Health Check 2014

I recognize that I am jumping the gun. It is not New Year’s Eve, and we are not in the New Year’s Resolution thought process. But I want to talk with you just a moment about your health, looking ahead and looking to God for health. There are multiple areas of health that we deal with all of the time. Of course, there is physical health, spiritual health, intellectual health and emotional health, but there are also things like environmental health and financial health. For a decade in our Convention life, we have been staying really close to Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses from your doorstep to the ends of the earth.” In trying to implement and live that out, all of the pieces have been before us.

As we have followed those early disciples in what they did, we arrived at Acts 3:1 where Peter and John are on their way to the temple to pray and they encounter a sick man. In fact, he was a sick beggar who had never walked. He was dependent on somebody to bring him to the entrance of the temple day after day to earn his living by begging. The truth is that the world of sick people is even larger now. From beginning to end, the ministry of Jesus was laced with Him being concerned about the ill people around Him.

In fact, His first sermon recorded in Luke 4 is based on the scripture in Isaiah 61 that God had anointed Him to heal the brokenhearted. And, indeed, repeatedly He was involved in touching human hurts and bringing help and healing. In Acts 3, this man at the Gate Beautiful needed healing spiritually, physically, intellectually and emotionally. His encounter with Peter and John and then with Jesus changed him, healed him and raised him up forever.

As we approach 2014, we want all of our Baptist family to be challenged and encouraged to look at their health in multiple ways. I am fully aware that it is impossible just to unravel all of the ways that we have hurts and sicknesses for they are intertwined. But for the sake of trying to look at our lives and what God may want to do in various areas of our being, it might prove to be helpful. Our bodies are not made nor our mental and spiritual capacities fixed with gauges like we have on our cars. You can quickly tell when you are running low on gas or when your engine is overheating. It is not near as easy to determine your health condition and your wellbeing in life. Just take a moment and think about how this man was healed and made whole in the various dimensions of his life.

Physically he had never, ever walked. All of us are aware of diseases and accidents that may bring difficulties to our lives. We do not fully know what had happened to him in his lack of physical development or maybe in some birth problem. But he was physically in bad shape. Maybe you are struggling with some deficiency or some major physical problem. For sure, God can help you. But for many in our world today, the greater problem with physical issues is our own self-imposed harm. Literally, many of the things that are creating impairments in our lives come from the things that we are doing, not doing or doing improperly.

Here in Mississippi, we have been declared the most obese state in the nation. Along with our larger than life appetites are all of the ailments fueled by our overeating. Add to our eating too much the problem of not exercising enough and the problems increase exponentially. The problems that come related to cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and structural problems are all made worse by our own decisions.

Peter and John said to the man that was there at the Gate Beautiful that they could not help him in the way that he wanted to be helped, but they could offer spiritual help that would change his life forever.

I have always found it to be fascinating how we reject spiritual transformation and restoration as though it is not really meaningful. It is spiritual change that brings about peace, purpose, forgiveness and prospects for the future that can be found nowhere else. It is absolutely true that every one of us have spiritual illnesses and deficiencies, hurts and heartbreaks that can only be addressed by Christ.

As you watch this story unfold in Acts 3, you recognize that this man’s thinking changes in a beautiful way as he experiences intellectual healing and mental change. The entirety of learning and knowing, acting and achieving is a part of the plan of God. The scripture says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). If your thinking is out of line with the plan of God and the Word of God, you will find that your thinking is going to be sick. When we are saved, the Lord saves us from our sins not from our brains. He wants us to know the truth, to incorporate the truth in our daily walk, for our minds to be renewed and to be whole in Him.

Finally, this man was healed emotionally. There is so much emotional distress in many people’s lives today that it is an epidemic. If you were this man in Acts 3, no doubt you would be depressed and heavyhearted daily because life as you know it and see it has no hope whatsoever. In a moment of time, an encounter with Jesus changed everything. His life was changed from one of daily despair and depression to one of joy, praising God and running through the temple. His life was dramatically different, and his emotions were experiencing what they had never before felt.

Now as I walked through those areas of need that precious man experienced, what are the health needs in your life? Do you recognize in your own life those things that need to be addressed physically, spiritually, emotionally or intellectually? One of the things that we believe will help you to daily rise up in Christ is a calendar that will be available to all of our folks. If you would like to get one, every day during 2014 you can discover a scripture verse that will be addressing health and healing, hope and wholeness in one of these areas. You, along with me and thousands of others will be asking the Lord to help us in becoming all that He wants us to be and to be whole and healthy in all of these areas.

Not only will there be a verse of scripture to help you, but there is an action word of something that you can do. It may be just a small thing that if you will exercise that activity that day you will find it to be a blessing from the Lord. So the bottom line is that I want to invite you to do three things.

1. Participate – Join with the entire Mississippi Baptist family and maybe others who will join us along the way in an adventure of experiencing health and wholeness in Christ in multiple ways. You can purchase a 2014 Diary Health Improvement Calendar ($1.50 each) that will help you to stay on course to do something about improving your health and letting the Lord guide you. You can receive the calendar by contacting the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board – Church Growth, P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530 or email:, or phone 601-292-3310 or fax 601-714-7424.

2. Pray – Ask God to show you the sicknesses, sores, pains, hurt, cuts and grief that may be in your life where He wants to restore health and wholeness to you in those areas. Be willing to ask the Lord to show you where you need His touch of healing.

3. Praise Him – In the name of Jesus rise up, and as this precious man in Acts 3 did, rejoice in the Lord with unchained delight. You can imagine and you can experience this joy. In 2014, begin to rise up, be whole and be healthy.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer