Healing Line

Healing Line

Struggles of the Prophets

by Francis MacNutt
July/Aug 2010

I’ve just finished writing up the account of John Paul Jackson’s prophecy that he gave in London in 1990 in which he intimated that Judith would write a book on angels. Now 20 years later, it’s coming true and she has a contract on her desk from Chosen Books to write a book on angels. This reawakened my memories back to the days when John Wimber and the Vineyard Church were introducing the “Kansas City Prophets” to other Christian churches. Then something happened and the prophetic movement came into some disrepute. Perhaps you, too, remember those days and have wondered how it happened, especially since we believe in prophecy as one of the charismatic gifts (I Cor. 12:10) that were brought to life again by the charismatic renewal.

The reason given for the skepticism about the prophets’ words, as I understood it, was that there was a very optimistic prophecy that there would be a great revival in England in 1993, but it never really happened.

What went wrong? Reflecting on those enthusiastic days, I think I have come to an insight into what went wrong and how we can avoid making mistakes in the future.

Reading your Mail

I think the key is that there are two gifts operating in the prophets. The first is that some prophets can, as it were, “read your mail.” Jesus did this on occasion. Remember how Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well,

"You are right to say, ‘I have no husband,’ for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband."

"I see you are a prophet, sir,’ said the woman."  -  John 4:18-19

In this first aspect of the prophetic gift, the prophet sees not into the future, but into the present reality which is hidden to our human knowledge. In a remarkable way, God reveals the secrets of our hearts in order to guide us to repent or to take some other action that leads us on the path of salvation.

The most powerful example of “reading your mail” that I personally experienced was back in 1990 when I was present with Judith at Holy Trinity Brampton Anglican Church in London. At that time the prophet Paul Cain led a healing service where he read out the names of individuals whom he had never met, but who had been revealed to him when he was alone in his hotel room. Along with the names, Paul was also given insights into the problems the Lord wanted to heal.

When Paul read out the names, one by one, the atmosphere in the church was electric, and naturally we were all wondering “will he read out my name?” The event was awe-inspiring. We found out afterwards that Paul was very accurate – “spot on” as the Brits say. Because this gift seemed to check out, the Kansas City Prophets were recognized as being supernaturally gifted. There are many other examples in the New Testament of prophets seeing beneath ordinary appearances into a divine reality, such as when John the Baptist, “seeing Jesus coming towards him said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world…” (John 1:29) This is just one of many scriptural passages describing how the prophets saw beneath the surface and the onlookers were faced with a decision on whether or not to believe what the prophets “saw.”

Predicting the Future

The other aspect of prophecy does not so much deal with a present reality as it does with the future. Here it is not so easy to see who is a real prophet because what is predicted hasn’t happened yet. In Jeremiah’s time, there were a host of prophets who were falsely predicting that God would save the Israelites from the Assyrians and protect the Holy City and the Temple. Jeremiah was an unpopular minority of one and he was vilified for destroying the morale of the Israelites by predicting doom. The religious and political leaders wanted to kill Jeremiah. To be truly religious - and patriotic - was to uphold the Temple – not to talk about destroying it! Who was right?

Unless you have a supernatural gift of discernment, you don’t find out in the present-time who is the true prophet. Nor can you make an accurate judgment by counting votes. The Israelites only found out who was right when they were marched into captivity and the king had his eyes put out.

The most famous U.S. evangelist around sixty years ago who had the prophetic gift of “reading your mail” was William Branham. He had the extraordinary gift of receiving “words of knowledge.” Branham became famous around 1950 for being able to come up with people’s names and problems by just meeting them. He was a very humble, trusting person with a limited educational background who was always being taken advantage of by unscrupulous entrepreneurs who used him for their own advantage. One of his great virtues was a realization that as a Christian, he was not meant to make money off his spiritual gifts; and so he turned his financial affairs over to managers who had the financial expertise that he lacked. They made money off his gifts. Nevertheless, he failed to keep up with his income tax and was sued by the IRS for a debt he was never able to erase.

He also started preaching various eccentric doctrines and came under attacks for his controversial views. Again, Branham was magnificent when he stuck to the “reading your mail” aspect of the prophetic gift, but then he started to foretell the future with predictions that never came true, such as, he said California would slide into the Pacific Ocean and that the destruction of the U.S. would begin in 1977. He always remained simple in his lifestyle (he drove to meetings in his pickup truck), but he was done in by his associates. It’s the familiar pattern: an evangelist has a remarkable spiritual gift in one area where he gains a great reputation, but eventually he is brought down by weakness in another area.

Solution to Our Problem

The practical application of all this is that there are some real prophets, who like Branham can truly read your mail. But where you can make a mistake lies in automatically judging that they have also been given prophecies by God predicting the future. This is what seems to have happened in 1990 with the prophets who worked with the Vineyard Church and prophesied that a great revival would occur in the United Kingdom in 1993.

But it just didn’t happen. 1993 came and went, and the prophetic movement lost some credibility. We discover that some Christians are given a real prophetic gift about what lies beneath the surface of peoples’ hearts. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you should not demand a critical judgment in regard to what prophets say about the future. In fact, when ‘prophets’ have predicted the end of the world, a prophecy that keeps on returning, they have been wrong so far. And yet, over and over, people fall for it. And such dire predictions always seem to attract the most attention and publicity.

We can check out whether some remarkable individuals have the “word of knowledge” gift which penetrates the secrets of men’s hearts. What we need to realize is that most of these true prophets, whom we believe because their prophecies are accurate, are not necessarily prophets of the future. The amazing prophecy of John Paul Jackson in 1990 that intimated that Judith had a gifting to speak and write about angels was followed by his saying that he saw us traveling to China and Russia which has not come true – at least not yet.

I hope this distinction between aspect number one of the prophetic gift, "reading your mail,” and the second aspect, "predicting the future," will help clear up many of the difficulties we have had with the charism of prophecy that was so highly regarded by St. Paul and the early church. Predictive prophecy is an extraordinary gift (witness Jeremiah). All I’m saying is that it takes the gift of discernment to be able to recognize whether it is true or not and follow God's leading!
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Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Magazine Issue

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201004_01


Push Back

by Linda Strickland
July/Aug 2010

I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel like the kingdom of darkness is pushing so hard on me that I am tempted to give up. In my struggle I turn to the scriptures which remind me that being a Christ-follower will not be easy, that I can expect persecution and defamation. I read about the struggles of the disciples and all that they went through. And then I re-read the Passion, and I picture Jesus hanging on that cross asking His Father to forgive His offenders - and I am humbled.

But to be honest, I am not consoled. Some days are just really hard.

Have you ever felt this way? I have. It is easy to feel discouraged, especially when people disappoint you. I realize that our fight is not against flesh and blood (people), but Satan will certainly use flesh and blood against us.

The last time I was going through a particularly difficult time, I was complaining to the Lord about the enemy pushing me around. His response was immediate and crystal clear:

“PUSH BACK!” He said.

“How?” I asked Him.

I happened to be reading the book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by The Rev. Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC. In this compelling and thought-provoking book, the author challenged me to a new way of thinking. He states, “There are basically two approaches to life: playing to win and playing not to lose. Too many of us are tentatively playing the game of life as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. We need to take our cues from the early believers who competed for the Kingdom.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men will take hold of it.  - Matthew 11:12

“There is nothing remotely passive about following Christ. Some of us approach our relationship with Christ like we’re called to play a “prevent defense” when we ought to be in a “two-minute offense.” Some of us act like faithfulness is making no turnovers when faithfulness is scoring touchdowns. Faithfulness has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo or holding the fort. It has everything to do with competing for the Kingdom and storming the gates of hell. With a squirt gun, if necessary!”

So I took the advice from this powerful book and went to the scriptures in search of an offensive approach I could use. It’s so tempting to take a defensive posture, especially when you are caught off guard, so I needed something to counteract the attack. Something I could do on a daily basis to help me stay offensive rather than defensive. So like the good wife of a former law enforcement officer, I decided to study my enemy’s tactics a little closer.

One scripture that reveals Satan’s plot against us is John 10:10. It tells us that “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, and kill, and destroy.”

Here are some counteractive strategies that I came up with to help me PUSH BACK when my enemy is pushing on me:

The thief comes to steal

Some ways we can counteract this tactic is to be a giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that “…God loves a cheerful giver,” and I can’t help but believe that anything God loves Satan must hate. Therefore, this tactic is sure to be a strategic move in pushing back.

Some of us have resources to give in a large way, while others of us can only give a little. The main thing is to live life ready to give when the opportunity arises.

My husband is a great example of this. Every time he sees those guys on the street corner selling newspapers, he always rolls down the window and buys a paper for more than what they are charging, and then tells them that the Lord loves them. He doesn’t even need the paper, as we have the paper delivered at home, but he buys it anyway. He makes use of the opportunity to bless them, and I can’t help but believe this small action pushes back the darkness every time he does it.

We can also give through actions. Do you have a neighbor who needs her lawn mowed but is physically unable to do it? Or how about your friend who needs to go to the doctor but has no car?

I think that if we really look, we have an opportunity every day to give, somewhere – somehow.

So give...it counteracts the enemy’s attempt to steal.

The thief comes to kill

It’s hard to think about someone wanting to kill you, but this is exactly what scripture says. In the second part of John 10:10, Jesus tells us that not only did He come that we might have life, but that He wanted the life we would have to be full and abundant! It is evident that our enemy would like to kill the abundant life God has promised.

 An extraordinary way to counteract this tactic of the enemy is to offer life at every opportunity. We can speak life everyday into our children, into our spouses, into our friends and even strangers. A simple blessing, offered through meaningful touch or affirming words can pour life into people.

Judith and I were recently at a conference where I felt led to hug a woman who was standing in line to receive prayer. When I asked her if I could give her a hug, she grabbed me and held on so tight that I thought I was going to lose my breath. Afterward, she explained that she had not been touched, in a meaningful way, for months and she was feeling incredibly lonely. She thanked me over and over for this simple, yet life-giving, act.

So offer life to those around you…it counteracts the enemy’s attempt to kill.

The thief comes to destroy

Some of the synonyms for destroy are: obliterate, wipeout, annihilate, devastate, and tear down. The actual definition is: to demolish; ruin; annihilate. To put an end to; extinguish. To kill; slay. To render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate. To defeat completely.

To destroy something means that something had to have existed in the first place. For instance: relationships. It is my feeling that this is one of the main things our enemy wants to destroy. If he can take down the family at its foundation, he has won. We are truly in a fight for the family, and the way we can counteract this attack is to stand together and love each other.

We all know how important words are, especially when they are last words, and I don’t think it was by accident that Jesus chose this topic to talk to His disciples about after He had washed their feet at the Last Supper. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another.”  - John 13:34

And to make sure they heard what He said, He then repeats it for them: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  - John 14:12-13

I don’t think there are better weapons against our enemy’s desire to destroy than love and forgiveness. If our enemy is out to destroy, then we should have a counter plan to build up!

I guess what I am trying to say is: your enemy has a plan against you. The question is: do you have a plan against your enemy?
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Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is CHM's Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Magazine Issue

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201004_02


Desperate Meets Determined

by Leslie Royalty
July/Aug 2010

At the most recent Journey to Healing Retreat back in April, we met a woman desperately in need of a touch from God. In fact, in her beautiful honesty, she even told a staff member at the beginning of the retreat that this was a “make it or break it” weekend for her. What she didn’t know was that God had already ordained the outcome, and was immovably determined to see it through. Although desiring to remain anonymous, she has given us permission to share her story. Here is her account of her reason for coming.

I have been the solo pastor of a small church throughout my seminary years and for this last full year of ordained ministry. Despite my clinical pastoral education training, several especially sad cases have triggered inner feelings related to unresolved wounds from my childhood. I have found myself depleted and without the spiritual and emotional resources to go on. I decided to come to this conference, chiefly for the opportunity to rest and pray. I had given some thought to things I might want to share in the prayer appointment, but only if I believed the intercessors capable of hearing my very painful story.

This precious woman endured unspeakable pain in her life, particularly her childhood. In fact, when it came time for her prayer appointment, she chose to decline. She felt so overwhelmed herself by the depth of her pain, that she couldn’t conceive of any prayer minister being able to handle hearing her story, much less one session being enough to address it. When I heard of her predicament, I felt the Lord’s heart of compassion rise up and went to try to assure her it would be worth it. I sensed God’s unflinching determination for her to receive everything He had for her, without missing one drop. It took a good deal of convincing that both the prayer team and most importantly God were able to handle whatever she needed to unload. Finally, she agreed to give it a shot and with courage decided she was willing to take the risk of opening her soul to receive. Listen as she relates what followed.

My prayer appointment went so much better than expected. My prayer ministers were attentive and caring. They listened to a thumbnail sketch of my story and then suggested asking where the Holy Spirit might want to go in this situation. When we bowed our heads to pray, the results were astonishing. It was like pressing the play button on a tape recorder and listening to a deeply painful childhood scene. Had I not felt safe with them and had we not been praying, I’m not sure I could have listened to my own pain. The scenes that came to mind were not what I would have gone to, but were areas that very much needed God’s touch. As I relayed where I was in the situation, they asked where Jesus was, whether I could see His face and what He might be speaking there. I could not see His face in the scene, but I could hear His voice, and I felt the hot splash of tears on my hands. I looked up to see the pain in the prayer minister’s face and realized exactly how Jesus might have looked that day.

The Holy Spirit took us to one other scene, an adult scene in the funeral home a few hours after my mother died in 2001. I knew I was angry, but did not realize that I had felt responsible for her depression, illness, cancer and subsequent death. I was able to look at her and say that what I had wanted was not her death, but for my own pain to end and to ask her forgiveness. One of the prayer ministers stepped into the scene and role-played a healing response from my mother. On review, I think it was important to recognize the depth of my ongoing childhood anger, verbalize it and deal with it, and find some closure to this painful relationship. I deeply appreciated this time of prayer.

In addition to the one-hour individual prayer appointment available to each recipient, there are about seven hours of soaking prayer throughout the retreat. During this conference in particular, we received so many reports of deep healing that took place in soaking prayer especially! This woman describes her experience with refreshing honesty.

Soaking prayer was a new concept for me. I am an extremely busy person, perhaps ‘driven’ would be a better word. I have a hard time sitting still. When the first soaking prayer session was introduced, I decided to purchase some books in the bookstore and use the time to read, purchasing a prayer blanket too. When I settled in for a couple of hours of reading, the lights had been turned too low to read, so I wrapped the blanket up to my chin, interceded for everyone in my church, and gradually began to relax into the process. The first intercessor to place her hands on my shoulders startled me, but then I settled into that as well. I did not miss a minute of any soaking prayer session and gradually learned to simply receive and appreciate this time alone with God. Each time I use my blanket at home, I remember the comforting sense of God’s presence I experienced during that time and ask God to continue it.

During the Journey to Healing Retreat, we include a few different ministry services, including a Communion service for generational healing, a mother and father blessing service, and a healing service. Here is her description of the unexpected love and grace she received.

The healing service Saturday was another important prayer time. This was a relatively new concept…I was very surprised that I was able to relax into the prayer, fall to the floor, and experience a very real and vivid time of deep inner healing with God. I could sense God holding me as an infant, and I experienced wave after wave of feeling loved, welcomed, valued, and accepted. It may have been the first time in my life I have ever felt “wanted and accepted” for myself rather than what I do.

As I recount the experiences of this woman throughout the retreat, I notice a constant thread of mercy woven throughout. It seems as though everywhere she turned, she unexpectedly ran right into Jesus. Even after 16 years of therapy, prior to this weekend she had reached the point where she felt she may need to leave the ministry. Yet in her desperation, the determined force of God’s love met her right where she was. Needless to say, she was changed. I actually just got off the phone with her and she confirmed that the healing God began in Jacksonville that weekend has only continued! Praise the Lord!
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Leslie Royalty Leslie Royalty is in charge of Prayer Minister Care at CHM. Magazine Issue

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201004_03


A Healing Place

by Michael Simon
July/Aug 2010

Everyone Gets To Play

In a competitive world, where there seem to be limited spaces on each team, there is a need for a place where everyone gets to play. Everyone gets to play seems to be God’s economy. For instance, things would be different in American college football if all 125 players got to play each game, not just the standard 66. What if all the players had a chance to start a game each season? If this were the case, Matt Cassel might not have had to wait 4 years of college plus 4 more for the New England Patriots to start a game and show he is a top tier quarterback. After not starting a game for those 8 years, Matt’s performance was so stellar that he was voted offensive player of the week two times that year. How many great prayer “athletes” will shine when they get their chance?

Even among faith leaders who promote healing there are many who miss the chance to communicate that healing prayer can be an ordinary part of the Christian life. The new healing center that will be Christian Healing Ministries' future home will make it possible to convey the good news of healing prayer to greater numbers both by providing more spots for training and more opportunities to receive prayer. Everyone can play. There are no second or third string players.

Why is that important? It is important for several reasons. Everyone gets to play means more healers to address the urgency felt by those in need of healing. There is often a high sense of urgency for the person who has been dealing with a life threatening illness or long-term emotional wounds. For example, when your doctor does everything medically possible, and yet is not sure your family member’s condition will improve, you want to know your loved one will live next week. That is urgent. Healing is also central to the Gospel. Healing, restoration, freedom and hope - not just in eternity but in this life - make the Gospel news really good news. Everyone gets to play means more prayer ministers sharing the Good News. Finally, missing healing prayer is missing a gift God has already given to us. It is like having a Ferrari in your garage and not driving it. (Call me; I’ll drive it!) Everyone gets to play means Christians using the gifts God has already given them to be a fulfilling part of the body of Christ.

Christian Healing Ministries is being called to an expanded vision, to build a healing place, where even more are given access to healing prayer so that all can play. Join us. There is a spot for you on this team and we want you to play!
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Michael Simon Michael Simon is the Director of Development for CHM. Magazine Issue

Issue Order:
201004_04