The Way Jesus Healed



When we read the accounts of Jesus’ healings, we tend to focus on the physical healing. In fact we do that today, for the most part. Yet it is an interesting exercise to see how Jesus ministered to the whole person in His years of ministry on earth.

The first thing Jesus dealt with in the paralysed man who was lowered to Him by his friends was his spiritual state. He saw his need for forgiveness. We don’t know what he had done, but Jesus perceived it and assured him that God forgave him. The he went on to heal him physically.

I wonder how long it had been since the leper who fell at Jesus’ feet had felt a human touch? Certainly, since he’d contracted his disease, the only touch he would have experienced would have been from other lepers. It would have done nothing for his sense of worth. It’s hard for us to imagine the ignominy and humiliation of having to proclaim wherever you went, “I’m unclean.” and to have people shun you. Jesus dealt with his low self-esteem, brought out in the statement, “Please heal me, if you want to” by responding “Of course I want to!” Then He went on to let him experience a human touch. And I’m sure it wasn’t a light tap on the shoulder. Having ministered to the inner man, He then healed him physically.

The woman who was hemorrhaging was unclean. Anyone who touched her would have been made unclean, but at great risk of incurring wrath had she been discovered she pushed through the crowd, touching people as she went. Then, to her horror and trembling with fear, she had to admit to everyone that she had touched Jesus. He dealt with her shame as well as her physical problem by calling her “Daughter” and commending her for her faith.

Jesus recognized that physical healing is only a part of the picture as He healed the ten lepers. Though they had all been healed physically, only the one who had a heart change that compelled him to run back and worship Jesus, He declared to be ‘well’.

The point of this exercise is to see that there is an interaction between body, mind and spirit and Jesus knows that. Sometimes we hear of someone who is physically healed, but later the affliction returns. I wonder if that is not because their spirits and souls do not receive the same healing and that deficiency affects their bodies down the line.

And when you come to think of it, which is the greater? All bodily healing will eventually fail. We’ll all die; but healing of the heart can carry us right on to eternity.

Next post we’ll see how Scripture confirms what the medical profession is only discovering now.

Meantime, be blessed as you turn your thoughts on Jesus, who is concerned about every part of you. He knows when you sit and when you rise; He perceives your thoughts — even your anxious ones — from afar; He’s familiar with all your ways, just as you get to know the ways of those you love dearly and He hems you in, guarding you from harm behind and before. Stay secure in Him.





Prayer, Medicine and Miracles


When I practiced medicine, especially in the ICU, I realised that there was so much more to healing than what I was giving my patients. In fact, it was precisely that that brought me to God. I had worked for weeks in ICU battling to save the life of a man who had been drinking, took to the freeway after an argument with his wife and smashed into a bridge upright. After pouring weeks of time, effort and expertise into saving him, he went on to divorce his wife and drink even more.

Conventional medicine deals with the body in a purely physical way, but the Bible tells us we are spirit, soul and body. 1Thess. 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is only recently that science is coming to appreciate how very indivisible these aspects of us are.

I have decided to write a series of articles on this subject which is close to my heart and this is the first introductory one.

Dr Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, tells us that our thoughts, far from being fleeting and immaterial, can actually be observed in the brain. They create little branches that grow on the nerve cells in our brain. Good, positive thoughts of love and wholesomeness in line with the Word of God cause healthy, harmonious branches to grow, while negative thoughts cause chaotic, distorted branches. And now scientists are learning how this can affect us physically.

Our DNA carries genes that control how things are made and how the cells react in our bodies. Did you know that every cell carries the same information in its DNA? So a kidney cell, for example, carries the same information as a lung cell. But they have to function differently, so how does that work? There are modifiers in the cell, but outside the nucleus that switch on the right genes for, say, the kidney in a kidney cell and switch off those that only apply to a lung cell. (the science behind this is called epigenetics). Now, your brain (as well as things like diet and toxins in the air) can affect which genes are switched on or off. If you have good healthy harmonious branches growing in your brain from positive thoughts, all the right genes are switched on.

Prov.14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body”

Prov.15:30 “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”

But if you have ugly, distorted branches from feeding your mind with negative thoughts, watching the wrong kind of movies, indulging in self-pity, holding resentment or envy or unforgiveness etc., this can turn off the genes that should be switched on for a healthy cell, and turn on others that should be switched off.

Prov.14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

Prov.17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Prov.18:14 “A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”

The bone marrow is where our immune response cells form. It is common knowledge now that stress diminishes our immune response.

These scriptures are not just metaphors. They describe what actually happens.

Apart from opening a patient’s heart to God and paving the way for a miracle, can you see how praying for a sick person can affect him/her physically in a positive way and promote healing?

I will continue this subject in my next post.

Meantime, I’d truly value any comments, testimonies or opinions.

Bless you


A book extract, for fun.

Beyond understandng.jpg

I thought today I’d share a fun story from my new book which will be published shortly. It is called Prayer, Medicine and Miracles, will be free, at least for a while, and is similar to God in the ICU, but also different.

——–o ——-


Those were primitive days in some ways and I hasten to say that the method being taught to us more than half a century ago would never be practiced today.

For a general anaesthetic, the patient sat in the dental chair and a small mask was strapped to his face to cover just his nose, thus allowing the dentist access to his mouth. A curved connection allowed the mask to be attached to the tube of the anaesthetic machine, which delivered the anaesthetic gas to the patient. Usually the patient received a small dose of intravenous anaesthetic followed by nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and a vapour similar to ether, via the nasal mask.

On this day, the anaesthetist elected to use a different method. She would fill the patient’s lungs with 100% oxygen, she said, by getting him to breathe it for a full five minutes. Then she would turn off the oxygen and give him pure nitrous oxide and nothing else. The oxygen in his lungs, as it dissolved in the blood passing through, would pull the nitrous oxide deep into the lungs and the patient would rapidly go to sleep.

That was the theory.

Nitrous oxide, however is a very weak anaesthetic. For this reason it is always combined with the modern equivalents of ether and choroform. Only a small, frail individual who goes to sleep easily would be a candidate for the type of anaesthetic our teacher was proposing. True, she had chosen a gentle, soft spoken man, but he was heavily built, with a florrid face that betrayed his drinking habits. Habitual alcohol use makes one resistant to anaesthetics.

All went well as she strapped on the nasal mask and curved connection and attached it to the anaesthetic machine. He sat placidly breathing in 100% oxygen. Then she turned off the oxygen and turned up the nitrous oxide.  His eyes glazed over and his lids drooped.

Suddenly, with a roar like a bull he jumped out of the chair. The mask and curved connection detached from the anaesthetic machine and he ran out of the room. Roaring all the way — and looking like an angry rhino with the mask and connection still attached — he tore down the corridor past the line of terrified patients sitting awaiting their turn, a horde of white-coated students, a dentist and a doctor in hot pursuit. The roar echoed nasally through the mask as he bellowed his way out of the building and into the car park. By then the nitrous oxide was losing its effect and as the white coats caught up with him, he became docile once more, peering at us with a puzzled expression while still wearing the little mask and curved connection on his nose.



Tears from the Heart


The Bible says< “As in water, face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man”(Prov. 27:19)

Sometimes we try to hide our hearts, but they are reflected in the water of our eyes.

It is that thought that prompted this piece:


What made you cry? What made the wellsprings of your heart overflow through your eyes and trickle down your cheeks? Was it something sad? Or were they tears of joy? Did the deep pool of your memory render up the death of a romance, the pain of a dying child or the wandering wilderness of a rebellious son? Or was it the glowing memory of an unexpected act of love so spontaneous you knew it was straight from the heart?

The heart is so private – so deeply hidden within. Who can know the heart of another? Yet, for a moment, as happens in a brief touch from heaven that pulls the drapes back a little, it showed in your glistening eyes, the trickle down your cheek and a stifled sniffle. It betrayed a softness – a heart of flesh, not stone; a vulnerability at once endearing and shocking in one as strong as granite.

What made you cry? How I long to pull the curtains back a little more; to see the child within – the real you. Not that your solid dependability is not you, but there is a part I long to hold close, to embrace.

Oh, what made you cry? Open up your heart. I want to cry with you. Whether in joy or pain, I want to be there, our hearts knitted, our tears like confluent streams in the same valley.

For when we cry together we will laugh together.

A Sleeping Child

All the images, from the Christmas just past, of Jesus in the manger or held by his loving parents prompted me to think of the wonder of infants — how they touch the heart by their very mannerisms, and delight with their first unsteady steps, the unfettered glee at something that amuses them or their first hint at an uttered “Dada”.

I suppose that is why the manger scene has had universal appeal down the ages, even in the secular world.

Obviously,as Christians we see more than a sleeping child. We see the wonder of God confined — nailed to our poor planet — as Luci Shaw puts it in her wonderful book Listen to the Green   Also we see the Calvary Cross casting its shadow across the crib.

Nevertheless, it is wonderful the way the Lord has encrypted into our DNA a tender response to any small child and a desire to protect. It prompted me to write the following as a tribute to God’s doing this: 



I do not suppose there is a peace and serenity quite like it; eyes closed with the lashes brushing a soft new cheek; rosebud mouth relaxed, taking the soft waft of each little breath from a softly rounded nose.

A child asleep! All the innocence of that fresh new life brought to the surface for anyone to see. No petty squabbling, no little tantrums  (patent reminders, even at that age, of our fallenness). Just an angelic repose.

What thoughts are moving across that newly forming mind? What images flit through the windows of his soul?

He stirs. A little sigh. The mouth moves, momentarily half forming inexpressible words, sucks a little and settles. There is contentment and rest in every posture of the rosy cheeks, the closed lids, the hand resting on the pillow, halfway to the mouth.

Tomorrow there will be new challenges, new things to explore, to experience and absorb. But for now there is the peace of a body at rest, a mind unsullied from without and a soul at rest, overseen by the Prince of Peace – the One who ordained that it should be so. He made this model of how we should approach Him – of how we should rest in Him.

There can be nothing so tangible as the peace of a sleeping child. The shadow of his guardian angel hovers over the resting form and all seems safe; all seems good; all seems redeemed.

If ever I desire to absorb sweet innocence, to inhale its aroma and stand reverently in its purity, take me to a sleeping child.

Extraordinary ordinary Christmas

Shadows dance on the stable wall, leaping and receding with the flickering flame. The man, candle held high, draws his wife close. Together they gaze adoringly at the soft new face, the puzzled eyes blinking slowly, uncomprehendingly, at the first perception of light. Banished are the memories of the frantic, fruitless search; the desperate plea, “Even your stable will do.”; the hastily spread blanket to soften the straw; the contractions, the rush of water and blood; the first cry; trembling, unfamiliar masculine fingers tying the cord, severing the afterbirth, wrapping the child. For now, there is wonder. Wonder at the miracle of that first breath, at perfect little fingers and toes bending, straightening, trying out this new world.

Humanity at its most poignant, most vulnerable, most heart-warming.

Yet hardly earth-shattering. Not to the passer-by.

So much to overwhelm, with the census. So much to engage the crowded dusty streets for: Accommodation, provisions, registration. No time for a second glance at the new family. History is made at Caesar’s census booths, not in a stable.

Yet heaven holds its breath, angels gaze in awe, the scene reverberates through the cosmos and history tilts upward as He, who once hurled galaxies, lies helpless in a mother’s arms.  The extraordinary wrapped in the ordinary.

How often God wraps the extraordinary in the ordinary:

The leader of God’s nation hidden in a stammering old refugee.

A king clothed as a shepherd boy.

The very Word of God enclosed in personal letters from prison.

Angels entertained as strangers. (Hebrews 13:2)

Creator of all He spoke to; of all that now shone upon him from the heavens; of all that nourished and preserved his family, packaged as a carpenter’s son.

And now, recreated beings in the wrapping of ordinary citizens; Creator’s children; God-bearing vessels; channels of His very Spirit mingling unnoticed with the ordinary. Yet extraordinary. (2 Cor 5:17, 1Cor 3:16)

God, give me eyes that look beyond the wrapping.

Beyond the cantankerous old woman to the bearer of Your word to me for today.

Beyond the brash young boy to Your sonnet, scripted exclusively at the dawn of time. (Eph. 2:10)

Beyond the criminal, the patient, the hungry beggar to an entrance to Your heart — treasures hiding in the world’s trash. (Matt. 25:37-40)

And beyond the stumbling, imperfect church to a glowing, resplendent Bride treasured and transformed by her majestic Groom of Glory.  (Eph.5:25-27)

Making Christmas Real

God gave His Son that all the world
Would have the chance to be with Him.
His glorious presence now was curled
Within the confines of a womb.

His gift to Man took history
And pulled its course away from Hell
Unfathomable mystery
A love that has no parallel.

And now we celebrate His gift
With presents under Christmas trees
With parties, dinners, Christmas cheer
And reunited families

Yet often in this crazy world
We give our gifts, not knowing why.
We break the bank to buy the best
We worry it won’t satisfy.

We party with our families
We eat and drink and stay up late
But if in this we exclude Him
There’s nothing left to celebrate.

It all becomes an empty show
That merely gets us deep in debt
And all the feasting and the hype
Can’t heal our pain, nor our regrets.

For though we share our human love
Forget our woes with food and wine
Our loneliness requires a heart
That’s grateful for a love divine.

We need to know a God who cares
Who wants us all to worship Him
To celebrate the way He’s made
To rescue us from all our sin.

If we party,  give our gifts
Ignoring Him who’s paid the way
Then ‘Happy Christmas’ is just words
Whose meaning fades with Boxing Day

For always when we celebrate
A God who came to be with us
The next act hovers in the wings
A Saviour hanging from a Cross.

It’s not His birth that gives us joy
But why He came — what it was for
That’s why we’re grateful, celebrate
The Baby on a bed of straw

So ‘midst the joy and family fun
Remember God with arms stretched wide
It was for us that He was born
It was for us He bled and died.
As Jesus entered Planet Earth
So give Him entrance to your feast
Let all the laughter and the mirth
Be ‘cos you’re from your sins released.