Thursday, August 30, 2012

Healing and Me

Regarding Acts 3 and 4....and me.

  One might think that seeing or receiving a healing would always be received as a happy experience; but this is apparently not always so. Acts 3 and 4 describes a God-granted, instantaneous healing that results, both in cheers and accusations.
Peter commanded a healing in the name of Jesus, extended his hand, raised a lame man to his feet. The lame man’s feet and ankles are instantly straightened. With a leap, he stood up straight, began to walk, leap, and entered the temple. In fact he makes quite a display of himself, walking and leaping and praising God. But Peter is commanded to explain himself to the Temple authorities and is arrested.
  Before this public healing, everything was orderly, routine, and heartbreaking. But God has acted through the reality of His name at Peter’s command and extended hand.  A real leaping miracle-touched man has been released from his crippled condition.
  Are we, today, comfortable with the spontaneity of Jesus’ presence in our lives? Are believers disturbed when God steps down from a symbolic cross and interacts right in the aisle of the church?

  In 1960 while I was pregnant with my third child I was diagnosed with Hepatitis. Neighbors friends and family all received gamma/globulin shots. Few would even enter our apartment.
  I spent most of my time dragging my expanding body through the routine of caring for our two little girls, aged 2 and 3. Every day seemed more difficult than the next.      The final blow was the invasion into our bathroom by a large spider (a tarantula). I killed the spider with one of Rol’s shoes, sat hugging my daughters and weeping.
  The following Sunday Rol checked the girls into the church nursery, and helped me climb the back stairs into the side of the cross-shaped church. 
  Our Pastor, Dr. James Seth Stuart, was already preaching when we finally sat down. He was speaking about the woman who crawled across the pavement to touch the Lord’s robe and how she had been healed.  
  I sat in oue pew listening and complaining to myself that, if the Lord Himself was there in the church, I would gladly crawl across the open space to touch His robe and receive healing. 
  Suddenly I heard a voice say, “Raise your hand and you will be healed.”
  I hesitated. ‘Raise my hand in the middle of a Presbyterian church?’ 
  But I did! …and healing strength flowed over and through me like a warm river.

  At the end of the service, Rol did not have to help me with the stairs. I flew down, gathered my children in my arms, and went home healed. A few months later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
  Over the ensuing years, a number of doctors have asked me what level Hepatitis I had experienced.
  But no one knew; and so it was presumed that it had been level A or, at worse, level B.
  It wasn’t until I was 76 years old that a doctor had my blood tested to determine the level. 
  The answer startled us all. It had been Hepatitis C, a killer disease that could have robbed me of life, and my children of their mother. In fact, I might have taken my son with me. The Lord had allowed me to draw healing from His strength…

  Is my story always well received? 
  Sometimes it is received enthusiastically. 
  Sometimes it is treated like a fairy-tale. 
  Sometimes it seems that people are caught between faith and denial. 
They all want it to be true (and it is); but sometimes it doesn’t’ fit into their church’s teaching (or their understanding of that teaching). It didn’t happen at the hand of a pastor (true). The time of miracles is past. I am an unknown (yes) person, unworthy (yes), and sometimes I suffer from other ills (yes)

  But the fact is…by the grace of God…my body was strengthened ..I walk.. I know…
 I hope you gain spiritual strength for knowing that the Lord loves even the least of us and delights in raising us up...Ask and you shall receive! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beggars and Blessings

     The beggar who waited on the stone piazza by the temple gate called “beautiful” could hardly be be considered “beautiful” himself. His body was twisted and weak. He had been carried there to beg alms. (Acts 4)
     He had probably seen Peter before. The fisherman visited the temple daily with his friends. They were a happy group, praising God and greeting others in the crowd.  
     The lame man put out his hand,  hoping to receive a few coins; but he was soon to receive a great deal more. 
     As he reached out for the hoped-for coins, Peter spoke.  ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, WALK”
     Suddenly the beggar’s legs strengthened. He felt the change. He didn’t’ need to struggle. He sprang to his feet. He stood. He took a step. He leaped. He shouted, “Oh, my God! Thank you, Lord”  
    The crowd stared. Some cheered.  Some whispered their hopes to others. Some turned aside unable to bear the  conflict with their unbelief. Many joined themselves to the beggar's celebration. Tears of joy flowed from the eyes of the beggars friends.

     Peter smiled and then grinned. He had seen this happen before.
     He remembered when Jesus had called the twelve together and instructed them to go. “ Go to the lost sheep of Israel. Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts.”  “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. (Matthew 10).   The power was not Peter’s. But it was his to deliver.     
     The same power is not mine, or yours…it is the Lord's. But it is ours to deliver.  
     Go, Fear not, Prepare not, 
     Make disciples.
Will there be conflict!  Yes!  
      But, “Whoever acknowledges Me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. ."  (Matthew 10:32)

Outside our walls  the world waits, crippled by false values, begging for pennies, unable to enter the place of worship.  
Will I remember what I have experienced?  Will I doubt Him? Will I doubt myself? or will I put out my hand and deliver what I know and what I have seen?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Acts 2: 4   “Those who had received his (Peter’s) word were baptized and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.”

What enthusiasm!
  But what is enthusiasm?  (Acts 2:43) those who experienced it were in continuous awe which was authenticated by wonders and signs. . .It changed their values. . . They sold or shared their possessions because possessions held little meaning compared to the new life they were experiencing.
  But consider today’s use of the word "Enthusiastic": 
Automobile advertisements of cars zooming along curved roads are designed to create "enthusiasm" in potential buyers. (while, in fact I hope that young drivers are not encouraged to emulate the performances of weaving in and out.)
   I’ve recently been watching the Olympics. The athletes and their fetes are truly amazing and I  enjoy watching the runners as they race along the lanes, the swimmers flashing through the water, and the gymnasts flying through the air . But, when the show is over, I go on unchanged and uninspired to do the same. I know I can not attain their strength or precision.
  On the other hand, the experience of those present on that Pentecost were life changing both for them and for those who witnessed the experience. 
  The observers immediately wanted to know how they should respond…and respond they did…about three thousand were baptized on the spot.
  And the enthusiasm continued: They listened with enthusiasm to every word the apostles said.. 
            Day by day they continued with gladness of heart, sharing their meals  and their possessions.  
          Their enthusiasm was life changing…not only for themselves but for those around them. 
 They were inspired (a word that describes being filled with the Holy Spirit). They were devoted. And "The Lord added to their number day by day those who were beings saved." I want to be part of this and by the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit I can be...and so can you!