I thought things were. I had never heard a lot of teachings on healing prior to that. Therefore the thought came to me quickly, If you are going to believe the things he teaches, you are just going to have to stop going to doctors. You will have to trust God for a divine act. What if eating your meals were like that? Do you expect God to cook you a meal? Of course not It is not necessarily within God’s plan to perform a divine act every time you have need of healing. I am going to read scriptures for what I am saying today, because I do not want anyone to think I am just preaching my ideas. I am not standing here to be made a fool of. I have heard down through my life, how people study foods, and I grant you, that in America, in the food industry, a lot of our foods have been tampered with by modern day scientists. As they fix these foods for the consumer, some of our foods have been overdone as they try to keep it from spoiling. When I look at people who want to say, Well you should never eat white bread, because it has had certain things taken out of it. Well in America, white bread has become the fashion of the day. If we would go back three hundred years ago, there was no such thing as white bread, but as man came along with modern scientific things to invent, that is what he comes up with. We met a woman years ago, a follower of Bro. Branham’s ministry. My wife had some relatives that were bothered with some certain sickness during that time, and I want to tell you what happened. When something was said to this lady, Bro. Branham said, Well maybe we can get Sis. So and So to go pray for them. The first thing she asked was, Do they eat white bread? If they eat white bread, then I will not go to pray for them. I want to ask you something, When you go into a country where they are half starving to death and they have no choice of what bread to eat or anything else, what are you going to tell them to eat? That is like the preacher who preached that all the sisters in his church had to wear shoes, and that their feet had to be covered. I thought, you blind man, I have been where they did not have any shoes. Are you going to go there and take a pair of shoes to every one of them that you convert? My point is this, Let us stop playing with the word of God. Let us become a people that will let the word of God talk to us. It will, if you will just open up your heart to His leading. I have heard people say, Oh if you go to a doctor it just proves you don’t have faith to believe in healing.
SOME STRAIGHT FACTS
I am going to tell you about a man who was the station caretaker at Borden Indiana. He was in his eighty’s back some years ago, and said he had never been to a doctor in his life. He slept with his windows open nearly the year round. He ate a lot of raw fruit and such; and I never knew him to go to church a day in his life. I thought, What about someone like that? Did he have good health because he believed in God? What caused him to have good health? He did not even have a testimony that he believed in God. Yet in eighty some years he had never been to a doctor. Well the point is this, We are all born into this world having an attribute to commit sin in this mortal flesh. There are certain things the devil works on. My point this morning, is that preachers have taken the word of God and diluted it to suit their own purposes, throwing away the parts they do not want to deal with. That is the main reason so many people grow up in life totally ignorant of the reality of what God does do and what He does not do. I am going to a biblical example of what I am talking about, so go with me to 2nd Kings. We have all read about Hezekiah. He was a godly king in his day. We are starting in the 1st verse of the 20th chapter, which says this, “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” Let me say this to you, because this is not to let you know that what God has promised here, or said to this man, could be an application for everybody who might want to use it. Why do I say that? Simply because not everyone is likely to do what Hezekiah turned over to the wall and began to do. We therefore ought to look at this as an example of the sovereignty of God. He can and does do whatever suits His sovereign purpose. Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Set thine house in order, for thou shalt surely die. Watch though, what Hezekiah did. “Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, (In other words, he began to search himself. As he looked back through the years of his service, everything he did, he tried to do it right because he did it to please God.) and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. (He was really broken up.) And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee, and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And Isaiah said, (Listen to me now: I want to remind you of how some people have approached this thing of healing . Well, I don’t believe in taking an aspirin, and I don’t believe in taking this and that. I will just say to all such, Be quiet: You have fussed too long about this. You have been dragging that carnal stuff around with you and missed the true will of God. Get back in the Bible. What does Isaiah say?) Take a lump of figs. (This is a home remedy) and they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.” Right here, it tells us what the sickness was. May I say this, In olden times, people that had blood infections that produced boils, sometimes it was bad enough it did end in death. They put figs on the boil and he recovered. That is why I say, Coming down the road of life, you have had every kind of theologian and doctor of divinity give their opinion on these things, and very little has been spoken of what the Bible actually teaches us. The Church of Christ does not even believe in a divine act at all. Others want to take the natural side completely out and make it all a divine act. Most want to ask, Well did you eat this, have you taken that, did you take medicine, have you tried this? They are not looking at it the Bible way. They are looking at it their own carnal way, trying to build some kind of image of something that does not even exist. Let us read on. “And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, (The king, not only has been promised fifteen more years of life, he has also been told what to do for the boil. Is that not enough? Well for Hezekiah it was not. He asked…) What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, (Now we will see, that whether it is a poultice of figs or what, it is still the Lord doing the healing. Is that not right? Have you everyone got the picture? He wanted to know what the sign would be that the Lord would heal him.) and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day? And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, (meaning the sun dial) or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. (Now saints, I am looking at two things here. First there is healing involved, but now we have an astronomical miracle taking place. Do you agree? Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees, (It would do that anyhow.) so in other words, if it suddenly jumped ten degrees it was an easy thing, but if He brought the shadow ten degrees backwards, changing from standard time to daylight savings time, he would accept that. That is the best way I can say it.) And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.” That was his sign, and just think, it all started with a physical ailment in Hezekiah’s body. From this recorded example, this tears down every idea that preachers as well as other people have, like, Well don’t accept it, don’t do this and don’t do that. Why do you not read what the Bible presents on this subject? This thing has been on my heart for days on end. I have seen some of the things that have happened to people through life. I remember when I was a child, how we were brought up in the old fashioned denominational way. Most people in those days were taught that God no longer was doing healing in a divine way, so we did not expect it. God is sovereign though, and is not bound by some people’s unbelief. He does those things that work into His will and purpose; and many of those instances really open the eyes of some.
WHAT MY DAD SUFFERED WITH
When I was only a small child and my father had suffered with a back problem for years, I had heard him at night, walking the floor in pain, not knowing what was causing it. Mother never told us. But after all this really began to work hard on my Dad’s back, she said to me one time, Junior, your dad has started hurting so bad that he said, I want to die, I want to get out of this misery. He had already doctored with twenty eight different doctors. They told him it was lumbago, or sciatic rheumatism, just a weak spine. He had used up nearly all his money, this was right in the beginning of the depression, 1929, when the stock market fell. He was praying, God, let me die, let me get out of this misery. When the old Pekin paper came out one day, there was an article in there that caused a turn around for dad. I am telling you this to tell you, There are doctors in society that God uses, and He has instilled in them an insight that others do not have. When mother read, that Dr. Willy Green of Pekin had just returned home from medical college and was going to set up a practice with his father, the elder Dr. Willy Green, she begged dad, Please, go see this doctor. Dad got my neighbor to take him down to Pekin. The doctor first asked him, Mr. Jackson, what can I do for you? Dad told him, I have suffered for years with a back problem, and there are times it hurts so bad, I wish I could die to get out of the misery, because nothing I do ever helps. He asked dad, Have you ever been to any other doctors? I have been to twenty eight different doctors. What did they say? Lumbago, sciatic rheumatism, a weak back. This doctor just started pressing up and down his back, pushing on different places, and he came to one place and dad said, Oh that really hurts. The doctor put a check mark there and went on. When he was finished examining him, the young doctor looked at him and said, Mr. Jackson, anybody would have a weak back when it is eaten up with tuberculosis. In those days, doctors had not gotten into a lot of modern discoveries of anything like that. They did not know how to test for TB. He said, If you can come back in the morning, I would like to take you to Louisville for some x-rays. You had to go to certain hospitals in those days for x-rays, because many of them did not have the x-ray machines. The doctor brought him to the old Baptist hospital in Louisville and took an x-ray of his spine. It showed that the second, third, and fourth vertebrae up from the tailbone, were almost eaten into. He said it was like the tips of two ice cream cones barely touching. When the doctor showed this to my dad, he said, Raymond, you could bend over some morning to tie your shoes and that could snap and cut your spinal cord into, and you would be dead just that quick. He then said, I wouldn’t give you a dime for your chance of a longer life, But Mr. Jackson, if you will work with me, I would like to try something. (Here is what I am leading up to in telling this.) Do not ever develop that attitude in your life that a doctor does not have any place in the life of a believer. Not all doctors are going to be doctors that God can really inspire, because they do not have the proper mental attitude. It is always spoken of as what I can do for you. Most of the old time doctors would say, Well I can only do so much, but we will put our dependence in the Creator. When my dad was put in this little narrow bed, about the size of a door frame, he was to lay on that for six months. I am going to cut the story short. The x-ray showed from that part of his spine over into this right hip there was a hallow place where tuberculosis had eaten away the whole inside of his body, and in the months that he was under that treatment, many pints of pus were drawn out of that leg. There was no medicine for tuberculosis but the doctor prescribed certain minerals. That is all dad ever took during that time, but he took that for six months. Well instead of six months, it wound up to be two years and a half that dad had to lay there on that narrow little bed. When he finally came off of that bed, the doctor had designed a little brace for him to wear. I have an aunt in Jeffersonville, whose brother was a shoe maker. They took the design to the shoemaker. He got little short pieces of metal and built a frame according to the doctors design. My father wore that. During that same time a neighbor woman took sick with the same thing. The doctor gave her the same treatment. There was another farmer near Salem, he had made the remark before when something was said about my father being very sick, There is nothing wrong with that man other than just laziness. That man came down with the same thing and died. Therefore I say to everyone of you, Do not ever make fun of someone and try to diagnose what he or she is or is not suffering with. You could wind up suffering the same thing and paying might not help you. Well let me get back to this event. WW2 came on, and after WW2 the doctor went back to Boston Massachusetts to take a higher degree in medical science, and he became the third best known bone specialist in the United States. He was on his way of prescribing ways and means of curing people with tuberculosis. After my father came off that little bed, he lived many years and never had back pain anymore. His back was always a little weak, but I have seen him work in strawberries, and even work with his cousin in the woods making cross ties. He knew his limitations, so he always went at any kind of work in a careful way. I am telling this, believing it may encourage someone somewhere. As I was saying earlier, I grew up in an old denominational way; and we did not know anything about divine healing. My mother told me the testimony of dad’s ordeal and she said also, that when my father was first put on that little bed, at night when she would go to bed, she would cry herself to sleep, wondering, What is my future going to be like? This was in the depression time and things were really rough. She said this though, One night, I was caught up in a dream and saw a terrible storm brewing in the sky. All those black clouds came toward me. She said, that as she looked at them, she thought, What am I going to do? All of a sudden the clouds split at the top. Where it split, there was a little white cloud that came drifting out. She saw a prophet dressed in white, that looked at her and said, Fear not, everything will be alright. Remember now, that was back in the depression days. Do not tell me there is not a God we can look to for help. I would have to say to modern atheists today, You do not know what you are talking about. Knowing how God used the mentality, the experience, and the profession of that young doctor, and knowing that he became the third best known bone specialist after WW2, really blesses my soul. That is why I am quick to say, Do not try to tell me that going to a doctor is wrong. Oh but Bro. Jackson, that don’t mean God is in it. Watch your words and go with me to Jeremiah 8:22. I will start with the 20th verse. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. (Now listen to what the Lord said…) Is there no balm in Gilead; (How many know what balm is? It is an ingredient that was once used in medicine. I have seen it on the labels of old medicine bottles.) Is there no physician there? (God is asking the question.) Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Here you have a medical ingredient, then you have a profession mentioned. How many see it? I am not done with all the biblical references. I will say this though, I grant you that at the turn of the century when the Pentecostal move hit, a lot of people from different denominations received a wonderful experience from the Azusa Street meetings. Out of those meetings came all kinds of testimonies of what God had done for people, men, women, boys and girls, and also of the attitude and ideas some eventually got. I have heard many stories.
TURNING GOOD INTO BAD, AND ALSO BAD INTO GOOD
I used to know some old people from Huston Texas, that came here years ago to the Tabernacle. They were followers of Bro. Branham’s ministry. The man himself was a young fellow during the Azusa Street revival. He was not in it, but he knew a lot of people who were. He said to me, Bro. Jackson, I have been told many stories of what actually occurred. He said, Some of the things those preachers came up with were really far out. One particular preacher received the power of God; and oh what a sensation surged through his being. What a revelation he got though. The experience literally mystified him. From that moment on he began to preach, I will never die, I have eternal life, I will never die. Well it shocked people, hearing that. Everywhere he went he preached, I will never die, I will never die. He began to preach to people, You should also believe, if you have the Holy Ghost, that you will never die. Well brothers and sisters, some of this nonsense people come up with, God will only tolerate for so long before He intervenes. That preacher said one day, But if I was to die, it would probably be by an accident of some kind. An accident it was. He was on a train going somewhere; and during the night there had been a terrible thunderstorm. It had blown down some telephone and electric poles. It broke one off at the top of the ground but the wires still held it up somewhat. That caused the cross arm on the utility pole to lean toward the railroad track. This was in a place where the track made a curve. That preacher was sitting next to the window. As the train came around the curve, the cross arm hit the glass of that man’s window. It broke the glass out and a piece came across his neck and cut his head almost off. He bled to death. I take no pleasure in telling things like this, but if we are going to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and what He can do, let us be sure we know what we are doing an that we have Bible for it. We must have the leading of the Lord in what we preach. Nevertheless out of Pentecost came many things that were negative as well as some that were positive. There were a lot of preachers from then onward that delighted in teaching against taking medicine. They had to believe that all healing was a divine act. If you believed in going to a doctor and took medicine, then you were showing that you do not have faith to believe God for what you need. I am saying to you this morning, That is mere nonsense. You do not even have scripture for anything like that. I have just barely touched the surface of the scriptures I could use in this message. I am going to give you some illustrations that I believe will help. It is true that many times God has healed people when they were not even aware of the divine act of God, they come through life and encounter some kind of circumstances physically, or maybe by accident or such, that puts them in need. Sometimes it is how God, through their ignorance, reaches out and causes something to take place by a divine act. When you look back upon what has developed, you can see that the hand of God manifested something on our behalf; and that is because God is fully aware of every one of our situations in life. When it came to my own life and the testimony of my own life, as I have said many times, Growing up in a denominational realm of belief, I knew nothing about a divine act of healing or anything like that. I was telling a fellow the other day, I never wanted to be too religious. I wanted to be a believer in one sense of the word, but I did not want to be really religious. I always thought the Bible was a good book to have on the night stand, or somewhere in the home, but don’t get too close, don’t study too much, don’t read too much because it can make you a fanatic. That was my natural attitude. I thought growing up in life, Yes, it is nice to go to church, but don’t get too serious. When I came home from the army, all these things were floating through my mind. My ambition was to be a farmer. I started out to be a farmer, as that was my natural aim. Many times I would go to church and the preacher would preach a message of salvation. That would put me under conviction, but I held back from doing anything about it. I would sit there feeling like the Lord was saying, When are you going to give your heart to me? Deep inside though, I did not want to get too religious, so I just went home feeling bad. In the past, I had read stories about people that would get really religious and fanatical, like, If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, so that is what they did. If thy hand offend thee, cut if off, and that is what they did. I did not want to be like that. My desire to be a farmer was strong, and I thought I was well on my way with it. Then in October 1948, on old Highway 31, is where God let the devil bring me within an inch of losing my life in a terrible accident. When I came to myself three days later, in the hospital, and they told me what had happened, they told me what had happened in the natural, but in the Spirit, God was saying, This happened to bring you to me. From that time on, October 1948 to April 1950, I lived a very miserable life. I did my best to be a success at farming, trying to do everything right. But for a year and half it seemed like everything was going in reverse. It got so bad I could not go to sleep at night. I would go to bed, but I could not get to sleep, because something was saying, Until you give your heart to me, nothing will be successful and you will not have peace of mind, nor joy, nothing to look forward to. Many nights I lay there until way past midnight, wanting to sleep but sleep would not come. I would get up and go out into the yard and look up at the moon. Then I would say, Lord, take this feeling away from me, I can’t stand it. I wanted that feeling to leave me, but I never said what I would do if He took it away. I just wanted that feeling to leave me so I could go ahead and do what I wanted to do. In those last months of 1950, in the spring of the year, I was plowing a field for corn. There was no such thing as “no till” planting back then. One day as I was plowing, it was like something took my mind and turned a tape recorder loose in it and I heard, You will not succeed at anything, you will no longer have any peace of mind and you will not be successful until you first give your heart to me. When that was said, that finished the picture for me: A friend of mine that had been in the army also, and was a preacher that was doing a lot of evangelistic work, was holding a meeting in an old country Methodist Church. My wife and I, my father-in-law and mother-in-law went to the meeting. None of them knew what I went there to do that night. I did not even listen to the preacher: I was just sitting there waiting for the altar call. When the altar call was made, I got up and went to the front. I have heard them say, Pray through, give it up to the Lord, turn it all over to God. Well there I was. Do you know what I said? Lord, here I am, and Lord, if you will take this doubt away from me and give me an assurance inside that my sins have been forgiven, Lord, you can have this life of mine. If you will take these cigarettes away from me, Lord, (I was using it like the old Methodist saying, for good measure.) then I will do my best to teach your word. I just thought I was throwing that in for good measure. When the prayer line was over and everybody got up, I was asked, Bro. Jackson, what has the Lord done for you? I said, I came here tonight to give my heart to the Lord and I have surrendered my heart to Him and said, Lord, give me a know-so salvation and I will do my best to live for you. Now comes the Bible into the picture. I had no way of knowing it would be pouring down rain the next day and I would not be able to work outside. This was April 1950, I find myself sitting in the living room with my Bible. I had never wanted to get close to it, as I have testified many times. I did not want to be a fanatic, that would do something like I had heard of others doing, like plucking out an eye, or cutting off a hand, as you see in Matthew 5:29-30. Nevertheless for that entire day I read the Bible, just stopping long enough to eat a little lunch. From then on, God started speaking to me, verse by verse. When it was necessary, a little verse would stand out. Yes, I have read whole chapters never knowing what I had read, but once in awhile there would be a verse that would stand out. That went on for months to come. When they took me to the hospital in the condition I was in after the accident, my scalp was torn back from over my right eye and the doctor said later, We didn’t even know if you had an eye left there. Everything was torn upward. He said, The way your heart was acting, we didn’t know if you would live until daylight. I remember my wife and parents were told, Stick around until morning: we do not think he will live until daylight. The accident occurred late in the evening. For three days I did not know a thing. On the day I came out of that state , my family told me what had happened, and from then on, I began to regain consciousness and began to eat. As I regained consciousness I began to be aware that my head was all bandaged, so that I could only see with the left eye. I will never forget the day the doctor came in and said, Raymond, we are going to unbandage your head: we don’t know if you have an eye there in the right socket, and your scalp Raymond, looking at it, we did not know if you would even live. The scalp was torn back and this is what the doctor saw, something that they did not know what to do with. (The reason I am telling this, is to emphasize what the doctor said.) This is what the doctors saw, all the muscles that controlled the eyebrow, and the eyelid, were all peeled back with the scalp. He said, We could not tell where to connect anything, so we just peeled it all out and brought the scalp back down and sewed it in place. (You can see that I still have the scar.) When I did regain consciousness and they saw that I was going to live, that is when they took the bandage off. I was sitting in bed, with a nurse on each side and the doctor in front talking to me. They started unwrapping the bandage. When they were done, the nurse picked up some gauze with a lot of fluid on it and began to soak the dried blood on that area. The doctor in the meantime, saw that there was still an eye in the socket. He put his hand over my eye and said, Raymond, can you see me? I said yes. He looked around to my family and said, You can thank Almighty God for that. I went to see that doctor for several weeks after I was released from the hospital. He said to me one day, Raymond, you will never be able to close that eyelid, and staying open all the time would irritate the eye, so you will have to pull the eyelid closed part of the time. I thought, Well at least I can do that. But I testify to you this morning, God did a miracle on behalf of my physical being, not because I knew anything about divine healing, but God knew exactly what He was going to cause me to do at a future time. Therefore I just want to say, Let’s stop playing with God’s word and get realistic with it. We must let it talk to us instead of letting somebody come along and sway us with a bunch of nonsense. As for my eye, I could not wink with it for quite some time. If I pulled it shut, it stayed shut. If I opened it, it stayed open, but it would soon start watering. Within six months though, I began to notice a certain sensation in it, a pulling sensation when I would pull the eyelid shut. I could feel that muscle doing something. That went on for almost one year, and then I began to notice something different. Now I can open and shut that eye at will, so I ask you, Why am I able to do that when all those muscles were supposed to have been cut out? I have to say, God is a Creator, and while I was in my ignorance, He performed a miracle for me. I was not supposed to live, but I did. Then the doctors said, he may never be right mentally, but I am. I was not supposed to be able to close and open my eyelid, but I can. I can even wink with that eye now. What the doctors could not do, God did it for me. I stand here today saying, Thank God, He is a sovereign Spirit; and He knows exactly what He is doing, and why He is doing it. What He did for me, He did it well. He makes no mistakes. On top of that, having come home from the Pacific, I had contracted malaria. All the time I was in the army, we had to take pills to keep the malaria from acting on us, but after coming home, I had no access to those pills. I thought, When I get home, I will be out of the Pacific and the malaria will soon be gone. That was not right. I had not been home very long until I had my first attack of malaria. When that malaria fever hits you, you will know you have had a fever. You chill, you feel like you are freezing to death, you shake, the more cover you put on, the colder you get. From the time I was discharged until I had this accident, I had three attacks of malaria. But when I had the accident and recovered from that, I thank God, the same God that healed my head so that I could close my eyes, so that I could think straight with my mind, He also healed me from malaria. I never had another attack after that. Those things let me know, He is a God that acts sovereignly and divine, any time it suits His purpose. It does not pay to let your mind be carried away and played with by everybody’s ideas. I say that to let you know, it does not pay to try to use your ideas on someone else, as though it has to be according to what you say. God is not bound by what you say, unless He has told you to say it.
WHERE SOME LEAVE THE BIBLE
In 1952 the year I met Bro. Branham, I started reading some of the old Voice of Healing publications. Bro. Glenn Funk had given them to me. As I read some of them, I was amazed. There was one young man though, I believe he was from Louisiana, whose name was Jack Cole. He had been in the Navy. I read his testimony. The reason I am telling this testimony, is because some people that have had an experience of healing, will allow that to cause them to depart from the scriptures. Jack Cole was one of those people. He had several attacks of malaria when he got home, and almost died. However in one of those attacks, he cried out to God and was healed. As this attack was raging in his body, God touched him by His divine power and delivered him from malarial fever. This caused him to get the idea that God is still a healer, so he began to preach divine healing. As he did, he also began to preach that it is wrong to go to a doctor, it is wrong to take medicine and so forth. He was a great admirer of Bro. Branham’s life and ministry, but his own story came to a bad end. This was probably about 1956 or 1957, somewhere along there. Jack Cole had a tent and was in Florida. In this incident, they brought a little boy with polio onto the platform. The little boy was walking with crutches. When they brought him to the platform, Jack Cole had a very narrow minded attitude about how he prayed for sick people, especially when they had canes, crutches and such, he would take them away and brake them up as if the person would never need them any more. When they took these crutches off the little boy’s legs, he turned around and threw them away. He prayed for the young boy. The little fellow walked off the platform back to his parents. To the audience, it looked like a great miracle of God. I have to say, it was, but God did this to show something else. The next morning when the little boy woke up, he could not walk again. He could not do anything with crutches. When the parents took the boy back to the doctor, the doctor immediately condemned the whole thing. Then the people started a law suit against Jack Cole. A friend told Jack Cole, Get out of Florida as quick as you can. He went back to Louisiana and had not been there but a few days when he fell seriously sick with a high fever. I read the account, he had taught against doctors and against everything, but finally when he got sick, his wife saw that he needed to do something, she over rode his decision and had a doctor come in. This doctor examined him, he had contracted polio, the worst kind. In those days there was little anyone could do, so Jack Cole just lay there in bed. Doctors did everything they could. Everybody was praying, but Jack Cole died. Does that tell you something? Do not take a good thing and run over the hill with it. It will not work. From a standpoint of divine healing, that is a miraculous act of God. God did not have to heal my eye. He did not even have to let me be in my right mind. I could be a living vegetable yet today. I could have had an eye that I have to wear a patch over, because of not being able to control my eyelid, but God knew what He had called me to do and He wanted me to have the use of my mind and eyes to fulfill that calling. I did not know what was ahead, but He did. I have to say, Thank You Lord ever time I reflect back on those days. You must remember, that there was a time when I was so stubborn I did not want to get close to the Bible. In the last number of years, this book means more to me than all the other books in this world. I am thankful to God for His divine grace and mercy in my life. God is still a healer, but do not ever think He does not have different methods of healing. I am going to use another illustration, of something that happened to me. I met Bro. Branham in 1952. By the end of the year we had made up our minds we would start going to the Tabernacle frequently. Then we came into the year 1953. Bro. Branham had been asked to come to the Church of the Open Door in Louisville, Kentucky to preach. My wife and I decided we were going to go hear him. The meeting were in March. Bro. Branham was going to pray for the sick in those meetings, so I had decided I wanted to be in every one of those services. I wanted to see how God would work. Up until that time, ever time I would get a cold, it would always settle in my sinuses. Looking back on that period of time, there were times that nothing I would take would do me any good. I had so much misery and pain, I would stick my head in hot water, as hot as I could stand it, to try to get relief. In that month of March when Bro. Branham was to have this meeting, I took a bad cold. That first morning when I woke up and Bro. Branham was going to be there that night, I thought, How in the world can I go to this meeting with my head feeling so miserable. Nevertheless through the daytime, I would do everything I could to relieve the misery. I said, Lord, I want to go to this meeting, but how can I sit there and enjoy anything, being like this? You know, all through the daylight hours I lived in misery and pain, but when it was time to start getting ready to go to the meeting, I would start feeling better. We would get ready and go to the meeting, and I would feel fine. I am telling you an actual experience that happened to me. I thought, Oh my, God has healed me, so I would go to the service that night. My how the power of God did use Bro. Branham! I would come home feeling fine and wake up the next morning, my head throbbing, feeling terrible. I thought, What in the world is wrong? I must not be a believer, because I really let the devil work on me. I would try to do other things, my head hurt so bad I could hardly stand it. I sat around the house, sat in a dark room, put my head in hot water, just trying to get some relief. Then about the time to get ready for church, I would start feeling better. Every evening when it was time to get ready to attend service, that misery was gone. I would go to the service and I thought, Thank God, I am really enjoying this. That went on for five nights. Sunday night was the last night. I thought, Now how will this condition be next week? When we would come home Sunday night, there would be no more meetings. I woke up Monday morning and felt fine. I said, My, God has healed me! Not yet. That same thing went on for about another month or six weeks. I took another bad cold. When I did, it settled in my sinuses. I thought, Now I am really in for it. Saints, I am telling this for the glory of God. When it looked like I was heading in for another episode of soreness, pain, suffering, one night in a dream I saw myself in a hospital room, lying on a bed. I saw two interns come in, which took me from my bed and put me on another one. They rolled me out of that room and into an operating room. I knew, as I was being pushed down the hallway, they were going to operate on me. They put me in the operating room, they stepped out and two figures in white stepped in. One came to one side of the bed, and the other on the other side of the bed. I heard the voice of one say, Hand me such and such, some kind of instrument. I saw a hand pass over my vision, then felt a line drawn on my skull. As I did, immediately my spirit was out of my body. I was standing at the side of the room, watching. As I watched, they did some kind of operation inside my head. I knew that when they were finished, I would be healed. When they had finished everything, I was lying wide awake. I did not feel any misery, no pain. I have had several bad colds since then that has affected my throat at times, and has even taken my voice, but never have I had that throbbing sinus headache and suffering again like before. God healed me. He did it right when it looked like I was ready to go into another attack. Therefore I say to you everyone, Yes, God is a healer, but the healing is not always by a supernatural means: He also heals naturally, because He instilled a law of healing in us. He has a way of healing you in the natural, and He can do it in a way to let you know He is doing it. I am not going to say any more on this today. I feel that I have said enough on that for now. I have said, Lord, you laid this message on my heart, so I ask that you would enable me to do it justice, and allow me to use scriptures, as well as examples as I stand to deliver it. I am not seeking any glory out of it, but I do want to see truth itself honored by all. When the Lord laid this message upon my heart, I purposed to do my best to try to show that even though there are what we call miracle healings, there are healings that take place under other circumstances as well. Those are not necessarily by a divine act. I say to you also, Do not ever think God is not in any healing. When He made this physical body, He designed it that certain laws will function to keep it in a healthy state, especially if we treat ourselves right. When we talk about medicine and different things, we are not leaving God out of the picture. I referred to the scripture this morning, in Jeremiah, where it referred to balm, which was an herbal mixture used in the Middle East in the days of the Bible. The medical benefits of that became known worldwide. As I have said before, I have seen in some of the pharmaceutical ingredients, (years ago) before they started bringing out a lot of scientific stuff, that balm was used in different medicines that doctors ministered to their patients. As I said this morning, If we will take the Bible the way it is laid out, we can see the miracle side of God, but we can also recognize the natural side of God’s law of healing. When the Bible refers to the balm of Gilead, it is a known fact that in a lot of our herbal plant life today, doctors through the centuries have discovered medical ingredients. For instance, aspirin, is a product of the aspen tree. How many realize that? It is part of plant life. When man found that, just think of the realization that this could be extracted from that plant life and could be used to curb some of the pain and fever that would hit the human body. There are many other herbal things that have been discovered by medical science through the years of time, that are used to treat certain conditions. God knew what mankind would need as long as we live here in this natural body. He knew exactly what was coming, therefore He designed the herbal plant life to be of benefit to him.
WHAT WE CAN READ IN THE SCRIPTURES
I am going to ask you to turn with me to Jeremiah 46. I want to keep this message as scriptural as I know how. In many of the scriptures we will see how God looks upon certain people in connection with the medication mentioned in these scriptures. We begin to see the background of the type of people and we begin to see how God looks upon the unbelieving world. I will have to say, God has miraculously, divinely healed people of the unbelieving world. We can say it is an act of God’s mercy. When medical science has done all it can do, here is this person in a very serious situation. Somebody comes along and says something, and we see the hand of God reaches out and touch that unbelieving person. I am not going to bring those things in too much tonight because I want to finish up this message next Sunday. I want to give it full coverage as the Lord enables me. In Jeremiah 46, when your thought is not on the healing side of things, and you just read this, it is just so many words. But I want us to notice in the 11th verse, the prophet of God said, “Go up into Gilead, (That is where this herbal product was found.) and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: (Notice, a different people. Here, it sets the type of the unbeliever.) in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured.” Now we read this morning, God would say, go up to Gilead, is there not balm, is there not a physician, then why has the daughter of my people not been healed? But here he turns right around, and is speaking of medicine, of a healing herb, but He is actually looking at another type of people, unbelievers. That is why the Egyptian part plays in there. Actually, no matter what they do, no matter how much they spend, the wrong is not in what they are doing to get healed, it is the attitude they have toward the Creator and the one doing the speaking. That is how we have to look at these things. Let us go now, to Jeremiah 51. These verses of scripture fit in very uniquely. I know that back through the years, as this generation has had a deliverance move by the Spirit of God, and especially for divine healing, in the late 1940’s through the 1950’s and into the 1960’s, many times these verses were looked at and the healing evangelists would refer to them, like, Well that just goes to show that God is not in it. No, that is wrong: you have to read from the picture, before you can see what God is looking at. In Jeremiah 51:8, He is speaking to another element of the unbelieving society. “Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; (meaning cry for her) take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.” In other words it is questionable, and it is conditional. It is not that God would not do His part if approached in faith. To the Egyptians though, (the unbelievers)He has seen something there, that no matter how much medicine they would take, they were never going to get well. He could see that attitude, ungratefulness, the unthankfulness, so that is not the atmosphere God works in. No matter what that kind of people did, they would never get well. On the other hand, there is another element of people with a different attitude. When He sees an attitude that is questionable, He therefore says these things like we see in various scriptures. I brought them into the message tonight, to put this in the background. I now come back to the era of time that I remember, that I have lived in, and I have enjoyed seeing some things the hand of God has done. When we first got acquainted with Bro. Branham, in those days, for quite a long while, I was of the opinion though I had never heard him say one way or another, that if you are going to be believing in divine healing, then you just have to forget about a doctor and taking pills. I began to try to reconcile my mind to that kind of thought, but it looked like every time I thought things were going smooth, suddenly one of my children would become sick. That is one thing I can hardly stand, to see a little child with a fever. You want to do your utmost to comfort it, yet it somehow seems like at the last moment, you are compelled to take the child to a doctor. Oh how the devil likes to get on your shoulder and fight you, like, Now I have you right where I want you. You then take the child to the doctor: The doctor diagnoses it, a bad virus, quite common, but when you have gone against what you wanted to do, you are looking at it altogether different than he. Why did I have to be so unbelieving? Why did I have to give in and do what the devil wanted me to do? The devil just wants to fight you. If he can confuse you concerning the word of God, that is what his main purpose is. Another thing comes to my mind after having said that. Some of the evangelists you hear, and some of the people who follow them, have the philosophy, Well you don’t have to accept anything the devil tries to put on you. Just reject it, if you feel a sickness coming on, don’t accept it. Young people, please do not ever entertain that kind of thought. You want to live by revelation faith, not just someone’s ideas. Now I will tell you why I said that. If you could talk to Job, you would hear a quite different story. It is one thing to look at someone that is getting sick, but do you know the situation behind that case? When you try to experiment with your ideas, what is and what is not of faith, you may think it is easy to be smart. You begin to feel that fever in your body and then somebody says reject it. Don’t talk like that! Let us look at the trials of Job. How many know the story of Job, what he was faced with? I would like to see some of these Pentecostal people go talk to him, if it were possible. Well we cannot talk with him, but we can read the book of Job and learn a good lesson. One stern look from Job, and he would say, Where did you come from? You are not my friend. Most of Job’s critics were supposed to be his friends. Were they not? The reason I say this, is because of a lot of the things that have been taught in later years by those of the divine healing ministry. They have taken scripture completely out of context and tried to make it a basis of their own. It will not work. God has overlooked our ignorance in times past, when many times we misunderstood, but many times God also knows that we need the right kind of understanding and He makes it available. When we look at Job’s problems, how the devil came up before God and the Lord asked him, Where have you been? Oh, I’ve been running up and down the face of the earth. (God speaking) By the way, I have a man down there by the name of Job, what do you think of him? Now the old devil lights in on Job. Well, you have put a hedge about him. However if you take down that wall of protection, I will show you, that he will curse you to your face. That is why I can say tonight, If there were conditions back then that became recorded in the word of God, they were recorded for a reason, so who are we to try to change the picture, whether it is past or present, or future? How do we know but what sometimes peoples’ sickness, is for a reason? You never know why, when one day they look completely healthy; and the next day it looks like their health has crumbled to pieces. We all know there is a devil behind it, but we do not know why it was allowed. We have no right to tear down the character of anyone unless God has shown you something; and that will be for your own benefit. You get a lesson when you read the book of Job, because all these friends of his came and accused and gave advice, but none of them knew why God had allowed Job to be tested like that. We have a lot of people around today that can give you advice, how to be healed, when to be healed, what to do, and what not to do, but their advice is usually guesswork. That is mainly because, not every case is the same. It is better to believe God, and seek His will in every situation, though many times we will not understand the situation or the circumstances, but believe God anyway and do it without giving your mind away to everybody else’s advice, because many times it is only them trying to experiment with you, to see if their idea works. That is why I say, When we see some situations, it is better for us to keep quite. God is still the healer, regardless whether it has been done through medical means or a divine act.
A TESTIMONY OF HOW GOD WORKS
I will now relate an incident that took place in my wife’s body. In the early 1960’s she started having bladder infections. She went to the local doctor, a good doctor that we had confidence in. He would give her some medication. She would take that. In the time she took it, the situation would get better, but after the medication ran out, usually within a couple weeks or so, it was right back again. This condition went on for at least three months. Each time she would go back, the doctor would say, You take that, when that is gone, I may have to send you to a specialist. It went on until it came to its worst state. He had given her the last type of medicine that could be used for such a condition at that time and said, If this does not cure it, I will have to send you to a certain place to have it checked out. To see my wife that stood by my side through the years, and done everything she knew to do, not only in the natural sense, but always to stand by my side to help me, hurt me terribly to see her suffer with this sickness in her body. We prayed a lot about what to do next. Then one night I had a dream about what to do. In that dream, I saw myself taking my wife to Bro. Branham for prayer. We went to his home and he came to the door and invited us into the house. My wife was told to sit in a certain place. I was shown a certain place to sit. I saw exactly how he started talking with her. I saw the whole process. We afterward received the news that Bro. Branham was to have a meeting in Topeka, Kansas. This was around 1962, somewhere along in there. I thought, Well I will take her to Topeka and see if I can get a prayer card for her. We drove all the way to Topeka and got a hotel room. When we left the hotel to go to the meeting place, circumstances prevailed in the traffic, that I did not make very good time getting there. When we finally got to the meeting place, the prayer cards were all given out. This same thing went on, Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night. All the time I was thinking, I have taken her to Topeka to try to get Bro. Branham to pray for her, still the situation was not a bit better. Monday morning came, and we were in our car heading back to Indiana. I could not help but think, What did I go to Topeka for? Nevertheless when I got home, the next morning or so, she got up feeling very bad. That is when I decided to call Bro. Branham and ask if it would be possible to get an appointment to have him pray for her and he agreed. The next day we went to Bro. Branham’s house. I will never forget it. The dream I had, as we drove into the driveway, he met us on the porch and invited us into the house. As we went into the living room, at that time there was a piano sitting on the side. There was a couch opposite it against the other wall. Here was a chair that matched the couch. He motioned for me to sit in that chair. I did, just like in the dream, and there I saw my wife sitting on the couch all by herself, and he was sitting on the piano stool. For some reason Sis. Branham had stepped out into the bedroom and was doing something. Bro. Branham started casually talking with my wife. Then he stopped and said, Well I guess you understand the reason I am talking like this, I am just waiting on the Lord. Well the Lord is here now. He got up and took off his wrist watch, and laid it on a shelf. He started talking to my wife about the situation, as she explained how she felt. He then got up from the bench he had been sitting on and stood in the middle of the floor and said, Sis. Jackson, stand up. She stood up. He said to her, Give me your hand. He took her left hand and looked at it. These are the words he said, You worry a lot, don’t you? He said, That condition has become a very chronic thing. He began to illustrate what happens. When worry enters your mind, it causes your digestive system to go into a strain. If you worry in excess, after awhile it causes the body to secrete acids which overload the urinary tract. As the urinary tract is overloaded, this excess acid begins to irritate the bladder. As that keeps repeating, the condition gets worse. He was holding her hand, talking slowly, describing all the actions of what was going on. As he explained all this to her, he said, Now Sis. Jackson, let’s pray. He prayed a very simple prayer. When he was finished praying he said, Now sit down. Then he began to talk about other things. When his wife came in from the bedroom, he said, Mede, you weren’t in here when the Lord came in. He began to describe my wife’s condition to her. He stood up again and told why he took his watch off. He said, When I took your hand, big purple blotches would rise up, I could hear that spirit meeting that gift. After he explained this, he took her hand again. He took her hand and looked at her and smiled, you have more faith than I thought you had. He said, See, it is all clear now. With that, I cannot help but think, That is just exactly the way I saw the dream unfold. Here I went all the way to Topeka Kansas, but that was not the way God wanted to do it. I am saying this tonight, to let you know, You cannot hurry God. Stop trying to hurry Him. Stop trying to put Him on any kind of terms. You have to do that. I believe God has certain ways He wants to do things. We stayed for a few more minutes; and he said to me, Bro. Jackson, you have a wonderful companion. May God bless her abundantly. As we were leaving the house, the last thing he said as we stepped out on the porch, Sis. Jackson, put your trust in God. However in a day or two you might want to go back to the doctor and have him check you. The last words he said was, Don’t be afraid, everything is going to be alright. That is exactly what I heard him say in the dream. That was on the weekend. She felt so good during those three days, we decided there was no need to go back to the doctor. But after three days, when she awakened that morning she said, You know what, it looks like that condition has come back. I said, Then let’s go to the doctor as he said. She got herself ready and on our way to the doctor that condition stopped. We went ahead to the doctor and he examined her, and found that everything was O.K. I tell that to explain this, In that case what the doctor could not do, nor his medicine, the divine grace of God did what was needed and did it just exactly the way the servant said. That condition never did come back to bother her. I have to say Thank God, every time I think of that. He is still alive, He is still working with his people. He is still just as merciful today as He was back then. I must tell you though, That experience taught me something: you don’t hurry God, nor do you put conditions out there that He must help you your way. When we approach Him the right way and do our part, He knows what we need and how to meet that need: we do not need to instruct Him. Sometimes you do walk by faith. Sometimes you know when you are in a condition where you do not know what to do, but above all else, just keep your confidence in the Lord and somewhere down the road He will show His hand of mercy. You do not know how He will, but He will do it. I am able to give a complete account of what my wife went through. Therefore I say tonight, Young people, and others as well, do not try to experiment with something until you have been led by God enough to recognize His leading. You will only wind up disappointed. I am thankful for everything that God, by His divine mercy, has allowed me to experience in life. I know He is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is a God that is sovereign. He is a God that is merciful. He knows more about your condition than the doctors do, but it may just be that He wants the doctor to be the instrument in your healing, because He has ordained it to be that way for a purpose. I realize sometimes you could go to one doctor and you can spend a fortune to one doctor, but if for some reason he has not done one bit of good for you, do not say they are all alike. They may not all be alike. There may be just one physician out there somewhere that God wants to honor. That is why it is in the scriptures like this, especially in the 8th chapter of Jeremiah, verse 22 “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” He is questioning those two terms. Therefore I am saying tonight, The things that evangelists have preached and propagated, how they have used people to play on and experiment with, is not right for them to get by with that kind of supposed-to-be ministering to people seeking God. I cannot tell you how many times, especially in the 1950’s when there were a lot of preachers in the deliverance move, that preachers would pray for the sick, and the next thing you hear, is that So and so is traveling the road as a great healing evangelist. They would get a tent and then they were ready to go. Over a period of time, they would get to using this act of mercy to take advantage of the people for money. I know, that back in those days I bought every kind of book I could get my hands on, how to increase my faith, how to find the will of God and so forth. I still have them: they are old now, just sitting in the book case. But as I look at them I have to say, I did not learn a thing from them, because God did not want me to learn it out of those books. He wanted me to learn it out of the Bible and by practical experience as I walked with Him. I do not say these things to sound smart or to rebuke anyone, but God is sovereign and we need to look to His Word and wait upon Him. He is not going to sell Himself to some evangelist for you to just take however he wants to use you, and then you put that in a book and it goes for everybody, everywhere. No. A sovereign God does not work that way. He knows the way He wants to do things, and He wants us to be willing to wait on Him, for His time. One time during those early years we went to Illinois for a meeting. I have forgotten the man’s name, but he was listed among the preachers in the Voice of Healing Magazine, so we went to his meeting one Saturday night. It was the first time I had ever sat in one of his meetings, so we knew nothing about how he ministered. His message was a very simple one. When he came to the end of his message, he brought out an illustration about another meeting he had somewhere, and how God had showed him there would be a certain man. That man he saw, had some kind of sign hanging over him, that he would point him out and he would come to the front. He would talk to the young man and God would heal him. He was telling this. As he ended his sermon, he looked back over the audience and began to describe a young man, his clothing and everything. You have a condition in your body, you have gone to all kinds of physicians already. If you will come to the front and believe, God is going to heal you. The young man did. As I watched this, the young man told how he had gone to doctors in different places. I said, Here is one young man that has a gift, not necessarily to use as often as Bro. Branham, but the one time he was shown something, he used it wisely and the young man responded and received the benefits. I had to say, At least there is one young man that did not try to make this a traditional thing, that everybody he wants to pray for, he saw the condition. I say this tonight, and I want all of you to listen to what I am saying, Before the Bride leaves this world, I believe with all my heart, there are some things that God wants to do among that body. You cannot tell Him what to do, even if you see a thousand beds with sick people. You can stand and cry, but that is not going to move God one bit. You have to have an attitude like, Lord, these people need a touch. Lord, would you show us what to do or what not to do? That sad part is, a lot of people cannot be still long enough to hear from God. If God answers one prayer they automatically think, Oh He will answer the same way for a thousand. Away you go down the street screaming, Come and bring all the sick. From 1950 on up until now people have made a fool of themselves the way they have tried to commercially program God, to use Him according to their terms. It also caused another category of evangelists to come on the scene using the promises of God, like, It is the will of God that you might prosper, have money running out your pockets, the Bible says so. They really like to use that verse from 3rd John, It is the will of God that you prosper and be in health, but let us read that verse carefully. 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” That is certainly not a verse to use as some use it. I could wish that for all of you, but God would not be obligated to make all of you rich.
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE
We had some friends in the southern part of Michigan, which we knew very well. They came down on one Saturday and was going to stay all night with us and go to church on Sunday morning. They were planning on going on to Florida the following Monday for a vacation. At that time there was another man over here in Louisville ministering. I had read about him in the Voice of Healing. He had set up his tent over on Dixie Hwy. We decided we would go and hear him. We took this young couple with us to the meeting. I had never been in the man’s meetings, and neither had they, so we went, not knowing what to expect. During the preliminaries of the meeting they had taken up an offering. Then for some reason, the evangelist delayed coming to the platform. After awhile he came to the platform; and you could tell the way he looked, he was burdened. Oh, they could get their facial expressions in such a terrible look. When the meeting was turned over to him, he stood before the microphone looking so burdened. I have been back there praying, my heart is so pressed tonight and the Lord has told me He wants to do something for the people. That was his way of starting the service. He then said, But He wants me to tell you, if you are here tonight and you want to see God do something, you stand up and take out your pocket book and take the largest bill out of it and then come walking down here and give it to the Lord, and you watch to see what God will do. Well I had heard these things before, so I just took a dollar bill and went and laid it down, to me that was all this approach was worth, but these friends of ours, it touched their hearts. I do not know how much they had saved to use for vacation. He reached in and evidently took out two or three large bills. He walked down there and laid it where they had specified. The man did not preach but about ten minutes that night, and then prayed for the people. It was not a big crowd. I went home that night very disgusted. I thought, This is getting to be just a bunch of cheap evangelists. The next morning was Sunday, and we were getting ready to go to church. I noticed when this young couple got up and came out for breakfast, they began to talk about going home on Monday. I said to them, I was with the understanding that you were going on to Florida from here. They replied, Bro. Jackson, we were planning to go to Florida, but when he took the offering last night, we took most of it and put it in the offering, so now we do not have enough to finish our planned trip. Right then is when I said, God have mercy upon this bunch of cheap evangelists we have so many of today. They use the promises of God to exploit and rob people and fill their own pocket books, and God is not in it at all. You know, that taught me a lesson, Stop running everywhere to hear them. It is not worth the time, because you do not learn anything you do not already know: you only see how foolish some men can be. Well they no longer run up and down the roads with tents, but they do get on TV and do exactly what the tent preachers did, take every dime they can get from people.They come on with the spiel, God has showed me, that if you will do this and do this, He will bless you abundantly. They want the material benefits. It is a shame that the truth of God’s word has been so twisted until lit no longer carries the real meaning it is supposed to carry. I have to say, God is still a God of mercy, but He is not going to listen to everybody the way they have explained His word. Now turn with me to the 3rd verse of Psalms 103. I have heard this read so many times I cannot count them. I will read from the 1st verse on down. “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Every preacher that believes in divine healing will say, See there, that is a promise of divine miracle healing. Read it again, who healeth all thy diseases. He can use a doctor. Are you listening to me? I said, He can use a doctor but I am not telling you to run to the doctor every time you have a pain. If you are burning up with a fever, then for goodness sakes, it may be that God wants you to go to a doctor. The way faith has been preached these number of years, is just plain sickening to think about. If you even think of going to a doctor, some will say, you just don’t have any faith. Why did someone not tell Job that? It is the way you look at the promises of God, that causes so much misunderstanding. I have said many times, If God wants your healing to be done a medical way, through a physician, He will do it that way. On the other hand, if God intends to take the situation that is bothering you, and you have suffered extensively with it, He can reverse it at any time. I am going to use something that happened to me, around the years of 1992 and 1993. I got some new metal to put on a barn roof. The sheets were sixteen feet long and three feet wide. It was in the month of October. I tried to pick a day when the wind was silent because when you get up on a roof and start picking up large sheets like that, if they catch a lot of wind, then you have a lot of strain on your wrists. I wrestled those sheets of metal until I got that new roof put on the barn. As winter set in, it wasn’t long until both my wrists began to hurt me. I could see both wrists swelling. I would come to church on Sunday morning and my wrists hurt so, that I could hardly drive, so I went to the doctor. He looked at my wrists and wanted to know what I had been doing. I told him. He called it something, and I cannot remember what, but he gave me some pain pills to take when needed. I took them occasionally, but the condition was still no better. I went back to the doctor. He said, Mr. Jackson, I am going to send you to a specialist. He sent me to a doctor in Clark County, and they x-rayed both wrists. They explained that it was some kind of infection, and the only known cure was to have surgery. I thought about that, I don’t want to have both wrists cut on. I began to read everything I could on what that condition was. Over a period of several months, he kept giving me the prescription for pain pills. I decided later on, I am not going to take these every four hours, I don’t want to become addicted to this stuff. I was really in misery though. There were times I came to church on Sunday morning and my wife would have to drive. Sitting in the car by her side, I had my wrists wrapped in ice packs. That seemed to be the only way I could get any relief. I could not even open a bottle of soft drink, because of the pain. I came here one day and asked Bro. Allen and Bro. Bud to pray for my wrists because they were hurting so much. I felt that somewhere, through prayer, God would do something for me. That condition bothered me for at least another six months. I began to think I was going to have to live with that miserable condition for the rest of my life. I said, Lord your servants have prayed for me, but I just cannot stand to go to church every Sunday with my wife driving and me sitting there holding this ice pack on my wrists. I had stopped lifting any kind of weight. Now I want to show you the grace of God in all of that. When it got to the place that it looked like I had no relief at all, a change came. To this day, I do not even know when it started getting better. One morning I got up and didn’t even notice that it did not hurt as bad as before. Over a period of weeks, that condition which had tormented me for months, within a short period of weeks, it was all gone. I have been able to unscrew can lids and do with my hands, what six years ago I could not even touch. It was not the medication I was taking, because it was only a pain pill. It was because the God I serve knew when to bring about the change. He let me see His hand of mercy in it that way. It simply let me know, sometimes He is going to let you endure a little bit of pain for a while. The main thing is, that you keep the right attitude toward God, and do not ever let yourself get discouraged and take the attitude that God no longer hears you. He does. I stand here as a testimony, and I am thankful to God He healed my wrists. There used to be a knot right here. Do you see it now? It was like that joint was swelled completely up. My hands, I could not grip anything with them. But now I can. There is no knot there any more. Where did it go to? God took care of it and it was not through any medication I took. The only thing I took was a pain pill to get me through a few hours at a time. That is why I have to answer when you say, Is God a healer? He sure is. Hallelujah! The thing is, He does it right, and in His time. He does it in a way that when it is done, you will know it has been done by Him, a divine act. For the condition it was, there was no medication the doctor could give that would cure it. All they could do was give medication for the pain. I can truthfully say, God is a healer because I have experienced it. That was not the only time I have experienced His mercy in healing. I will say this, then I will stop. As the Bride of Christ begins to come to her senses and realizes who she is, what she is and what is going on, I believe there are some things God wants to do among the body, and will do, but He is not going to do it if we have preplanned ideas of our own as to how He must do it. God may come upon the scene some night and anoint Bro. Allen or Bro. Bud, or somebody else, and they might stand up and say, I had a dream last night that a certain person would be in here, and they have such and such wrong with them. But in that dream I saw the person go to the front and be prayed for and God healed them. I am using this as an example. No sooner would that be said, that person would be sitting there waiting, because they came here in pain or misery and they have been praying, God help me. So that person comes to the front and is prayed for. They feel the power of God come upon them and they feel a whole change come over their body. About that time, ever so many want to hit the healing ministry, and down the street they go, screaming, Come and see God work! Don’t do that. I said, Don’t do that. Let’s start letting God do a few things when He wants to, and the way He wants to, without us interfering. You just sit back and let God work, while you continue to walk with Him. How many understand what I have said? That is the truth. I do know this, When God healed those wrists that hurt so much and were swelled up for so long, I never did think I would ever be able to grip anything much again, but all of a sudden, where I had been taking a pain pill, I did not have to take it any more. So I have to say, Is God still a healer? He sure is and He knows how to do it and when to do it. I am thankful for brothers and sisters like you, who are not afraid when we talk about divine healing. In some churches you could go to, they will say, God doesn’t heal today. Yes He does too. They may say, We speak where the Bible speaks. No they don’t: they have cut that part out of their Bibles. God is still God and He is real to all who truly believe. I think I will just close on that tonight; and we will pick this up again next Sunday