Thorn in the Flesh or Pain in the Neck by Pastor Don.
Pastor Don asked me to transcribe the questions and comments one of the students in our Bible study asked because she asked them so perfectly and it would be helpful for the book he is writing. I transcribed the lesson (tidying up a bit of the grammar where it didn’t matter) but left the important dialogue intact. You will be able to see how openly we can discuss things in our Bible study to come to an understanding of the Word. My husband often tells our children Pastor Don is like a professor of the Bible. This discussion was extemporaneous. I know this is longer than most posts I put up, but I pray you read this completely for the subject mater is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND EMPOWERING.
We were given a homework assignment for our Friday Bible studies to look up every time hands were laid on a person in the Bible, to note who laid hands on the person, the recipient of the hands being laid, and the results. We have been going over these verses in detail, and our Bible study started out with a verse, one little verse, but Pastor Don assured us it was not a little concept.
Mark 1:31 is not a little one.
Jesus came to Peter’s house, Mark 1:30-31 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
Mark 1:31 is a biggie in the laying on of hands and the various rules and functions as it is carried out. Jesus and the disciples had gone from the synagogue and gone into the house. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. There are no details about what Jesus said or did, just that He laid His hand on her hand and lifted her up, and IMMEDIATELY the fever left her and she served them.
Pastor Don joked that the only reason Jesus healed her was they were hungry and needed to eat and she was a good cook. That was it. That was the main benefit, because a man’s got to eat. Obviously this was not the case.
What we have to see in this simple laying on of hands, what looks like a minor miracle is actually a major miracle. The reason it is a major miracle is because fever is one of the first entrances of sickness into our bodies. Fever is an attack on our immune system. If you can get someone feverish, it means their body is fighting a war, a battle, and it is through fever that entrance is gained to other types of sicknesses and diseases. We know fever is not a minor thing, because it is the number one cause of death among senior citizens. They get a fever and the fever turns into pneumonia and they die, or it turns into something else that attacks the body.
If we can learn to beat sickness at the point of attack, we can use that same strategy for all types of sickness. The problem with any sickness is we generally give up at the symptom. When we have the symptom, we usually declare ownership of the disease. We start putting “my” in front of whatever ails us: my cold, my sore throat, my disease, my fever, my brain, my eyes, my nose, etc. We put “my” in front of the disease and claim the sickness. We say, “Well, I don’t know what I am going to do about MY emphysema. Or, I don’t know what I am going to do about my psoriasis.” We put ownership on the disease, we grab hold of it and identify it as ours, not realizing that it is only a symptom that has come upon us.
Pastor Don shared that this morning he woke up with a cough and a fever. The devil tried to convince him that he couldn’t teach Bible study today because of his throat. Then the devil tried to convince him he has a fever and needed to cancel. Pastor Don asked his wife, how long as it been since one of us were sick? He was asking her to confirm their health and get to the point of faith that sickness does not come to his family and right now he chose not to be sick. We know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So when he asked Cynthia about this, he was telling the devil you didn’t get me then and you’re not getting me now. That he will teach Bible study today and he was not going to be stopped by a suggestion from satan. Pastor Don got Cynthia to come into agreement with him, and she simply said, “God heals us.” Pastor Don then noticed that by the time he drank his cup of tea, the feverish symptoms had left him and he was no longer feeling the symptoms. He did feel a little bit of fatigue, but went on with his day. Pastor Don could have said, “Oh I feel so awful,” and repeated the thoughts in his head. Had he done that, he would never have been able to do our Bible study. He would have been looking for some aspirin and some Vicks Vapor Rub, and gone down the symptom road. We go down the symptom road, when we pay attention to the symptoms which gives the devil more and more space to operate in our lives.
For Peter’s mother-in-law, the touch of Christ is at the point of attack, the fever. And Pastor Don knows that in Jesus’ Spirit, His Spirit Man, he spoke to the fever and commanded that it leave her.
One of the people in our Bible study mentioned that every time she planned to call in sick when she wasn’t sick, she ended up getting whatever she used as an excuse. If she planned to call in with a sore throat, before the end of the day she had a sore throat. She finally realized she couldn’t lie about sickness, so now she just tells her employers she needs a mental health day. Pastor Don said the devil is the accuser of the brethren, the minute she lied, satan could accuse her of sin, and when he accused her of sin the door to symptomatology was open, and the devil then had a legal right to make her sick.
Another person commented this is also true for depression. If you open the door to depression it just gets worse and worse and worse. And you just keep stating how bad you feel. That’s when the person on the other end of the phone will call and commiserate with you on how bad you feel.
Pastor Don told us there are times when he will call certain pastors and ask for a Word. The pastor will give a word or speak a word of encouragement, and then Pastor Don is good to go. There are other people he can’t call for they won’t give him the spiritual support he needs.
In Mark 1:31 it states that Peter’s mother-in-law is laying sick with a fever, so Jesus came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. At any point she could have said to Jesus, “I’m too sick, to get out of this bed or I just can’t do this”, and she could have surrendered to the fever. It’s the same in sports, athletics, academics, or in anything you seek to desire to achieve. You can stop yourself by giving yourself a mental excuse and you will be broken down. This is a spiritual truth from the throne of God, a truth that all the other faiths and people in other religions are aware of the truth. Verse 31 is so big. Jesus took her hand and lifted her up. At that point she could have refused to be healed. One night at a tent revival, the healing anointing was very powerfully upon Pastor Don. He went to a guy in a wheel chair, prayed over the man and grabbed his hands to lift him out of the chair. The man could have come in agreement with that and he would be alive today, but he just couldn’t. Pastor Don knows that had he just agreed mentally, his mind would have sent a message to the body. But the man kept saying “I can’t, I can’t,“ and apologized, saying, “don’t make me walk.” He was saying I don’t have the confidence to agree for this healing. The man had a severed spinal cord. It would have been a miracle, and he would have had to come in agreement with the miracle to receive his healing. The wall was put up and he never did walk.
We have to realize there is in a given opportunity in life, the opportunity to either come into agreement with what God says, or the opportunity to come into agreement with what your flesh is saying, or what the voice of the devil is saying. This choice happens in every scenario.
Pastor Don said that there is noting wrong with wanting to have time off. They never permitted their kids to act sick so they could stay home from school or church. We gave them permission that, if they needed a day off, we would give them a day off as long as it wasn’t to avoid homework or a test. As a result of this, their kids are seldom sick to this day. We taught them, if you don’t feel good get a good night’s sleep, don’t make, “I’m sick,” an excuse. Don’t heat a thermometer to fake a fever. Therefore his kids never developed the consciousness of sickness being their friend.
A question was asked about how, when Jesus healed people, he would ask them if they wanted to be healed. Was the mother-in-law healed because of Jesus’ relationship with Peter or because of her faith for healing. Pastor Don pointed out we don’t know the time line between verses 16&17 and verse 20. We only know from visiting Israel and going to Peter’s house, that Capernaum was near the house. Jesus stayed with Peter, so Peter’s mom knew about the healing power of Christ. After Peter met Jesus, she had seen him cast out demons, etc. so she knew the deal. In this case the healing virtue passed quickly because she was familiar with the ministry of Christ. She came into agreement with it.
When Pastor Don’s son, Ethan, was seven, he had had a fever one Sunday before church. His parents were debating about letting him go to church or not, or if he could stay home by himself. Ethan was familiar with their ministry, and told his dad to lay hands on him and he would get well. Pastor Don went on to get dressed, and when he came downstairs Ethan was well, dressed, and ready to go to church. There was no fever.
Being familiar with ministry and the Word of God, we must believe Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Pastor Don told us you must first believe that God is. He then told us we are all going to struggle with the question, is God, God, especially when you are younger. Pastor Don can remember wanting to disprove God, to prove that He doesn’t exist. This attempt to disprove God got Pastor Don into more trouble. It doesn’t say “If you are diligently seeking to prove him or disprove Him. It just says, if you are diligently seeking. The reality of the situation is: God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The author of the great book, More than a Carpenter, was in college and set out to prove that God does not exist. He was studying to be a lawyer, so he took all the systems of law and applied them to prove or disprove, on the basis of the veracity of the witnesses, to see if God could exist. And it busted him up because he could not disprove the existence of God. C.S. Lewis also tried to disprove God, only to come up with the reality that proves God.
God will reward us if we diligently seek him. By reward it means He will manifest in such a way that it will effectively change your life. And so Peter’s mother-in-law, because Jesus is living in the house, hears the reports every day about Jesus going out and ministering, so she knew he could heal her. It was at the instant that Jesus laid hands on her hands and the pull of her to get up, that she received her healing. That is the most important moment in healing. It is the split second when the person makes the decision. The decision is either I am sick or I receive my healing and I am well. As a mother-in-law, she was old enough to say to young Jesus, “Boy, don’t you pull me up out of this bed. Can’t you tell I’m sick.? I need to stay in bed. Let my daughter cook.” But in that split second she said “I choose to get well, let me get up from here..
Someone asked a question, and this is the exact wording of her question.
“I don’t disagree with what you are saying, but I have a question. I have a big question. Because through the years of ministry, I have come across situations where the person is incapacitated, ill, an invalid or whatever and God has used, instead of healing this person, He has used that infirmity to not only teach all kinds of things to the person but also their perseverance in life in spite of the affliction becomes a light and a courage and a source of hope to a lot of people around them. So I’m thinking to myself that God is God, He’s going to heal whomever He wants to heal, because I myself, sometimes I cannot always abide by the thinking that if you are sick then you don’t believe God. Or that if you are where you are at it is because of lack of faith. I have seen several situations where the hardship itself is a sign of hope and of teaching to the individual and to the people around them because so ordains the Father. People have prayed over these persons, the persons themselves have called and denounced the demonic powers that have hold of them. You know it’s like Paul and the fact that Paul had a thorn in his flesh that never left him, which could have been the subject of his eyes that made him ugly or whatever, that he tried three times to get rid of it. And he didn’t because there was a reason for the humbling of Paul as a human being through this sickness. You know, what I’m trying to say?”
Pastor Don replied, “I know what you are trying to say because I’ve heard it. I used to believe it.”
She replied, “You don’t think so?”
Pastor Don, said, “I can prove it. But I would hate to lose you, God sent you here for a reason.”
She replied, “I want to understand.”
Pastor Don then said, that people are so entrenched into that thought, into the belief system that Paul’s thorn was sickness. They have held onto that belief for so long that Pastor Don has found in his ministry, you can’t get them to look into the Word to challenge the belief. This false belief is the reason that the devil keeps us and holds us short of God’s best for us. He told her, because we are traditional, the traditional version of the teaching which you just expressed is so entrenched in our nature that we want to believe that, even though we cannot find it in the Word. What you just said sounds good, I emotionally agree but the reality is it’s not in the Word. It’s not in the Old Testament, its not in the New Testament. It does not exist. It sounds good to the human condition and we want very much to believe that but the reality is, and I will give you an early copy of my book (Heather’s note, Pastor Don is in the middle of writing a new book with this as one of the subjects of the book.). Paul’s thorn was not physical illness.
She replied, “It was not?”
Pastor Don said, “No, I can show it to you in one sentence and then you will have to be challenged. Then I’ll give you my book where I go through it detail by detail, but I will give it to you in one sentence. Paul’s problem was not physical.”
She said, “So when it says “in the flesh” it doesn’t speak of his illness?”
Pastor Don then continued telling us that it has nothing to do with the flesh. For example if I say to you, (he was going to think of an example) then decided to go to the passage in the Bible. He said that there’s such a desire, such a need to justify our suffering. We want to give it a spiritual significance, a spiritual meaning, because we are afraid to face the reality of what Jesus presents us with. But there is no one in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation that gloriously suffers under sickness. No where does God say about sickness that, “You went through that for My glory or you did that and you manifested My glory.”
She asked, “What about Job?”
Pastor Don replied, “Doesn’t exist. Was Job healed?”
She replied, “At the end, yes. But there was a time….”
Pastor Don asked again, “Was Job healed?”
Pastor Don asked, “Was Job suffering for God?”
She answered, “I think so, yeah.”
Pastor Don then said, “NO, he was not. Job was not suffering for God. Job was suffering for his own stuff, and if you read the story, Job, when he gets to the 32nd chapter, God says, ‘Job, who do you think you are, that you think that you are so righteous that you don’t deserve this?’ God slaps him upside the head, and then when Job says the right thing, God heals him” Pastor Don went on to tell us that the typical Christian situation is, someone gets sick, suffers, and dies. We go to the funeral and we say, “Weren’t they wonderful, what they taught us.” What??? Job was sick for less than a year. All of the theologians agree that it was less than a year that he suffered and he was healed. Not only was he healed, but he was raised to a higher level than he had been in his former life. He went through all that in a year. I say thank God for the chapters, and I’m not saying he didn’t suffer terribly, but we know what Job’s sin was. But satan came and said to God, “But you have a hedge of protection around him. Remove this hedge and let’s see what he’s really made of.” Satan still had to have a legal right to attack Job. The only reason he had a legal right was expressed in the first chapter of Job. It says Job made sacrifices for himself, then he made sacrifices for the sins of his kids, thinking they may have sinned against God. But never once did he run over to his children’s houses and say, “Stop the orgies, stop the drunkenness. You are taking what I provided from God and you are using it to sin. Stop it, I’ll not have it in my house.” This is the same sin that killed Eli, a refusal to discipline his children under his house. He refused to bring his house under subjection. The devil accused, the accuser of the brethren accused Job of sin and his sin was weak faith. Job had weak faith. He didn’t believe that his sanctifying power could cover his kids and the devil had a legal right to attack him.
Then Pastor Don said he wasn’t doing a study about Job, he just wants to show us one sentence that concerns Paul and the thorn in his flesh then he wants to move on.
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
Pastor Don said, “We’re going to go Paul’s thorn which will be in 2 Corinthians Chapter 12, And I’m going to ask you to do me one favor here, one favor. Please read this honestly without spiritual interpretation. Read exactly what Paul says. What does He say? 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, What does that mean? It means that Paul had more revelations than anybody. What does that cause? It causes the sin of pride. He got lifted up in pride, he says so himself, lest he be exalted above measure. It says so right here…a thorn in the flesh…Now, let’s be honest about it. Is he really talking about you break off a thorn from a tree and stab it into somebody’s flesh, or is he using a colloquialism? Is it possible that he’s using a colloquialism? “
Someone replied, “Yes.”
Pastor Don asked, “How can we prove that? Let’s say that I say to you this? “Just do it!” What did I just say? Nike. How do you know that?”
The reply was, “It’s been used a lot.”
Pastor Don said, “In our generation it has been used a lot to the point that it is an accepted colloquialism. Would “just do it” be identified as a colloquialism a hundred years from now by someone studying this time period, the early 2000’s? It would be written in history that these kids wore the shoes and said it, it was on television and someone said it, it was in newspapers and magazines and someone said it. Is that now how a colloquialism proved?”
Pastor Don then continued, “In order to prove the term ‘a thorn in the flesh’ is a colloquialism, all we have to do is look through the Jewish histories and see if the phrase is ever used by God or by the Jews. Is that correct? And if it proves to be a colloquialism, then it would be incorrect theologically to use it in any other form of theological interpretation outside of the colloquial use that was of the Jews.”
In three different places in the Scripture God said to the Jews, these people (speaking of the Philistines) that if the Jews don’t destroy the Philistines they will be a thorn in your flesh or a thorn in your side. He says it concerning Ephriam, and the descendents of Ephriam, the Assyrians. If you don’t they will be a thorn in your flesh. God says it in three different places that He is bringing you (the Jews) into this land, drive them out or these people will be a thorn in your flesh.
Paul, speaking as a Jew, uses a colloquialism that is known to Jews, a colloquialism that comes from the mouth of God. That the word, ”thorn in flesh or a thorn in the side,” or whatever is a reference to being tormented abused, threatened, or having an enemy in your presence.
Pastor Don said the book he is writing is going to be hated because it takes away from us a false teaching that has been part of church history for 2000 years. The thorn in the flesh is specifically a Biblical reference to a colloquialism used by God in Scripture. Paul being a Scriptural Jew, uses it because he’s experiencing something. And therefore he uses it in the same way God uses it with the Children of Israel. If you don’t do something about these people, the spirit that’s on them will do something to you.
Let’s read the sentence and we will figure it out. 2 Corinthians 12:7 ….a thorn in the flesh was given to me…
In none of the references in the Old Testament is it ever expressed as a physical ailment. None of them…It’s always expressed the same way as Paul uses it here. “…a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet…The word buffet there in the Greek is the word torment, to torment, or in the sense of buffeting. In the sense that I am going forward and three of you jump up and mosh you. It’s trying to get through a mosh pit where people are trying to bump into you, you are trying to get from here to there and get obstructed.
Someone suggested another colloquialism is saying someone is a pain in the neck. Do we actually mean a physical pain in the neck? We mean a buffeting, tormenting, annoying person or an annoying situation. Pastor Don thought that was a fantastic example.
So what is he saying here, “…a thorn in the flesh (or a pain in the neck) was given to me, a messenger of Satan…” He doesn’t say sickness or disease. He says right here that he got lifted up in pride and then got slammed with a demonic attack. He says it right here in the Word. Yet, it is spiritual blindness that has kept the church from seeing this. It’s right there and spiritual blindness has fallen on the church regarding this one passages. It says, “… a messenger of Satan to (torment) buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
He says it over and over again. I got lifted up in pride then I got slammed. Now he is saying I have to accept the fact that I had it coming, but did he ever get set free? Well yeah he got set free. Look what it says.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Concerning this thing Notice, how hard would it have been for Paul to say and concerning this sickness, or this illness, or this difficulty, how hard would it have been for him to say? He called it “a thing” meaning that it is a spiritual mystery, but it’s a “thing.” So he says, and “Concering this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He wanted it to go away. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is..” Please, I want you to notice that, he’s saying “is” not was. Now here’s the second problem, the church has been using the wrong definition of grace. You cannot find a definition anywhere in the Greek books, you can’t find it in Strong’s or anywhere else, where it says this definition, you can’t find where it says grace is unmerited favor. It’s not in there. It says grace is favor, but unmerited favor is mercy. Unmerited favor is a perfect definition of the word “mercy” which is kindness. So God is merciful, to someone who doesn’t deserve it – that is kindness, so God is merciful. Grace has a different definition. It says that grace or graciousness is favored status of giving empowerment to someone. The divine influence upon the heart made manifest in life. Pastor Don said he’s been Baptist all his life and nobody ever stood up in the pulpit and said grace is the divine influence upon the heart made manifest in life. And that the word “grace” is a derivative of the word “graciousness” which comes from the root of gifts and miraculous faculties. Nobody ever told me that when I get the grace of God I get miraculous faculties. Paul often said, “mercy and grace.” Well what is mercy – unmerited favor. Why would he say unmerited favor and unmerited favor unto you? It’s total redundancy, it’s total insanity. Nobody talks like that. Nobody says, “let me give you a cup of coffee and a cup of coffee.” God says, “My grace is.”
Someone commented it’s like God is telling Paul He’s given him an abundance of revelation and out of that revelation Paul must come up with a way to deal with this thorn. Pastor Don agreed.
Here is what God is saying, “my favor”, I favor you, meaning I set you aside as special, therefore I give you grace which are gifts, miraculous gifts and faculties I empower you to manifest the divine influence I’ve had upon your heart in life. In other words, cast the sucker out, Paul. Bind the devil in your life yourself. Put a stop to it yourself. And he says, why? Because “… My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God said to Paul that you, by yourself, don’t have the ability to deal with the devil, but if you will just admit your weakness, I’ll empower you to do it. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve been sold a bill of goods and we’ve been lied to. We’ve just embraced the lie. So what was Paul’s answer? 2 Corinthians 12:9 “… Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities (That word infirmities there is weaknesses. It should really have been translated as weaknesses, it doesn’t mean sicknesses and that is what threw the Church off.) “… that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” He isn’t saying that I’m still sick, I’m a mess. He’s saying I realize that when I am weak, God is strong and made manifest in me. “10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Notice, he’s basically saying I prayed three times, I’ve finally got it, when I am weak the grace of God will empower me and I will be strong. Then we only have to know the places he suffered persecution and distresses. Notice, he doesn’t say anywhere here sickness. There is only one time he talks about the fact, Paul is Pastor Don’s age, he’s 62, and while he’s in jail he admits he doesn’t have fancy glasses like Pastor Don has, so if there is no bright lights, he has trouble reading the script. And the people who are interpreting the text wrongly say that Paul had some kind of eye sickness. No, he was 62 years old and if there wasn’t enough light he couldn’t read, just like Pastor Don needs light in the pulpit.
Pastor Don told us we wouldn’t believe the stuff that others have written about what they think Paul’s thorn supposedly was, like he was a homosexual, had cancer, had an eye disease, all kinds of stuff, crippled, and they say since he was a boring public speaker, speaking in monotone, so he must have had a cleft palate. Paul says right here, grace is sufficient, he’s figured it out, notice if he has reproaches, infirmities, weaknesses, lack of ability, persecutions, distresses that God’s grace is sufficient..
In Pastor Don’s book, he traces Paul’s life through, from the time he’s writing this to 14 years later. Paul founded all these different churches and goes to all these different places. Now, Paul’s writing to Timothy and giving Timothy an overview of his ministry. 2 Timothy 3:10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, all the stuff he was talking about that he went through in Corinthians. which happened to me and he names the exact places where his ministry was in Macedonia, Corinth, etc., at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions (same word he used in Corinthians) (Pastor Don had us read this together outloud as if we were not ashamed) I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.” Pastor Don then said, “Now cry in your beer, here we go”, “12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” It doesn’t say we will suffer sickness, but we want to believe that. We want to believe there is something holy about you get sick and you suffer a long time and die, well you did it for the glory of God. It is unscriptural, unbiblical.
Pastor Don told us that he won’t make anybody feel bad that is suffering. But there is somebody right now laying in bed, dying, thinking they are doing it for God. That God is getting glory out of it. No, He’s not. God is only getting glory out of it if you are suffering under sickness or whatever with a good attitude. But He’d much rather you get healed and have a better attitude. Does that mean I won’t ever get sick? Personally Pastor Don doesn’t believe he is going to get sick and die, he believes he will be here when Jesus comes. But if that doesn’t happen, Pastor Don said he wanted to die like the Patriarchs. They wore out, laid down and went home to be with the Lord. Abraham just laid down, Moses went up to the mountain and went to be with the Lord. And you can go on and on through the Scriptures. And Job, we know he just went on and on and then faded away. That’s what you should believe for. Don’t sign up for pain and suffering. Believe God you can just get old and wear out.
Did Paul get healed? He says, “And out of them ALL the Lord delivered me.”
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So look the Scriptures over and see what Paul’s thorn was. He tells us unequivocally, without any excuse, he says a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of satan to buffet and torment me lest he be exalted. If you look at Paul’s ministry from Corinth, going through the book of Acts, beginning in Acts Chapter 9 and following him through to Chapter 19, he’s getting stronger and stronger. He gets so strong that in the later chapters when he’s faced with an agent of satan, a sorcerer named Elymas (Acts 13), Paul reaches out his hand and strikes him with blindness. He gets so powerful that, not only is he not afraid of anything, when they prophesy he’s going to go to Jerusalem and be bound up, he says yeah, bring it on. Let’s go. These agents of satan buffet him, lock him in stocks, throw him in jail, toss him off of a wall, stone him, satan’s agents stirred up the Jewish people against him and buffeted him and stopped his work, or so they thought.
So that’s the thorn. The thorn is a spiritual force. Listen, there are spiritual forces that work against you in your life. And what Paul is saying is this is a spiritual force on the Jews, a spirit of religion on the Jews. That satan was using it so successfully he was getting weary of ministry. The reason was, Paul was thinking, I have to do this. Now why? I’ve been to paradise, I’ve seen God on the throne, I’ve had revelation. He went to Jerusalem with Peter and those guys and realized I wasn’t even with Jesus in his ministry and I have more understanding than these guys because Paul got it from 10 years being taught by the Holy Spirit. He goes over all the Old Testament stuff and gets constant revelation of Christ all over the place, and when he goes to Jerusalem they are afraid he’s still going to kill people. And he has the realization that he has more revelation than all of the apostles. That’s heavy stuff. Then he started feeling pride, feeling exalted, puffed up. By the time he writes this letter to Corinth he realizes some of this stuff that happened to him was persecution due to him because of Christ, but some of it was just because the accuser of the brethren was right, that he was conceited, arrogant. He was puffed up and had it coming.
Pastor Don told us, when God sets us up for a test, he’s never going to test us with arthritis, tuberculosis, or kidney disease. But if the Church isn’t told, the Church will volunteer for it. If kidney disease comes, the person will lay down and go, “I’m suffering for the Lord.” NO YOU ARE NOT! When you suffer for the Lord it is because satan is buffeting you. You are such a danger to the kingdom of satan he will send demonic angels to come against your work, against what you are trying to do. This is not the way God works. You can’t find it in the Bible. You can’t find one saint who wrote one Scripture in the Bible that they are sick and thus they are suffering for Christ.
Christ did it himself on the cross, He did all the work for us, by His stripes we are healed. We never see Jesus with the flu.
The person then told Pastor Don, “I’m glad you gave this to me. Because it’s not the first time that agents of the other camp have come in to deliver things out of the word of God, evil things, exceedingly evil can use a good thing and turn it around. I mean, in reading it in both the Greek and in this, I can see it. (She is Greek and reads Greek fluently.) And I just want to say one more thing. I’ve gotten through your little book that you gave me the first time that I was here about the Father not deserting the son. (Not Forsaken, Healing the Father Wound by Pastor Don– you can read it online. Or purchase it through In His Name Ministries. (Heather’s note: Pictures are on that site as well) Well it’s tied up with this! It is tied up with this, the attitude that if the Father deserted the Son on the cross, therefore he can do something like that to me for his glory.
Pastor Don replied, “Exactly.”
Pastor Don told us, if we don’t agree with him in anything, don’t get mad and go away. That’s how satan buffets Pastor Don. People come here to get revelation and light, they are not emotionally ready to accept it, and they won’t come and discuss it with him. They just disappear and go off happy in the darkness and that torments Pastor Don. He doesn’t want to volunteer for that, but he has been in ministry since the early 80’s and he finds it constantly frustrates him. He knows he’s not the only one to discover this truth because some of these revelations are on the internet, but they are few and far between. How can the Church ever arrive at it’s full power if it is believing things that are biblically untrue? It says the gates of hell will not prevail against us, yet we have adopted so much error. Don’t get Pastor Don wrong, he doesn’t go to the bedside of sick people and say, “You’re supposed to be healed, you have weak faith, you dog you.” He doesn’t do that. Pastor Don has himself been on the death bed and knows that doesn’t help. He doesn’t want anybody to feel they can’t let Pastor Don know they are sick. Sickness comes to us all, we’re in these physical shells, we’re going to get sick. Something is going to break down. We’re designed to break down, but what he is saying is to not go through our process of breaking down and getting sick and say, “Glory to God.” Don’t invite Pastor Don to come and visit you at the hospital and you have wires coming out of you and say, “I’m going through this for the glory of God.” Say, “Lord be with me in suffering.” But say to me in between gasping on oxygen, I’m either going to be healed in heaven or Lord heal me down here. I’m believing to be healed, or believing to go home to the Lord, not I’m suffering for the cause of Christ.
Pastor Don’s father laid in a coma for 40 days, not because he wanted to, but because he waited until his wife (Pastor Don’s mom) was ready to release him. His mom called Pastor Don and told him that she heard a voice that told her that it was time for her husband to go Home to the Lord, Pastor Don told her it was an angel of the Lord. They prayed a prayer to release her husband and 10 minutes later her husband went home to be with the Lord. The nurse said he took a breath, a bird appeared in the room and circled the room three times and then disappeared. Then his father went Home. He was not suffering for the cause of Christ, but waited until he knew that his family was ready to accept his death. God told them exactly when his father was going home and they were ready.
Sickness will come to us and sickness does have a purpose, sometimes somebody lingers for us to get ready and deal with the reality that their time is up. But if we search out the Scriptures we will see that God is a rewarder of those who seek him. If we ask the Lord diligently why is this the way, we can find out and get an answer that will help us to see this is the way it had to be.
What did Hezekiah do? The Bible says Hezekiah was sick, was going to die from this sickness. He had a boil, an infection, and his whole system was probably going to get sick with that. And the Lord said to the prophet to go tell Hezekiah he’s going to die, its going to kill him. So Hezekiah is laying in the bed suffering and he gets a great idea, “God is merciful.” He couldn’t call on the grace of God and just get up from there. Grace is God’s empowerment for him to say to himself I receive my healing now and get up from the sick bed. Hezekiah didn’t have grace, but he did have mercy. He called on the mercy of God. God heard him and as the prophet was leaving God tells the prophet you go back and tell him I’ve given him 15 more years.
Your death, everybody in this room, your death should be glorious for the Bible says precious to the Lord is the death of the saints. Nobody should leave here without making a spiritual statement. Pastor Don says he plans to shake the gates of hell. “If I’m physically on the earth before I go I plan to shake the gates of hell and make every demon who knew me and tried to buffet me quake because of the power of God residing in me. Listen. When Elijah died there was so much power in his bones they threw dead people into the cave he was buried in and they came back alive. I plan to make a mess on the way out of here. I believe the power of God in us wants us to do this. Precious is to the Lord the death of his saints.” You should be planning, when you pass from darkness into the eternal light, that somebody better know you are coming and you were going. I expect the spiritual realm to have a tremor going through it.
Someone commented, if we really believe in Christ and that Heaven is a better place, why do we go to the doctor and get hooked up, so we can stay here a little longer and do what? Pastor Don told us being hooked up to the machines is for the living, not for the dead. If you don’t put it in your will, that’s what’s going to happen. If you don’t set your house in order with a legal document, your loved ones will have no say in it. You will not be able to stop it until the doctors sign up on it. You need to have a do not resuscitate.
Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not sickness, was not disease, was not anything like that. He was having spiritual troubles and was fighting the devil every chance he got. Will sickness come to us? Yes, you’re going to get symptoms but you don’t have to volunteer for them. The only time you should volunteer for them is if you need to rest, set a time limit. I tell my kids, make a decision, I’ll be sick 48 hours and at the 50th hour I’m going to get up and do what I have to do. If I don’t get my divine healing instantly, I’m going to get it step by step, day by day, I’m getting up from this sick bed tomorrow at 9 am.
Pastor Don told us that years ago his wife was in the hospital. She called Pastor Don and said come and get me now, there is nothing wrong with me, I’m coming home now. Her doctor was not in agreement with it, but she said I’m going home, now. I’m fine if I have to take a cab. I’m leaving here now. She had disconnected wires, put on street clothes and they walked out. She, to this day, has had no more symptoms come back on her body from that sickness.
You have more ability to decide the outcome of symptoms than you think. Parts of you are going to wear out and get sick, but you have to make some decisions. But that was not Paul’s problem.
Pastor Don realized we only got through one verse of the Scriptures about laying on of hands, and said, but it was a Great verse!
Then Pastor Don said, “Listen, I’m not foolish enough to think you believe all this, but just keep living long enough and it will all come clear to you.”
Pastor Don says this from his heart, being a person of faith, when administering faith to people who have no faith and don’t believe, they should not be put down. They may think they are being put down for lack of faith, so you have to find a way to politely to communicate to people to do the best they can, to believe where they can believe. You may not be able to lift them out of the wheelchair; you might only be able to help them believe as far as they can believe which may be that they are more comfortable in their wheel chair. There’s nothing wrong with that. Find the point where the person’s faith is and have them believe for that point. Everybody’s not going to believe for the raising of the dead. But lock on where you can believe. Not everybody can believe that they can be healed for diabetes, but they can believe that they will have perfect maintenance with their medication. Not everyone with cancer can believe that with no intervention they can be healed, but they can believe that with the chemo they will have healing. Let’s not be obnoxious and arrogant or annoying to people. When people come up in prayer line with cancer, I ask them can you believe to be healed with chemo or with out it, with your doctor’s treatment, or without it? If they tell me I’ll take chemo and radiation I don’t say to them, “You don’t have faith.” Are you kidding? Pastor Don said, I don’t know how much faith I would have in that situation. I know that without the supernatural movement of God I wouldn’t have been healed from lung disease, I wouldn’t have known what to do.
Always be kind. Say, I’m willing to pray for you wherever you are. What can you believe for? Can you believe for a “B” on this exam or that you can ace it? Can you believe that you can buy this house or that the third house is yours? The Word is very clear, prayer is the prayer of agreement. Where two or more are gathered there He is. Don’t make a person feel bad about their faith.
If you believe you can drive with hand controls because your leg’s no good. I’ll believe with you for good hand controls. What did Jesus do, he went up to people, and told them to let it be to you as you have said. You want me to pray for your blind eyes, fine. What can you believe? Do you believe I can do this, Yes Lord, help thou my unbelief. Jesus said cool, were’ good to go. Jesus has faith, he could have said to everyone at the pool of Siloam oh ye of little faith forget it, but He just kept climbing over bodies until He found one guy and asked him if he would be healed today. The man said I’ve been trying 32 years, I want to receive my healing. The only problem is that I can’t get into the water. Jesus said you don’t need to get in the water, the Water of Life is here. Let me wet you up right now.
Believe for people wherever they are and don’t make them feel bad because they don’t have the kind of faith you have. And who knows you got it? Until something happens we don’t know you have it.
Pastor Don has seen tremendous healings and has failed many times. Like Hank Aaron who hit the most home runs and struck out the most times. Pastor Don wished that everyone he prayed for was instantly healed, but he has learned something — that instant healings aren’t always the best. The best ones are the ones you work for, that make you have a positive confession of faith, so if you learn how to do it and keep saying, I believe I receive my healing. If you can do that for a month or two then you become a world champion pray-er.
If you make people feel bad because they are not faith giants, your test will come just like Paul’s test came.
This study was such a blessing. I hope your day is blessed.
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