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Thursday, October 20, 2005

God is the healer - why not ask him?

My name means "farmer" in the Greek - George. I'm a long way from being a farmer, being the "city" person that I am.

I'm most comfortable in the city. I can find my way around, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Brussels, Paris, Geneva, Los Angeles and Dallas, but you get me out in the rural areas of southwest Michigan and I get lost quick, real quick.

So our names don't necessarily match with our personality or character. Back in Bible times, that wasn't so.

Names meant something.

Mephibosheth means "exterminator of shame"
Merodachbaladan means "Mardul has given a son"
Jesus means "savior".

Their names characterized who they were.

One name for God in the Old Covenant is "Jehovah-Rapha"meaning literally "the Lord Healer."

He is the God who heals us.

In his book, God Is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg includes this story about the power of prayer.

"When my friend Kim was a young girl, her dad pulled the car off the road one day to help a woman change a flat tire. While he was lying under her car, another vehicle accidentally swerved to the shoulder, and in the collision the car was shoved onto his chest. His right thumb was torn off at the joint, five of his ribs were broken, and his left lung was pierced and began filling with blood.

His wife, who is barely five-feet-tall, placed her hands on the bumper of the car and prayed, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," and lifted the car off his chest so he could be dragged out. (Some weeks later she found out that she broke a vertebra in the effort).

Kim's father was in a state of shock as he was taken to the hospital. Doctors prepared him for emergency surgery. "His thumb won't do him any good if he's dead," one of them said. His survival was iffy.

Suddenly, spontaneously, the man's skin changed from ashen to pink. He experienced a miraculous healing. He invited a surprised surgical team to join him in singing "Fairest Lord Jesus." They did not even bother to hook him up to oxygen. He did not find out until later that this was the precise moment his father-in-law, who was a pastor, had his congregation start to pray for him.

Sometimes these stories come from not-very-credible sources - such as publications sold in grocery checkout lines that also carry news about extraterrestrial creatures secretly playing third base for the Boston Red Sox. In this case, however, the subject was James Loder, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. His life was not only saved, but changed. Until then, although he taught at a seminary, God had been mostly an abstract idea to him.

Now Jesus became a living Presence. Kim writes that her father's heart grew so tender that he became known at Princeton as "the weeping professor." He began to live from one moment to the next in a God-bathed, God-soaked, God-intoxicated world.

God heals us spiritually by restoring our relationship with Him.
God heals us emotionally by giving us peace in the midst of our storm.
God heals us physically by touching our bodies in a supernatural way that natural science cannot.

God is the healer!

Do you need healing today? I would suggest you talk to Jehovah Rapha who can touch you and bring about the healing that you need.


Jon said...

You mean that there is not extraterrestrials playing third base for the Red Sox? Preposterous! Who'd they trade them for? Did some other team offer them a bigger contract?

More seriously, our small group has been praying for a member's grandmother, who was diagnosed with cancerous tumors about a month ago...she was not given long to live as they were growing rapidly. He brought the issue to us (and many others) and we have all been asking for God to heal her. I got a message from him this morning that said the tumors were shrinking and disappearing from her body...praise God! We're going to keep praying, knowing that God is the God of all things, great and small. My friend quoted the mustard seed/mountain verse and it is so, so in Jehovah Rapha to heal does truly work! Faith in God to do all things works as well.

A shameless plug for small groups now: What you've read above is what small groups are all about...people getting together to lift up each other in prayer, to fellowship with each other in the good and bad times, to disciple each other and maintain accountability, and to evangelize to the unChristian...please join a small group today and see how much you can change the world (or the group, the neighborhood, etc.). I believe that we can win this city for God if we just do it one neighborhood at a time...start with yours today! If you need help, let me know and I'll be there and so will others if you but ask.

Small groups are not as difficult or scary as some people think...most of us are in small groups of some sort and don't even realize it. Do you meet with a group of men or women to have coffee or a meal on a regular basis? You're in a small group! Do you meet with a group of men or women to engage in a hobby (hunting, fishing, quilting, etc.) that you enjoy? You're in a small group! So please take that new realization and form a new small group (from your existing ones or brand new) in your neighborhood today!

God bless.


Jon said...

I forgot to mention that my name means "beloved." Goes to show you that sometimes, in this crazy modern world of ours, names do match! Of course, being beloved has very little to do with me (well, I do have to be nice and lovable) and everything to do with others passing that love to me. I am truly beloved to have the family and friends (I include my church in these categories) that I do in my life...and I'm truly blessed as well. I cannot express well enough what all of you mean to me so just know that you hold a place in my beloved heart.

And I still can't believe the Red Sox lost those ETs...what a bummer!


Youth Extreme said...

Richard has several meanings....But I do beg to differ that you are far from a farmer...Do you not sow seeds, do you not plant do you not nurture and care for for others and do you not reep a harvest on Sundays, Wednesdays and other days as peoples lives are changed foever and eternity becomes something to live for???? So I would call you and refer to you as a farmer...So be careful when stating you are not a farmer...

Jon said...

Oh, you go Rick!! That was awesome! Can we get him some overalls for Sundays now?


BTW, welcome back...I've missed you!