God had put it on my wife’s heart to have four children since she was a little girl. She had difficult pregnancies with our first three children. So when she became pregnant with our fourth child she made a strong decision to trust God for divine health. As a result, she has been under constant attack from the enemy resulting in the continued deterioration of her health in the natural realm.
At approximately 9 weeks into her pregnancy she went to see a doctor to get relief from a sinus infection that she had been fighting for about two weeks. During the visit she found out that her blood pressure was two hundred and five over one hundred fifteen. The doctors told us that her health situation could possibly cause a stroke or a heart attack. Furthermore, because she was in the early stages of her pregnancy, the doctor was concerned about the survival of the baby. So she was sent to the obstetrician doctor to determine if the pregnancy was in danger, and for further diagnoses of her condition.
At this point Tammi called me on the phone to tell me about the doctor’s report while on her way to see the obstetrician. I heard Holy Spirit say, “Tell your wife that the baby is healthy.” I told my wife that I believed that the baby was healthy and that I would meet her at the doctor’s office immediately. We determined at that moment to believe God’s Word together over the report of the doctor.
When I arrived at the doctor’s office they performed an ultra-sound on my wife confirming the report of the Lord! The doctor then sent my wife to the emergency room for intravenous medical treatment for her high blood pressure. While my wife was in the emergency room one of the nurses told her that she was sent there in case her heart stopped as a result of trying to bring down her blood pressure. Five hours later she was admitted to the hospital for further medical treatment, testing, and monitoring over the next three to four days. After being admitted to the hospital she was constantly in pain and vomiting.
Several doctors continue to rotate the visitation schedule around the clock. Each one tries to prepare my wife with reports for all the possible negative future scenarios. She had only felt congested before her initial visit to the doctor’s office. My wife and I joke that she had to come to the hospital to get sick!
Putting on the Armor
In times like these the Bible says: Put on the whole armor (the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies), that you may be able successfully to stand up against (all) the strategies and the deceits of the devil.1 The phrase, “Put on…” here isn’t about something we do by our natural effort. It is a reminder not to forget that our identity is found in the accomplishments of Christ. This means we aren’t limited by our natural abilities to stand up against the deceits of the devil. This phrase is best illustrated by the picture of a soldier standing over a battle field that he has already been conquered.
The word here for deceits is the Greek word methodia. It means method, trickery, and to lie in wait. In other words, the devil lies in wait scheming for any opportunity to trick us into doubting the Word of God. The reality is that the devil does not have any real power over those who have received salvation in Jesus Christ. So, he tricks us into believing that things are not as we have believed. He deceives us through the appearance of our circumstances that appear in the natural to contradict God’s Word. His goal is to get us to agree in fear with the appearance of our circumstances instead of agreeing in faith with God’s Word.
My wife’s circumstances gave us the opportunity to put on the full armor of Christ’s accomplishments so that we could successfully stand against all of the strategies of the devil in order to receive our promises of salvation. The more we prayed and believed for Tammi’s health, the worse she seemed to get! It was so extreme that we knew that the devil was trying to trick us into believing his report about her health circumstances over the report of the Lord! The devil had overplayed his hand!
We were not going to play around with the enemy any longer! We were going to another realm! For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood (contending only with physical opponents), but against the powers, against (the master spirits who are) the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Always Ready to Fight
I remember sitting by my wife’s bed watching her fight mentally, physically, and spiritually for her health, when I realized once again that our only hope is in Christ’s accomplishments. I wanted to try and find a way to fix everything, but it was only an illusion in my head. I was unable to change my wife’s health cir¬cumstances no matter how hard I chose to fight in my own strength. I had to learn again that there are battles we have to fight in the promise land, but striving to work harder will never lead us to victory. Christ’s accomplishments cannot be earned…they can only be received as a gift!
Joshua and the Israelites had to fight natural battles in the promise land in the same way we have to fight spiritual battles while living the abundant life. Joshua had just conquered the impossible by leading the people of Israel across the Jordan River and into the promise land. As he steps into the promise land he is already looking at his next battle with Jericho. He is standing there in the promise land when he saw a man, “…near him with His drawn sword in His hand…”
Joshua was in the midst of thinking about his next battle plan when a man he does not know appears out of nowhere with a drawn sword. He is about to go to war, and this man could be one of the adversaries. Joshua is startled and prepared to fight his potential enemy, so he approaches and asks Him, “…Are you for us or for our adversaries?”
The man replies, “…No (neither)…” and then reveals His identity saying, “…but as Prince of the Lord’s host have I now come…” Joshua is starting to get a revelation from God. He is beginning to realize that his victory over the city of Jericho has nothing to do with his own abilities, but with the supernatural abilities of His God. Joshua is beginning to understand that being on God’s side is much more important than determining who is on his side.
Joshua falls on his face and worships the Lord asking; “…What says my Lord to His servant?” The Lord replied, “…Loose your shoes from off your feet, for the place you stand is holy…” Joshua takes off his shoes realizing that he is standing on holy ground as God teaches him the right way to prepare for a fight. Then the Lord begins to share His plan to take the city of Jericho with Joshua saying, “You shall march around the enclosure, all the men of war going around the city once. This you shall do for six days.”
At this point Joshua is probably full of excitement, knowing that on God’s side he will be victorious in the battle over Jericho. If he is anything like most of us, he is probably even a little excited that God is going to make him look good as a leader in front of all of the other Israelites. In the midst of his thoughts, Joshua can still hear the Lord telling him his battle plan: …Seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns; and on the seventh day you shall march around the enclosure seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. As the Lord continues with His plans, Joshua probably switches his thoughts to the upcoming fight. He is a warrior waiting to hear his fighting instructions. He wants to know his role in the fight. He desperately wants to get past all of the preliminaries and into the action plan. He wants to know the bottom line for conquering Jericho.
The Lord Continues:
When they make a long blast with the rams’ horn and you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the enclosure shall fall down in its place and the people shall go up (over it), every man straight before him.
In other words, the Lord said that all Joshua and the Israelites had to do was to march around the city for seven days and then shout to be victorious over Jericho in their battle. God would take care of the rest on His own! He did not need Joshua to fight for Him in order to win the battle. He did not want Joshua to try and make something happen for Him on his own! Joshua’s earlier revelation with the Prince of the Lord’s host is now beginning to become a real¬ity in his heart. Joshua was a warrior ready to fight, but God was telling him to march and shout according to the revelation that he had already received.
Why are We Always Looking for a Fight?
So Joshua and the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho once each day for six days not saying one word. Joshua told the Israelites before they started marching just as the Lord had said: You shall not shout or let your voice be heard, nor shall any word proceed out of your mouth until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout. By the seventh day the people probably knew something was going to happen out of the ordinary!…They rose early at daybreak and marched around the city as usual, only on that day they encompassed the city seven times. With a warrior like Joshua being their leader, the people of Israel were probably anticipating a fight. On the seventh day, on the seventh time around the city …When the priests had blown their trumpets. Joshua said to the people, Shout! For the Lord has given you this city.
The Lord had already given them the city of Jericho! It was a part of the promise land. It was a gift from God. Jericho could not be conquered through the Israelites own abilities to strive and work hard. So all the people of Israel shouted just as Joshua had said: …And (Jericho’s) wall fell down in its place, so that the (Israelites) went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
The walls of Jericho fell down! They had never been penetrated by anyone in the history of their existence. The people of Israel did not even touch the walls of Jeri¬cho. They only marched and shouted according to God’s plan. They did not have to do anything to conqueror the city of Jericho during the bat¬tle. God conquered the whole city on His own!
Spiritual Blessings Without Formulas
East of the Jordan we still have to strive in our own strength to get results. It is a place where we are still striving to work hard in our own abilities to receive the promises of God. It is a place where there is no reward for our efforts. It appears that the promises of God are for everyone but us. No matter how hard we strive to work in our own strength and abilities we never seem to experience the promises of God for ourselves. We are still trying to make things happen that Christ already accomplished. It is living on the wrong side of the cross!
In the promise land we actually get things done by resting in the revelation of Christ’s accomplishments. It is a place where we no longer have to strive to work hard in our own strength and abilities to receive the promises of God. It is a place where we are actually experiencing the promises of God in our lives. We are experiencing the abundant life for ourselves!
We are resting in the things that Christ has done on our behalf: …having (freely) forgiven all our transgressions, having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile) to us. This (note with its regulations, decrees and demands) He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to (His) cross. (God) disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it (the cross).
Jesus already overcame every obstacle that we will ever face at the cross. Anything that could ever oppose us from receiving God’s promises was cleared completely out of our way and nailed to the cross. We cannot do anything in our own efforts that will improve upon the things that Christ already accomplished in His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. Jesus triumphed over every enemy who could ever oppose us! He does not need us to perform for Him in order to see all the promises of God accomplished in our lives. He does not need us to fight in our own strength in order to overcome our circumstances to make something happen for Him. He has already finished executing His plan that was prepared at a time in the past to make us victorious.
There are no special formulas or legalistic rituals that will help us to receive those things He has already given to us. Many Chris¬tians follow a religious formula trying to get their desired results rather than building an intimate relationship with Christ. After awhile we get tired of believing for things that we never seem to experience for ourselves. All of the information that we have received about Christ does not seem to work for us, because we have not learned to rest in Him.
God never intended for us to do anything for Him, He intended to do things through us based on our revelation of His accomplishments. The abundant life is not about a religion, it is about a relationship with Christ. We have already been set free from the bondage of striving and working hard in order to inherit the promises of God.
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through your faith. And this (salvation) is not of yourselves, (of your own striving), but it is the gift of God. Not because of your works (not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands), lest any man should boast. (It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.) For we are God’s (own) handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, (born anew) that we may do those good works in which God predestined (planned before hand) for us (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time), that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.)
We have been saved by free grace – it does not cost us anything. It is a gift from God based on God’s merits and favor. Notice that grace isn’t just about forgiveness of the past based on His merits, but it’s also about the power and favor of God to accomplish your future destiny. It’s time for believers to quit living in part of His grace, and to start living in the fullness of His grace.
The Greek word for saved here is sozo. It means to make safe, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, save, do well, and be (make) whole. Salvation includes much more than a future destination called heaven, it also includes everything that we need during this life to overcome the curse of sin – setting us free to live the abundant life!
Salvation includes our eternal life as well as our healing and success. It includes our preservation as well as our deliverance and protection. We receive all of the attributes of salvation at one time. We receive healing and favor at the same time that we receive eternal life. Our deliverance and prosperity are all received the same way we receive eternal life. Salvation is received through faith, not as a result of a person’s striving, works, or ability. It is a relationship with the Holy Spirit that results in the revelation of our salvation in Christ. All of the accomplishments of Christ are included in our salvation!
The Fullness of His Grace
Despite the early attacks on my wife’s health during the ninth week of her pregnancy, Tammi and I learned to exercise our faith to magnify the power and authority of the name of Jesus over the circumstances of her pregnancy. One of the doctors even implied that she should consider aborting the baby due to her condition, and the history of her health regarding her three previous pregnancies. During this time the Holy Spirit spoke to my wife that she was to continue to believe Jesus’ report for divine health in the continuation of her pregnancy over the report of the doctor. In addition, the Holy Spirit promised her that she would be able to go into labor on her own for the first time without having to be induced.
Later in her pregnancy, Tammi had called me on the phone after one of her regularly scheduled appointments with the obstetrician doctor. She was excited to share the confirmed report of the Lord. During her visit, the doctor told her that “she was a walking miracle.” Tammi told her, “Jesus answered my prayers to heal my body during this pregnancy!” The doctor replied that, “There was no other explanation for it!” The doctor continued to say that she never expected Tammi to make it this far in her pregnancy without being transported to another hospital in another city for premature delivery and care.
Similar conversations between the doctor and my wife continued about the miraculous state of her health for the next several weeks. At one point the doctor told my wife, “I would like to talk with you more about this prayer thing that you’re doing to stay so healthy.” She continued to say, “I should consider using you to train all my high risk pregnancy patients in prayer to see if they would receive the same miraculous results as you!”
On the first day of week thirty eight of my wife’s pregnancy she went into labor naturally on her own as promised by Holy Spirit. Tammi gave birth to Josie Grace Reanier at 1:57 p.m. on September 24th, 2007 without any complications. She was our fourth baby girl weighing 6 lbs. and 15 ounces with a length of 20 inches long. She weighed more than any of our other four girls at birth even though the ultra sound report two weeks prior said that she was only about 5 lbs.
The name Josie means, “God adding to His favor!” Grace means, “God’s favor through His operational power.” Put it altogether, and the name Josie Grace means God adding favor to His favor through His operational power. Josie truly is living proof of God adding favor to His already established favor in our lives through the operational power that resides in the magnified name of Jesus to accomplish our destiny!