Sometimes I'm very naive. My brother-in-law always says that I've led a sheltered life.

And even though I'd been around the block a few times, I was totally unprepared for what I got myself into back in 1989, which situation continues to this day.

I guess I tend to take most things at face value. So when I acquired a 20-unit rooming house sixteen years ago, I was shocked to find the inhabitants were of another mindset.

For instance, I expected them to pay their rent when it was due. This was a foreign concept to some of them, and it frustrated me to no end.

In my innocence, I walked around in the proverbial rose-colored glasses and expected everyone to treat everyone else fairly and honestly. Well, I'm sure you get the picture that such was not the case, especially rooming-house-wise!

I've given you all this history to lead into the main point of this article, which is how my inherent naiveté has all but disappeared.

The Bible says to become as a little child in matters of faith, and I guess this is where most people have a problem, including my-now-battle-scarred-self.

Having come to Christianity in my late forties, it was as if I were on a treasure hunt when I began studying the Bible, with new discoveries made almost daily. Until that time, I had no concept of the depth of Christianity. Until that time, I had thought that it was merely a crutch for the weak.

On October 21, 1991, we had an arson fire at the rooming house, and in the days and months that followed I was busier than a cat in two litterboxes. I worked very long hours, seven days a week.

Then, one late night in October or early November, too tired to sleep, I began channel surfing and came upon a fellow with something on his head that I couldn't figure out if it was his hair or what. As I was sitting there staring at him, the screen cut away, and the same man was obviously conducting some sort of a huge meeting where people were falling on the floor. Now he really had my attention. I kept watching, and the screen went back to a head shot of him, and he then began to pray.

[To digress for a moment, a week or so earlier I had discovered a lump in my breast, but I had not told anyone about it, as I was reluctant to acknowledge it. But it was there nonetheless, and I checked it regularly, hoping that it would somehow go away.] Back to the broadcast.

The praying man then told the viewers to stretch their hands toward the screen and that if anyone was ailing, to put one hand on that area. And so I did. I could not believe what happened next.

The man said, "There is a woman watching me. Your name is Mary. You have a lump in your breast—in your right breast. The Lord is healing you now." At that moment I felt the power of God go right through me. And immediately I felt for the lump. It was still there. But somehow I just knew that I had been healed.

I shared this experience with the man who is now my husband, and although he had testified to me many times of various healings he'd had, this was my first experience ever with this kind of thing.

I continued checking for the lump every morning, and just about two weeks later it was gone! (I did not realize it at the time, but that broadcast that I had seen had been pre-recorded, but it did not matter!)

In my innocence, I went out the next Sunday morning and began a quest to find a local church that I could attend.

Never having gone to church before (aside from the Catholic churches in which I was brought up), I naively assumed that I would find the same power and demonstrations that I had witnessed via the television screen.

Boy, was I ever in for an eye opening!

I was not particular as to what denomination of church I tried, as I had no clue as to what the differences in the various sects might be. And so, week after week I searched. All I found were so devoid of any power it was pathetic. Most were devoid of true praise and worship. All were steeped in tradition and their own agendas. All were locked into time frames. And all were so very boring that it was easy to see why the attendance was so paltry.

Still, in my innocence, I was expecting to find, according to Mark 16:17-18, that "these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Then my fiancé told me about a Pentecostal church a short distance away, and I really enjoyed the praise and worship there, and so I began attending on a regular basis. The organist was a lady in her eighties, and they had really good gospel music that brought the glory down, and the Presence of the Lord was there. The pastor and his assistant always seemed to have good messages and Bible studies, which I really relished, because I was h-u-n-g-r-y!

One Saturday night I began experiencing chest pains that stayed with me all night. They were worse when I started to get up for church the following morning. I thought that I would not be able to go. Then I came to myself and thought, "Dummy! Church is exactly where I need to go to be healed!"

Just as soon as I made up my mind to get up and get ready, the pain left, and it stayed away all the way to church. As soon as I got seated in my pew at the back of the church, it returned with a vengeance.

The pastor was in the habit of taking prayer requests first thing; I had never before made such a request, but my hand shot up as soon as he began; I told them that I was having severe chest pain, and while they usually called anyone with a prayer request to come up to the altar, all the elders came to the back of the church, anointed me with oil, and laid hands on me.

Immediately, I felt the power of the Lord shoot through my body, and the pain left instantaneously. And it stayed gone . . . until I got home and went to the bathroom, when it started to return. I knew enough by then to rebuke that demon of pain immediately, and it has never returned to this very day!

There was power in that church. Sadly, they lost it. The pastor began talking about retiring from his full time employment, but he didn't want to lose his health insurance. So I took him aside one day and asked him why he didn't just rely on blessed assurance instead. I don't think he liked that. After all, the Bible says somewhere . . . can't find it right now . . . words to this effect: "Woe unto those who trust in the arm of flesh." (Jeremiah 17:5 says: "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord.") (Psalm 118:8 says: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.")

So even though they believed in divine healing, the shepherd of that flock began to lead us astray, and his wife joined in, loudly lamenting the ailments and conditions of various ones, losing their faith in the Lord in the process. And I noticed that, whether the Spirit was flowing or not, the service always ended promptly at 11:30 a.m., so I also asked the pastor about that . . . why he would quench the Holy Spirit of God. His answer was something to the effect that everyone was hungry, and they expected to leave at a certain time.

To me, this was totally unacceptable-and counterproductive. And a slap in the face to the Lord, really. I felt that anyone who wanted to could have left at any time, and those of us who wished to stay and continue to worship should have been able to do so.

He was preaching to the "itching of their ears." He didn't wish to offend, but the Bible says that offense will come "for My Name's sake." 2 Timothy 4:3 says "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

2 Timothy 3:1, 4-5 says "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . unthankful, unholy . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . ."

And I noticed something else . . . every week the prayer requests were the same . . . which meant that no one was getting results. To me, that equated to the church having become lukewarm. And what does the Bible say about that? "So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew [vomit] you out of my mouth." — Revelations 3:16 — Put another way, when we become lukewarm, it makes our Lord sick!

It was so sad to see this church become weak and anemic. Even more sadly, it has plenty of company.

I realize now that there have been seasons of plenty and seasons of famine in the world of Christianity over the centuries. Of course, there are always "hot pockets" of worshippers on fire for the Lord. But certain periods in the past have seen great revivals of believers, thousands coming to Christ as new believers, huge rashes of the miraculous in healings.

Many ask why all believers are not healed. The Lord Himself gave us the answer to this in His Holy Word, because even Jesus could not heal those in His own home town "because of their unbelief." (Unbelievers get healed because of the grace and mercy of God, because they are not in covenant with Him.)

Try to find an instance anywhere in the Bible where someone asked the Lord for healing and was turned down; there is no such instance. He healed everyone, no exceptions. And He was moved by their faith. He asked them if they believed. He told them that their faith had made them whole. The Hand of our Lord is moved by our faith, not by our need. He knows what we need even before we ask.

Why ask, then? Because He commanded us to. Prayer is an act of obedience and respect. It is a small thing that He requires, not a monumental task!

Many wonder if they should pray aloud. And the answer is YES! Your victory is in your mouth, as someone has said. We are always to follow our Lord's example. What did He do at the beginning of creation? He SPOKE everything into existence.

Go back and read the gospel of John. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." — John 1:1-3

The spoken word is extremely powerful. That's why we are going to have to give account for every idle word that we speak! Matthew 12:36 — "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."

Ask yourself, if words were not powerful, why would Jesus have spoken that sentence?

So realize the power of the words you speak, and be careful of what you speak . . . like the old song says, "Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative . . ."

Author's Bio: 

The writer spent her early years in the legal arena and the last 23 years in property management. She has been an avid Bible student since 1987 and became an online publisher in 2001. She still publishes her bi-weekly ezine, 'elf Expressions Ezine, a collection of positive tips, hints, and advice offered with humor, inspiration, and other goodies for anyone who is inclined to read. The emphasis these days is on the finer points of Christianity. Guidance, mentoring, inspiration, English lessons, editing, and proofreading services for entrepreneurs and online marketers are also offered. Subscribe if you like at