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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is the gift of healing still for today? If so, I need your prayers!

   This message was initially designed to be sent solely to a select group of people (friends and family), many of whom inquire regularly about my health. Most of them (Thank God) wished me well and said they would pray for me, and a few have even asked me to cite the specific ailments so they could focus their prayers more directly on those maladies. Many of them actually suggested to me that I should make this message public and get even more people to pray for you!
   There are so many folks out there who are in worse shape than me, and I'm always praying for their needs. Seldom do I ask for anything for myself, having dedicated my life to serve others. Suddenly the Holy Spirit brought the following scripture to remembrance, James 4:2-3:  "...You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

   Well, I never pray for money, nor seldom for any material things to indulge in (toys, video games, hobbies, etc., as if I could still do any playing); nor do I focus or seldom ask for any physical healing, especially when I know what Paul meant concerning grace after he asked the Lord to remove the thorn in his side: 


   9 But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong, (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). 
   This is so true, as we can see many, many miracles happening to other people through whom God used, acknowledging that they did not come do to any special talent we may have, which could never have impacted the person other than through the power of God. Ergo, God receives the glory rather than us, the vessel He used to perform His miracles. Yet, we are reminded that through prayer and sharing our burdens with each other is still a practical duty the church and its members often often ignore. We see this in the word of God in James 5:15-17:
    "and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months…(James 5:15-17).
   First of all, there are millions of people throughout the world that are in worse physical pain than me. I recognize this and always include those who the Holy Spirit brings to mind for their healing in my prayers. 
   Secondly, pain always accompanies 'old age' regardless of how well a person takes care of themselves throughout their life. Ask any football players how the constant banging into each other leaves damage that comes to haunt them after retirement, even though they may be in their early 30's.
    Many also tell me that pain and suffering is mostly attributable to emotional issues in their lives (this coming from many of my holistic friends) and that those 'psychological' problems must be addressed before healing can ensue. [This subject matter deserves another full discussion unto itself.]
   Lastly, I believe God allows many of us to experience the "Job Syndrome (afflictions that God allows Satan to inflict to test our faith resolve). 
   I believe I am experiencing all of the above to one degree or another for the reasons cited. 
   Nevertheless, being a person who believes that regardless of the source of pain, or whatever medical solutions I have at my disposal, why should I leave God out of my ailment equation? Therefore, I am sending this list of specific maladies in this prayer request for healing:

(1) Although my scheduled bunion surgery has been delayed until I finished other tests to determine if I can go under anesthesia, this pain is constant and makes it almost impossible to walk;

(2) My Sleep Apnea problem is manageable (once painkillers wear off I awake regardless) and it causes irregular sleep patterns that contribute to complete and total exhaustion throughout the day;

(3) My sciatica problem is constant and not even pain killers are helping. The symptoms, in addition to constant pain to my left side (buttocks, thighs, calves and ankles) is physically and emotionally perplexing;

(4) Degenerative Arthritis of both knees and ankles is constant, which makes walking almost unbearable, much less lifting myself from chair and couch. My inability to get the slightest degree of exercise makes weight management nearly impossible;

(5) My Spinal Stenosis problem is probably the most painful. It includes severe pain to my spine from the neck down to my tail bone. It usually takes about a half hour to get out of bed in the morning (or in the middle of the night due to sleep irregularity) with such excruciating agony that require pain killers (hydrocod/apap 10mg) at least 20 to 30 minutes to kick in once I wake up.
   This problem (along with the sciatica) is the most painful and causes me the most grief. I can't sit in front of my computer for more than an hour before shooting pains kick in and force me to lay down. I can't lay down for more than an hour and have to get up to move around to relieve pain, unless I medicate myself to sleep, which usually lasts no more than 3 hours.
   The exciting thing about these two symptoms combined is the unexpected shooting pains that I experience (mostly to muscles located below the waist) almost every 15 minutes, jolts that come out of nowhere and almost knock me down. Sometimes I feel like there is someone out there with a little Joe Ortiz doll and jamming knitting needles into it at their discretion. 

(6) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has increased (mostly in my right hand) the last couple of months (never paid much attention to it in the past), which makes typing extremely painful. This problem has obviously impacted my writing for those who have seen a decrease in my blogging ventures.

(7) My eyesight seems to be diminishing each passing day. The Myasthenia gravis condition (which has caused my left eye to almost close shut) also contributes to unexpected moments of complete exhaustion exhaustion throughout the day. Although my doctor has increased the dosage to a prescription medicine (pyridostigmine) to counter this ailment, I have some good days and some bad days with my vision. If the weather temperature gets over 70% (which also causes complete exhaustion), my eye almost closes shut. This, in addition to cataracts in both eyes.
   Overall, I'm either in constant pain or medicated to the point I can't function in a manner I have been accustom to in the recent past, or even lucid enough to write my messages in a clear, coherent and comprehensive fashion to do justice to the word of God. More importantly (and possibly damaging to my spirit) are the many occasions of despondency which I fight constantly on a moment by moment basis, knowing full well that it comes from diabolical attacks. But, I'm not a quitter and plan to die fighting this!
   As we can see how troubled society is nowadays, and that so many need words of encouragement and insights to God's will, I am determined to continue the 'good fight' and contribute as much as I can to be a force for good, and hopefully to do the best that I can with the tools I've been given.
   God's word obviously is my only saving grace at this point in my ministerial journey. It gives me the confidence and assurance that I need to know I am still in a right relationship with the Holy Spirit, who always brings to remembrance the word of God to fit whatever occasion, and/or whatever issues that confront me and/or I'm dealing with as best as I can.    More importantly, whether the source of my afflictions come from the reasons mentioned above (old age, punishment for past peccadilloes or the "Job Syndrome," I need to address this dilemma in the most spiritual manner that I can.
   I'm constantly  reminded by Paul's words (which bears repeating) cited in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, when he asked God to remove the thorn the devil was buffeting him with. Like many of us whom God has called out for a specific ministry, we often believe we are more "special" in the eyes of God, than others, possibly fooling ourselves to believe we have been chosen for a special work above other people. 
   Who truly knows?
   But, like Paul, who was also known for more than his share of arrogance and boasting in God, regardless, moved forward and approached God in thus manner:

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

I thank you ahead of time for keeping me in your prayers, and pray that God's will (not mine) may be done!

I'm in His peace!


For more information concerning his books, blogs and websites, please click on Joe Ortiz


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