Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

Jesus_Heals_Young_ManRemember the Savior

One of my goals this year is to remember the Savior in a more tangible manner. To me, that means being able to relate the stories of Jesus from memory. The best way to know the Savior is to meet him. The next best way is by study and by faith. Since I haven’t met the Savior yet in this life, I’ve decided to do the next best thing – write in my own words what I know about Him.

A New Story Each Week

The beauty of this project is that I get to pick and choose what I feel inspired to tell in each post. I don’t promise to write every week, but I’m going to try. My apologies to Yoda – I’m not a Jedi Knight. You know the line, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Therefore his sage advice, a nice line from George Lucas, is not reality yet. I’m not quite at that level today. Some days I get too busy.

Jesus Christ is Real

It’s kind of funny I would think of Yoda in this first post of what I hope will be a regular series. Yoda is a small but powerful, inspiring and motivational character. However, he came from the imagination of George Lucas. On the other hand, Jesus Christ is a real person. The evidence of his existence is so great that only the most skeptical persons claim he is but a myth or legend.

Third of World is Christian

Jesus, while not small – I’ve been told He is about 6’2” or 6’3” by those who claim to have seen him – is also a powerful, inspiring and motivational individual. There are more people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ than any other person who ever lived on this earth. According to the 2011 Pew Report on Global Christianity, a third of the world population today is Christian.

Jesus Has Power Over the Spirits

One of the most remarkable attributes of the Savior, and the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Him, is His power over the adversary. Specifically, when I think of Jesus, I think of the many examples we have of Him healing those who are afflicted by evil or unclean spirits. I define evil spirits as those never mortal. Unclean spirits are the dead who hide from the light.

Definition of Evil Spirits

To be even more specific, evil spirits specifically chose to reject a mortal experience. They are not neutral. They follow Lucifer, or the devil, and do his bidding. They are controlled by him. There are those who believe these spirits can repent, believe in Christ and experience mortality. I’m not convinced this is possible, although I’ve studied arguments for each side. I remain open.

Difference of Unclean Spirit

I use the term unclean spirits because that’s a phrase found in the scriptures. It defines those who were once mortal, have died, yet have not found peace and rest in the light of paradise. They are for one reason or another, tied to something, someone or some idea in this life. They either do not believe in Jesus Christ or do not want to believe. They are lost, confused and miserable.

Yes, They are Like Ghosts

Because they have not gone to the light, they wander the earth, seeking whatever it is that keeps them bound, unable to experience it without a physical body. For this reason, they seek to find mortals who are willing to let them co-habit their mortal bodies, or just hang around with them. No, I can’t prove it and neither can you unless you can see into the spirit world all around us.

Example of Power Over Fear

You may ask why I think of such a negative concept as evil and unclean spirits when I think of Jesus. Why not think of His many examples of teaching, showing love, kindness, tenderness and mercy? Trust me, as the year rolls on, I will relate those stories and how they have affected me. Today, I start by proclaiming the power of Jesus over fear, one of the principal tools of the devil.

Prophets Saw Christ Healing Others

In the Book of Mormon (1 Ne 11:31), Nephi was shown a vision of the life of the Savior. I find it interesting he was careful to bear witness of seeing “multitudes of people who were sick, and were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits…And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.”

Afflictions Can Affect the Mind

I can relate to this verse. It speaks to me. I have been sick many times in my life. Afflicted is the right word to use when speaking of diseases. I define a disease as a sickness that lingers or will not go away. I note carefully that Nephi saw devils and unclean spirits in association with those who were sick and afflicted with disease. Such affliction can affect the mind as well as the body.

Jesus Went Around Healing People

To me, it is wonderful to know that healing the sick and afflicted is one of the main things Jesus did as he went about teaching the multitudes. What greater good can you do for someone than to heal them? I can think of only two greater gifts. One is the gift of the resurrection and the other is the gift of eternal life, which is the promise of sharing all that God has. He wants us to have that.

Faith in Christ Helps Healing

Later in the book of Mormon (3 Ne 17:5–10) Jesus asks the people to bring Him their sick and afflicted. Note carefully the words He used, “…I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.” When I am sick or afflicted as I have been for most of the past year (constant headaches), I do all the medical experts tell me. But ultimately, healing is a matter of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Afflictions Can Draw us to Christ

I have learned a lot in this past year of affliction. It’s easy to say, “Oh, it’s just part of life. It’s simply the result of too much close work with the computer for the last thirty-five years.” Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. I look upon it now as an opportunity for me to develop greater faith and specifically faith in Jesus Christ. I never thought I would say this affliction is for my own good.

God Chastens Those He Loves

Yet that’s how I feel now. We can read many places in the scriptures the Lord chastens those he loves (Heb 12:5–11, Prov 3:11–12, Rev 3:19, D&C 95:1, D&C 101:2–5, D&C 136:31). I confess it’s hard to feel loved when my head aches so much I can barely concentrate sufficiently to get my work done each day. I’ve always wanted to lose weight. I’ve lost thirty or forty pounds now.

Sometimes We Hinder our Healing

Maybe my subconscious mind is trying to help me. Maybe this pain is the only way the Lord could answer my prayer. I share with Him my goals. He knows I want to be healthy so I can serve Him and provide for my family. There’s a lot more I could do like be more consistent in exercise and diet. I wonder if I haven’t been fighting against the Lord’s efforts to bless me.

My Personal Witness

You may ask why I attribute this affliction to the adversary and not to some natural cause. Oh, I’m sure the day will come, once the headaches go away, it will be easy to look back and say, “You’re better now because you lost weight, or because we found the right combination of drugs or because you changed your diet,” or some other logical, Western, left-brained explanation.

Fasting May be Required

This affliction started with an event that convinced me the adversary was involved. You can read my story at this link if you haven’t already. I feel like Job in a small way. I am also convinced my healing will be the result of a newfound or enhanced faith in Jesus Christ that I did not have before. Faith is an amazing thing, but sometimes, it takes fasting to get rid of some afflictions.

Story of Jesus Casting Out a Spirit

That’s the first story I want to tell. It can be found in Matt 17:14–21 or Mark 9:14–29. It’s the story of Jesus casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of a young man, just one of several similar instances we have recorded in the scriptures. Casting out devils is evidence of the power, love and mercy the Lord has for us. It is one of the signs of his divinity, witnessed in vision by Nephi.

The Disciples Failed to Cast Out Spirit

One day, Jesus came down from the mountain with some of his apostles. They found a large group of people gathered around some of his disciples. Jesus asked what the commotion was all about. A man answered him and explained he had asked the disciples of Jesus to heal his son, but they were unable to do so. Jesus seemed a little exasperated. He commented about a lack of faith.

The Young Man had Seizures

Jesus then asked to have the afflicted young man brought to him. As soon as the young man saw Jesus he fell down and “wallowed foaming.” Some have interpreted that to be an epileptic fit. Jesus asked how long the young man had been like this. The young man’s father said the boy had suffered like that since he was a child. He described how the boy would fall into the fire or river.

Fear Can Hinder Faith to be Healed

This father was beside himself with grief and pled with Jesus to help his son. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to those that believe.” The man said, “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief.” The father was frightened for his son. He wanted to believe Jesus could heal his son, but had already seen the disciples of Jesus fail in their attempt. Fear had killed his faith.

The Young Man is Healed

Jesus then rebuked the foul spirit by saying, “Thou deaf and dumb spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.” In modern language we might say something similar to this: “I command the evil spirit in this young man to leave his body and never come back.” The young man stopped thrashing about. Some of the people said the boy looked like he might be dead.

Jesus Admonishes Fasting

But Jesus took the young man by the hand and helped him stand up. The scriptures say the young man was never afflicted again. Later, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast the spirit out of the young man. Jesus explained it was because of their unbelief. In other words, they didn’t have enough faith yet. “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

What We Can Learn From This

From this and many other similar stories, both recorded in the scriptures and in our early church history, we learn two important things. First, it takes a lot of faith in Jesus Christ to cast out evil spirits. Second, it may require subduing our own bodies through fasting both to make our own spirits more sensitive and to show the Lord we are serious about wanting the blessing of healing.

Done In The Name of Christ

I have both seen spirits cast out of people and have cast spirits out of myself and others. Some say it requires priesthood. I disagree. Women can cast out spirits. The scripture teaches it takes faith. It says nothing about requiring priesthood. All it requires is faith in Jesus Christ. Casting out spirits is not something we should fear. Hollywood movies make the process look horrible.

Some People Have Gift of Healing

More and more people are coming to an understanding of how this works. It is a real sign of faith in Jesus Christ. Some people have the gift to heal more powerfully developed than others. I have seen much evidence of natural healers who were successful because of their faith. They always used the name of Christ. He honored their faith. I am grateful for this powerful story of Jesus.

An Invitation to Open Dialog

As always, your comments are welcome. Healing is one of my favorite subjects to discuss.

m4s0n501

10 comments for “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

  1. January 7, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Tim,

    One of the things about your blogs that caught my attention was your writing style. I’ve been looking online for awhile now and never could get past the writing style of other bloggers. The other thing was content that that seemed specifically directed to me and this blog was right there. This topic cuts right along some of my own thoughts and wonderments, which I’ve been discussing with HF, in terms of healing and the affects from ‘other’ sources, …and fasting.

    You’ve inspired me to try an experiment as I havn’t gotten far on this yet. I’ve felt like He is waiting for me to figure something out while I wait for “Conquering Spiritual Evil” by Doug Mendenhal to arrive. I had read over the very events you speak of just a few days ago in contemplation, and your thoughts gave me some new things to consider.

    Thanks for that!

    Rodney

    • January 8, 2014 at 5:46 am

      Hi Rodney. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate that something I’ve written about the Savior is encouraging to someone else. I pray about each post before I write it. This series of posts I intend to write about the Savior came to me by direct inspiration after asking in prayer for a goal that would be the most helpful to me and others this year. God bless in your ponderings and figuring out what the Lord is trying to communicate to you. I’ll be doing the same thing each time I write.

  2. January 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Tim
    Happy New Years and thank you for sharing your testimony of the Savior. This year, I have a new calling as the Gospel Doctrine teacher. I came in a that tail end of Church History and D&C. I wanted this calling, it was my hearts desire and I prayed for the ability to see it forth. Sometimes I awake praying because my spiritual self is more in tune at times than my waking self. I remember the dialogue I had with the Savior. I was assured that what ever He sent me to do, I would be able to do it. And to not worry if I was new, a convert, or any of that. But it was a shaky start for me, I am shy by nature, soft spoken too. I had to work on “projection”, and a nervous wreck I was every Sunday, until last Sunday. The Lord promised that “Whatsoever we ask him in faith, he will give it to us.” I prayed like the cowardly lion for bravery, and like the scarecrow in the Wiz of Oz, for a brain to proclaim this gospel. I remember standing in front of the class, and I asked the first question and afterwards there was such a dynamic spirit in that room, we were all carried away by it and blessed.

    I would love to “see” the Savior too, so I prayed, and I was given a dream. I want to “hear” his voice too, and I do, and not just in someone else’s voice either. I know that when it is necessary or even His good pleasure, He will “touch” us and “whisper” to us, It does happen. His voice is a “breath” and his “touch” is tangible and meaningful.

    I have wondered often if our generation will live a little bit longer, if we will be healthy a little bit longer, so that we may “greet” him when He comes.But if not then we will have more opportunity to participate more fully in His work.I suppose this is why the 3 Nephites and even John the Revelator asked to “tarry” just a little while longer
    .
    I just want to tell you Tim, you are a great person, I have never met you, but your spirit is so gracious and loving despite any afflictions.

    PS: A good book to read is by a man named Watchman Nee called “What shall this man Do?”. His story is awesome.

    • January 8, 2014 at 5:59 am

      Thank you Romona. I too can say I have heard the voice of the Lord. It is distinct. I hear all kinds of voices in my head – I have for years. But when the Lord whispers to me, it is always accompanied by a sweet, peaceful feeling and a warm impression in my heart. The burning of the bosom for me is real. Thank you for sharing your comment. God bless you in your new calling as the Gospel Doctrine teacher. I know it’s a lot of work and am always grateful for well-prepared and inspiring teachers. I also appreciate the book recommendation. I just ordered it and “Love Not The World.” Looking forward to reading them. Cheers.

  3. Roy
    January 7, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Hi Tim,

    There is no better journey than focusing on Jesus The Christ! Your blog is like an invitation to “walk with you” and I shall do so, to help you and be helped by you.

    Your brother,

    Roy

    • January 8, 2014 at 5:51 am

      Roy, my friend. You’ve stuck with me for a long time. I appreciate the words of encouragement. It is only to the Savior we can turn for true healing. I am convinced of that. No matter how many times the doctors say, “you’re making great progress,” it delights me to hear those words from the Lord in prayer. I can tell you He is pleased with my efforts. He told me so. I’ve prayed over this blog almost every day for the past six years. It is when I write about the Savior I feel the most inspired. God bless us as we walk with the Lord each day. I feel his presence more and more each day and am eternally grateful for that amazing grace.

  4. Janet Owens
    January 9, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Tim I am excited for your blog this year. I too had decided to study about the life of Jesus. I can’t think of a better way to get to know him and draw close enough to actually have that “face to face”. Thanks for your blog.

    • January 12, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks Janet. I hope I can add some insights that have helped me and are helping me as I attempt to ascend the ladder to a higher level. I know I can only accomplish this through greater obedience to the whisperings of the spirit. I asked the Lord what I needed to know next. The answer was “understand Jacob’s ladder.” The very next morning I received an email from a reader recommending Isaiah Decoded by Avraham Gileadi. I’ve been reading it this weekend. It’s got me thinking about life and the Savior in a whole different way. I’m going to try to put it into words in my next post. God bless us each on our journey.

      • January 12, 2014 at 11:18 pm

        I’m glad to hear about “the ladder” becomming a part of your paradigm. I’m on chapter 8 of the “Apocalyptic Commentary of the book of Isaiah” by Avraham Gileadi (and his web site) and have been taking notes and making illistrations to better understand the process (which makes,… oh, so much sense). It has been very revealing to understanding how God works with man imo including some recent answers to my own prayers. I’m interested in seeing how this will add to future posts.

      • Rick
        January 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

        I just read it too, Tim. Very good read, not a quick one. I’m somewhat new to the Jacob’s Ladder concept, hope yup can add some insights!

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