HOLD FIRM TO GOD'S WORD
After living through a long and exhausting battle with breast cancer back in 2007-2009, in January 2017, Donna Lombard’s world came crashing down as she sat in a small conference room at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas and heard the diagnosis yet again, “metastasized breast cancer.”
The x-ray pictures revealed that Donna’s spine was practically covered with cancerous tumors.
Those words devastated Donna, her husband, Wayne, and their entire family. Imagine having lived through an absolute nightmare only a decade ago and basically being told, “Your nightmare isn’t over. In fact, it’s back. This time it’s bad. Really, really bad.”
Doctors eventually determined that Donna’s cancer was an “estrogen induced cancer.” Basically, the estrogen her body was producing was actually feeding the cancer. Estrogen blockers were required.
Donna recently shared with my wife, Janet, “The greatest battle I fought and still fight is in my mind. Every time I hear of someone dying of cancer, the fear is almost overwhelming. The toughest battle anyone will fight in the face of persistent illness is the battle in their mind.”
For Donna, it’s a daily battle. In the face of the doctor’s life-changing diagnosis, Donna and her family determined that they would fight. People began to pray — family, friends, strangers —began to agree with Donna and her family for a miracle. The primary weapon Donna kept returning to in her fight was and continues to be the Word of God. Donna began declaring a few promises from God’s Word about healing over her body on a daily basis.
She declared these promises in the face of pain, doubt, uncertainty and all kinds of medical and scientific facts.
In Ephesians 6, the Bible calls the Word of God, “the sword of the Spirit.” With every declaration, Donna was lifting her sword in the face of the evil called cancer and saying, “I choose to trust God! He is greater! His Word is true! Fear will not overwhelm me. My God is always and forever faithful!”
I love how Donna described how her family responded: “People began to pray. The anointing oil came out. People blew dust off their swords. And communion became our daily bread.”
God is good! He is faithful!
In the twelve months since her diagnosis, God has worked in miraculous ways! After four brain MRI's ordered when docs found a spot at the base of Donna's brain that looked suspicious and doctors anticipating having to do a procedure called gamma knife, they finally concluded that spot was non-cancerous! Further, Donna hasn't had to endure one day of radiation. She has taken oral chemotherapy with no side effects. Her cancer markers that were at 400+ back in January 2017, were at 26 at her latest examination . And, finally, after her last scans Donna's doctor said, "The bones are healing."
Wow! Wow! Wow!
This brings us to the third principle for those faced with persistent illness.
3. Hold firm to God’s Word.
In Philippians 2:16 Paul gives us this challenge: “…hold firmly to the word of life…”
The Voice Translation reads, “Cling to the word of life…”
It’s when the facts of the current reality of a lingering physical illness keep crashing into the world of our hopes and dreams for our physical health that we need to cling to the word of life. We need to remind ourselves of the promises of God!
The greatest battle Donna Lombard has fought in her battle with cancer, hasn’t been her battle with the disease, but the battle in her mind. I believe it’s the same in practically every area of life.
My friend, Jeremy Self has been sharing a message for almost fifteen years that contains this big idea: “The truth will change the facts.”
I love that!
The truth of God’s word will change the facts of my current reality!
By the way, this principle isn’t denying that the facts are “factual.” It isn’t implying that incessant pain doesn’t make us feel tired and weary. It isn’t an indication that this kind of battle isn’t hard and doesn’t hurt. Pardon the language, but in the words of more than one friend, sometimes “life just sucks.”
When Jeremy and I say that “the truth will change the facts,” we’re simply saying that what God’s Word says about God’s character, His faithfulness, His dependability, about me, my health, my healing, my purpose, my future and my destiny; are greater than any facts that will attempt to tell me otherwise!
Paul said it like this in Romans 8.
“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 8:38-39 NLT
Paul references all kinds of facts in that passage: death, life, angels, demons, fears, worries and powers of hell. But he also said, “None of these facts will change the truth of God’s extravagant, reckless and faithful love for me.”
I believe we need to regularly — probably daily — speak the truth of God’s Word to ourselves and to our reality.
Because, “God’s Word is alive and powerful! It is full of energy!” (Hebrews 4:12)
Are you holding firm to God’s Word by speaking truth to your facts?
Donna shared with Janet, “It doesn’t take a long list of Scriptures. But anyone facing a persistent illness needs to have 2 or 3 promises from God’s Word that they are speaking to themselves and over themselves on a daily basis.”
For instance, promises like these…
God: “I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” —Exodus 15:26
I love that! The “I am the Lord who heals you” is actually the Hebrew name, Jehovah Rapha. That’s one of God’s names! Why not personalize that passage and make it part of your daily declaration: “Heavenly Father, I thank You that You are Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals me.”?
Or, how about this promise?
[Your words] bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. —Proverbs 4:22 NLT
The Passion Translation reads like this: “…as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.” —Proverbs 4:22 TPT
What a promise! You could make that part of your daily declarations! “Father, I thank You that Your Word brings life to those who find them, and that You are bringing healing and radiant health to the very core of my being! You are healing me from the inside out.”
Or, how about this one?
“…he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” —Isaiah 53:5 NIV
Here the same promise is again in the New Testament!
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” —1 Peter 2:24 NIV
Isaiah lived and wrote approximately 700 years before the time of Jesus and what He would accomplish on the cross. Looking forward to the cross, Isaiah wrote: “…by his wounds we are healed.” Notice, it’s “present tense.”
Peter wrote approximately 25 years after the cross, and looking back on what Jesus accomplished on the cross quoted Isaiah’s prophecy like this: “…by his wounds you have been healed.” Notice, it’s “past tense.”
Your healing and my healing took place at the cross! According to Peter, we “have been healed.”
Why not make this a part of your daily declaration: “Father, I thank You that Jesus was wounded for my transgressions and crushed for my iniquities"? He bore the chastisement that brought my peace, and according to Isaiah, by His stripes I am — right now — healed. According to Peter, by His stripes, I have been healed. The cross is the final word when it comes to my healing and freedom!”
Is it easy to talk like this when the pain is unrelenting, when the symptoms are so ugly and painful?
But it’s powerful! And it is life-changing! Because even when our circumstances don’t change, we are being changed! The Word of God is “renewing our mind” to the beauty of Jesus Christ, the faithfulness of God, and the fact that He is always working everything together for His great glory and our ultimate good!
So, hold on! Hold firmly to God’s Word!
We’ll continue this series of blog posts tomorrow. But for those struggling with a continuing physical battle, here’s a review of where we’ve been over the last three days:
1) Get real with God. Tell Him how you actually feel.
2) Get real with a few people.
3) Hold firm to God’s Word.
What promise is God bringing to your mind that you need to make part of a daily declaration over your life?
A few months ago I wrote a Daily Declaration of Healing and posted it to this blog. You can find it here: http://chrisgoins.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-daily-declaration-for-healing.html
I add to, subtract from or improvise on that declaration often as I read through the Bible.
In fact, I’ll close with this. Several weeks ago, I was reading Psalm 91 in my daily devotional time and felt prompted to read it in several translations. From those translations, I created a declaration that I began to regularly pray over my life.
Perhaps this could become one of your declarations while you’re in the middle of this battle?
When you dwell in the presence of the Most High,
you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.
2 He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me,
the only God for me, and my great confidence.
3 He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy,
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.
You can run under his covering of majesty and hide.
His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.
5 You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night
nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you.
6 Don’t fear a thing!
Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you,
nor will the powers of evil launched against you.
7 Even in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed,
you will remain unscathed and unharmed.
8 you will be a spectator as the wicked perish in judgment,
for they will be paid back for what they have done!
9–10 When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High,
our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.
How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?
11 God sends angels with special orders to protect you wherever you go,
defending you from all harm.
12 If you walk into a trap, they’ll be there for you
and keep you from stumbling.
13 You’ll even walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of darkness,
trampling every one of them beneath your feet!
14 For here is what the Lord has spoken to me:
“Because you have delighted in me as my great lover,
I will greatly protect you.
I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face.
15 I will answer your cry for help every time you pray,
and you will find and feel my presence
even in your time of pressure and trouble.
I will be your glorious hero and throw you a party.
16 You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you.
For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation!”
—Psalm 91 TPT / NLT / MSG
We’ll be back tomorrow as we continue this important series.