A young pastor went to the hospital to visit an elderly
women that was near death. After a short visit the pastor asked
the women if she had anything specific that she wished him to
pray for. She declared, "Yes! Pray that God will heal me."
         The pastor, quietly choking on her request, bowed his
head and lifted a prayer to heaven.  "Lord, bless our dear sister
and comfort her in her affliction. Be close to her in these difficult
days.  And, Lord, if you would see fit, please heal her.  Amen."
         As soon as he said "amen," the women sat up, spun
around in her bed, and jumped to the floor shouting, "Praise the
Lord! God has healed me!"  She slapped the young pastor on the
back and proceeded to run down the hall praising God for His
healing touch.  The pastor walked silently to his car. Standing
beside his car he looked heavenward and in a stern voice said,
"God, don't you ever do that to me again!"
         We may laugh, but how often are we like this young
pastor.  We assert that God heals and delivers, but do we really
believe it?   Or are we, as William Willimon says, more often than
not "practicing atheists?"  We have been told by today's doctors
and specialists that there are some things that people cannot be
healed from.  They advise us that there are things that people are
never delivered from, only "recovered" or "reformed" at best.
They teach us that people are born that way,  that it's genetic, or
that it's an irreversible disorder. We listen and quickly accept.
         Jesus is still in the business of delivering people from their
oppressions, freeing them from their prisons, and opening their
eyes that they may see Him and live for Him.  Richard Foster is
correct in noting that to proclaim salvation from sin that leaves
people hopelessly in oppression and sickness is to proclaim only
half a gospel.
         If we are to be true to God's Word, we must believe that
He does not simply reform people, help them to recover or adjust
to their problem.  We must believe that God transforms and
delivers people from whatever oppresses or imprisons them.  He
makes us holy, so that we are not hindered in loving Him with
our whole hearts, souls, minds and strength.  "The old is gone.
Behold, all has become new!"  We are more than conquerors
through Jesus Christ our Lord!  

This is our hope!  Believe it! Live it!  Proclaim it!
    Keep Close To Jesus
Pastor Gerry

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