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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stories of God's healing power,...never grow old!

     I have committed in my blog to only share true stories of God's grace in whatever form that may be manifested.  To aid in ensuring this goal, I only share stories of people and situations where I have personally seen or observed the situation, I know the people involved, or have had the testimony shared with me by a highly reliable and trusted source whom I know personally.  That way I believe that as you read these blog posts you can have your faith built up, and grow a living faith, in a very living, and active God.
    With that being said, I am going share a story verbatim that was printed in a book entitled, "Beyond Reason" by Pat Robertson.  It was published 26 years ago in 1985.  But, I know the people involved, and can testify that they are all still alive and well, having been healed by God's grace.

     "When Kirt Hadick was a freshman in high school in Santa Maria, California, he went to the doctor to have a growth examined.  His mother Sue Hadick, stuck close to him as he was shuttled from one specialist and one round of examinations to another.
     Worry always plagues a family in a situation like this.  But at the same time, they still hold on to hope that there's nothing really wrong.  In Kirt's case, though, a great deal was wrong.  When the results were in, he was diagnosed  as having " embryonal carcinoma of the testis" - or cancer of the testicles, for which there is no known cure.
     There is hardly time for the blow to sink in before the surgery was set up.  But after several operations, the cancer continued to spread through Kirt's lymphatic system.  The doctors finally told Kirt the bad news: He had terminal cancer.
     The hospital's tumor board told the Hadicks that the cancer was " one hundred percent in Kirt's blood stream".  The doctors recommended chemotherapy, but Kirt made the final decision no to go that route.  He told the doctors that he would go home and live out whatever life he had left without any further treatments.  One thing that the doctors didn't tell the family until a little later was that they estimated he had no more than two months to live.
     "I just couldn't understand it," Kirt says, reflecting on his feelings as the full weight of his condition sank in.  "Here I was, only sixteen years old.  I wondered why a kid like me would have to go through something like this.  And it just blew my mom and dad out of the water.  They couldn't believe it."
      Sue and Ross Hadick and their four children attended a Pentecostal church near their home, and all had become committed Christians before Kirt was struck with cancer.  But even with his personal introduction to the Kingdom of God, they felt completely unprepared to reach out for the miracle they knew they needed for Kirt.
     " Before this crisis hit, i believed everything I'd heard my pastor preach about healing", Sue recalls.  "I'd read great books on healing testimonies from some of the godliest men that ever lived.  I'd been privileged to see miracles happen.  But if you walked up to me and said, "Sue, give me five scriptures on healing,' I'd have been at a loss.  I personally had nothing "hid in my heart" to stand against the enemy who had come in like a flood' (See Psalm 119:11) I simply had not memorized the healing Word, so it could go from head to heart to spirit.
     In effect, what Sue was saying was that it's important to know what the Bible says about miracles before we can know what our potential is to ask form them.  This knowledge of the Scriptures is an essential prerequisite for a growing faith; and faith, of course, is a necessary element if one's life is to be filled with supernatural power.
     Because of the fast deterioration in Kirt's physical condition, the Hadick family knew they would have to act quickly if they hoped to see a miracle before he died.  So they crammed a lifetime's knowledge and experience of miracles into just a few weeks.
     Sue plunged into Scriptures, and by studying the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels she soon found that God honors faith.  She said the only thing she could find in the New Testament that hindered Jesus from performing miracles was unbelief on the part of the people.  So she and her family decided to get rid of all their unbelief and replace it with faith strong enough to stake their lives on it.
     In describing this process of building up their faith, Sue says " we certainly were willing to have healed.  Since "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,' we began by trying to increase our faith and not hindering Jesus through unbelief.
     The Hadick family also learned to accept reality as what God wanted and not necessarily what human beings perceived as the "facts" in a particular situation.  " Faith can be the exact opposite of fact," Sue noted.  " Fact may not be what we see, feel, and hear. Jesus laid out a different principle for us - to walk by faith, not by sight."
     Even though the facts that the doctors presented pointed toward Kirt's death, the Bible indicated he could be healed.  So despite the fact that they didn't know where it might lead them, the Hadicks accepted the Bible as authority.  And they began to use these spiritual "tools" which they found in the Scriptures.
         They memorized verses of Scriptures and listened to tapes that taught biblical principles of healing.......................
        They began to "claim" God's promises...............................
        Others prayed and fasted for Kirt......................................
        They rebuked Satan ...........................................................

     With all this spiritual power being exerted around him, Kirt responded with a lifestyle that exuded faith.  A week after he got home from the hospital, he returned to school, bandages and all, even though his parents had arranged to have him tutored at home.
     Also, Kirt continued to refuse the opportunity for chemotherapy, even though he was told the treatments might lengthen his life somewhat.  " If I was only going to have a limited period of time on this earth, i didn't want to spend it getting doses of drugs which would cause me to be sick, lose my hair, and suffer bone deterioration," he said.  " So i said, "Lord God, this is it! I've got all of my apples in one basket.  I'm going to believe in you and , if this doesn't cut it, then there's going to be no tomorrow.' '
     At the same time that Kirt made this decision, he also made a commitment that " from here on, I'm going to go about like I'm healed."  Ad he did just that.  he went surfing and camping.  he finished high school and then business college.  He started working while he was in college and continued to work.  He recently got married and has been pronounced able to have children.
     What about the months he was given to live ?  Obviously, he's still alive and going strong!  What about the cancer?  Tests now show there is no cancer in his body.  The explanation? I'd say it's obvious, wouldn't you? "
     I haven't seen Kirt for many years now, but I know that he is alive and well because God is faithful.  This book was originally published 26 years ago like I had stated earlier.  So, I too know first hand that the two month sentence handed out by the doctors was overridden by the Great Physician some 25 plus years ago.  God is good, and everything He does is good.

{ Note: This story is from: Beyond Reason,by Pat Robertson, 1985, William Morrow and Company, Inc.}

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thinking of Others...spiritual prayers for...Myanmar

     I was thumbing through a recent copy of National Geographic magazine when I came across an article on the country of Myanmar, formerly called Burma.  As I read through the article, I mentally began to immerse myself in their countries current troubles, and their hope for the future.  My mind wondered across a landscape that for the most part is totally alien to me.  Except, for those extremely rare occasions when I have found myself traveling through some of the more hopeless sections of our metropolises here in the U.S..  I really cannot identify with it at all, but I can empathize with their plight as a fellow human being.  As I Christian, I would challenge myself to do more.
     For the most part, the people of Earth need a few, but some very important things with which to survive.  I would limit those items to food, water, and shelter.  Anybody who has seen an episode of Survivor or any of it's clones on reality television would know that.  After those three items, we could probably add clothing,tools, and maybe a means of transportation.  Beyond that, we could rate and then list, what other items we might actually need to survive as individuals or a small group.  I think that if we restricted ourselves to the word "survive", we would find that we wouldn't need much more than these simple things to insure a healthy, growing community.
     Now, I know that for me, I could probably do OK in those simplistic conditions.  But, I also know that for the most part, I wouldn't be that happy.  I know that there would have to be one other element added to my life to make it more that just simply surviving.  That element would be hope. 
     I believe that hope is one of the most precious elements on the planet.  Far more precious than gold, hope and it's precursor faith, are more valuable than monetary wealth to the human psyche.  These allies are more formidable than the strongest of armies.  How many times in man's history, in what seemed like dire circumstances, did faith arise and become hope's standard bearer, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?
     As I look at the pictures of Myanmar.  I am a realist.  I see little hope, and a fading faith in the eyes of my fellow wayfarers in this country far, far away.  But, I still do see faith and hope. Because although it may be only a spark or distant memory from days gone by, it is there because it is inherent in mankind.  It is our inalienable right to hope against all odds.  And when accompanied with love, it is one of the things that makes mankind human.
    Now, these could all be well intentioned, lofty, altruistic thoughts.  Simple high minded heartfelt musings, save we add to them the missing quotient in the saving equation.  God.  The hope for Myanmar will not come in elections alone.  The redeeming change in their culture, one that would respect the rights and uniqueness of the people.  Will not come about with just faith in fair and just rulers.  It will only come about, in it's fullness, as Jesus becomes the resident king in the hearts of the Burmese people.
     You see one kingdom must replace another for life to become more than just simply existing. Jesus taught that He was in charge of a kingdom that was invading Earth.  That His reign and rule was exercised through the outflowing of His power and presence through it's citizens as resident aliens on this planet.  These ambassadors had both power and authority, even though they trod on  foreign soil.  It takes a heart of faith, a mind filled with hope, and a spirit overflowing with love to become the most accomplished of these ambassadors in His service.  But, all have the potential to change the order of the world around them.
     Going back to the beginning of my thoughts on this subject, I said that I would challenge myself to do more as a Christian.  And this is what I will do; How about you?  I can give.  I can go.  I can have a voice.  I can act.  It is my choice to do any and or all should I accept the call.  But, the first thing that I can do, and have done, is to pray for Myanmar.
     Now, Myanmar is not anymore or less deserving of my time in prayer, and support than any other country or people group.  And as I said earlier, all of this came about from simply seeing pictures and reading an article in a National Geographic magazine.  I am accountable as to how I respond as a King's ambassador.  But,  the first and most readily available power of change that I have at hand is the power of prayer.  As it is said, " for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (earthly) but are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds," ( 2 Cor.10:4) With that in our mind and hearts, lets go about seeking and launching some real hope and change!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When tragedy strikes

     Accidents happen.  The one thing that parents dread the most is when their child is injured, and their life is in danger.  When this happens to young parents, it can be especially weighty, because they are just beginning to live out their new role as protectors of these innocent little ones. Yet again, accidents happen.
     Our first born loved the water.  You could not keep him away from it.  It fascinated him, and even at a young age he had no fear of it.  He was about 14 months old when this incident occurred.
     The sky was blue, and a warm breeze caressed the palm trees.  It looked to be the beginning of a perfect sunny Southern California morning.  My wife and her mother were getting ready for their days activities.  Our toddler son was being his normal very precocious little self going about his morning routine.  Speaking jibber-jabber, intermingled with English, he walked and played about the house and yard. 
     My wife called out to him, and heard him reply in his reassuring yet unintelligible chatter.  She was quickly putting on a last bit of clothing.  Hearing an irregular sound, her mind momentarily switched gears and life went into slow motion.  My mother in law was yelling out my son's name. The staccato sound of pounding feet running across the wooden deck outside the window of the room in which my wife was dressing, woke her from her briefly mesmerized state.  She could see her mom hovering over the jacuzzi frantically grasping to pull our sons' limp form from the water.
     Faster than the mightiest sprinter, she ran out there to help.  Her mom was shaking the wet lifeless child, calling his name with the primal hope that it would help bring him back to life. The color had already begun to drain from his face.  My wife went straight into decisive action mode.  Directing her mom to go into the house and call 911, while she brought our child in to be closer to the phone.  In those brief seconds it took to span that distance she pleaded with God, " Please spare him, you cannot take him away from me now".  Her learned skills from High School CPR courses took over, empowered by her strong maternal instinct.
      A fireman named Dennis instantly answered the 911 call.  He was able to acutely assess the grave situation by listening to my mother in laws abbreviated commentary. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes seemed like hours to the four people involved in this life or death struggle.  Dennis was relying on my wife to fully implement his instructions over the phone as repeated by by mother in law.  The whole episode was about ten minutes in total.
     Then he breathed.  At first a small gasp, then a weak cry, and all at once his skin regained it's full color.  I will never forget the deep heartfelt exclamation of my mother in law, as she gasped in relief, "His colors back!".  Though, I wasn't there at the time, I like many others heard the tapes as they played them on the CBS Evening News.  All as a way of promoting the good of the 911 system, which was new in the late 1980's.
     The paramedics arrived on the scene within minutes of the call.  They were able to monitor our son and check him out before loading him into an ambulance that would take him off to the hospital for further evaluation.  They were not sure if there was going to be any damage due to the lack of oxygen over an unspecified amount of time.  The doctors found him healthy enough to release him just alittle later that day.  You see accidents do happen, and this one just happened to have a great ending.
     But, now I need to share with you the rest of the story.  The part that they never told on television because my wife always kept it treasured in her heart.  You see, the first professional to arrive on the scene came without sirens blaring, but simply walked in the door the moment our child started to breathe again.  He was a tall distinguished looking policeman.
     In the midst of chaos,joy, and relief; the mind doesn't seem to question what is happening in the moment.  We simply just seem to react to it.  The policeman came onto the scene walking in the front door.  He simply proceeded to pick our son up in his arms and nuzzle him.  Whispering to him, and gently rubbing his head with the soft part of his cheek.  As he handed him back to my wife, he reassured her that the boy was going to be alright.  He turned and left, stealthily , as the paramedics came through the same door.
     My wife through the years has now come to believe that this officer was an angel.  Sent to reassure her that everything with her baby was going to be alright, that she had done  good job.  The Apostle Paul says that there are times when we may "entertain angels unaware".  He came with no noticed patrol car, the paramedics never acknowledged him, and he simply left the scene the moment before  they arrived.  How would you explain such oddities?  She knows what she believes.  God not only gave her back her son, He also sent someone to reassure her and her baby of His hand in the midst of tragedy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Angels are never off duty!

You have certainly heard the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction.  I for one, believe that this saying is true.  For there is more to this world that we cannot see, than what we can see with our natural eyes.  The incident that I am about to share happened about 2 years ago.  To this very day, I cannot explain how the actual event transpired.  The one thing I do accept in my heart is that I believe that somehow angels were involved.
     It all came about when I had to deliver some paperwork to a local business.  Admittedly, I was in a hurry, trying like most of us to cram too many chores into a space of too little time.  I had pulled into the parking lot, and parked next to two other vehicles.  There were no other cars located to the left of mine.
     I gathered my papers together, and hustled off to the office complex.  I was in there for about ten to fifteen minutes.  Satisfied, that I was now able to cross one chore off my list.  I bounded out to my car.  The problem was my car was no longer in the parking lot.  Quickly, I went over the whole scenario in my mind.  I scanned the parking area.  Yes, I did park in that space!, I said to myself.  And yet, there was no vehicle there in the space between the set of painted white lines.  A great sinking feeling gripped me as I considered the inevitable, " my car had been stolen!"
     How in such a short period of time had they managed to pull of such a crime?  The parking lot was small, with a wall in front of the parked cars, a florist shop behind, and the office complex from which I had just exited.  How in 15 minutes had they come into this area and drove off with my car?  I walked closer to where my SUV had been to get a better feel for the scene of the crime.
     It was while I was standing in the middle of the lot that I saw it, my car.  It was now located some 50 feet away; snugly backed into a spot that was between a small wall, a tree, and a busy street.  I could not believe my eyes.
     I immediately ran over to the vehicle.  It was unscathed, perfectly parked, and no motor running.  I didn't know what to think?  I quickly looked around for anyone who might have seen what had just happened.  Someone who could hopefully explain it all to me.  The next thought you think is that this has to be a prank.  You begin looking for Allen Funt and the hidden cameras, but there were none.   It could have been that in my rush to get my papers delivered, I may not have fully engaged the parking brake.
    But still, my car had within that 15 minute period done an amazing bit of driving, all by itself!  On a parking lot surface that was only barely graded , it had backed itself out of the parking space, navigated itself in an arc around two other parked vehicles.  Then, ever so deftly, slipped itself into the only safe location near the entrance of the parking lot, between a small cinder block wall, and a tree.  Coming to a stop, on it's own, on the sidewalk that abutted one of our cities main thoroughfares.  As I did a double , and yes, maybe a triple take; I was aghast at the multiple possible negative outcomes to this stealthy adventure on the part of my car.
     You see about 16 feet directly behind where my vehicle was originally parked, was another vehicle, and the plate glass entrance to a florist shop.  The cars that were originally located to the immediate right of my SUV were left completely untouched.  The entrance to the parking lot dipped down slightly, which could have easily  propelled my car onto the busy main street.  The cinder block wall, and the tree were both considerably solid enough to stop and damage even the slowest of moving vehicles.  It took a moment to mentally grasp what I was seeing in the flesh, and what my mind was trying to comprehend.
     It was a full glass and metal miracle!  Now, I don't claim to believe that an angel came and started up my car, backed it out, and in a divine state of whimsy parked it in such a precarious place.  What I do know is that God's hand was working to help preserve our family's valuable asset, our car, that He had given us.  Whether or not, He chose to use an angel, I don't know?  But, any person seeing what I saw that day would know in an instant that something most unusual had just occurred.
     When I think of all the potential endings of this event, even deadly ones, I shudder.  But, then contrasting those with seeing how perfectly, and peacefully this selfsame vehicle came to rest, I am amazed.  In regards to this whole very memorable episode, I choose to believe that I had experienced protection, favor,and interaction of a heavenly kind.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

God is even the God of Timing Belts

     Last year, when I was doing some work for the government.  I was assigned some rural areas of our region, where I was to follow up on previous contacts made by other people in the Department.  One of these days, I drove to an area about 70 miles away.  It was accessible via the freeway first, and then a short 3 mile drive down a small country road.
     The day was very normal, and the drive both scenic and pleasant.  I got to my location, did what I had to do, and then went back to my vehicle to head on home before the sun had fully set.  There was nothing else on my mind at the time, but what we might do when I got home being that I wouldn't be out as late as I had previously thought.
     I got in the car, put my keys in the ignition, and that's when I heard a most unwelcome sound.  Located off a country road,downhill about 500 yards, on a hidden driveway, the car simply whined and wouldn't start.  My heart sank.
     I tried several times, yet to no avail, something was wrong.  I prayed several times, as I would continue to turn the key.  I even took the route of talking to God, telling Him how based upon my nearly hidden location in an ever darkening valley, this "wasn't funny,it was serious!".  I was kind of wanting Him to wave some kind of magic wand, and instantly solve my predicament.  It never came.  So I resorted to calling my insurance company to have them tow my vehicle to our local automotive dealership 70 miles way.  I knew that the mechanics there had both specific experience with my car, and the overall general experience to diagnose and solve the problem.
     The young tow truck driver arrived about an hour later.  I had to literally, verbally guide he and the telephone dispatcher to my location; given that street signs were few,it was now completely dark, and the landmarks once being the best way of finding me here were now obscured.  I was quietly praying in the Spirit the whole time in this most unusual situation.  The dark ride home in the tow truck was not pleasant, as I mentally tried to calculate just how much this might cost?  I knew from the sound of the whine that it was going to be expensive.  After we left the car overnight at the Service Dept of the auto dealership, I had to simply go home and wait for the call the next day to see just what we were up against.
     When we got up that morning we put out the word on our Church's prayer chain to ask others to intervene with prayer for help in our car problem.  I got an early call from Bobby the head mechanic at the dealership.  I explained in detail what had happened the night before, and he said that they would check it out.  It wasn't until late that day that I got a call back.  Bobby then went on to explain to me the not so good news.  He said that the timing belt had come off in pieces.  That my particular vehicle had a low threshold of tolerance, simply meaning that it wouldn't take much to cause major problems to the engine.  The timing belt being a big key in that equation, meant there was the possibility that on the extreme end based on the car's mileage I would be needing a new vehicle.
     My heart literally sank.  It was hard enough to save for repairs on an very aging vehicle, let alone go out and get a new one in our current economic times.  I flat up told him, " I can't get a new vehicle, Bobby.  Can you try to see what it would take to repair it?"  He said " Yes sir, whatever you want.  It would initially cost $ 500 to do the diagnosis, etc., because he had to examine the engine.  That would be the starting point   "He went on to tell me that IF everything looks OK, that would be it.  BUT, in his experience that is the exception and not the rule.  He said, " the belt would have had to literally come off the moment that you turned the car on, for that to happen", any other scenario would add additional engine damage. He was straight forward, and honest.  I told him, "Bobby, I have my church praying because I only have so much set aside to repair this car, can you do the $ 500 deal, and we see what happens".  He again advised me that IF it was a bigger problem that he would have to add the 500 to the total cost, of any additional repairs. It would be a gamble that I could lose.   Yet,  I  told him that I had no other options, and that I had my Church praying for me.   I could hear it in his voice, I was sounding to him like some sort of a loon.  But, he did know me from other times, when we had to use his services.   So, he acquiesced, even though his voice said that I was wrong.
     It would be two days later when I got a call back from Bobby.  I picked up the phone.  Seeing from caller ID who it was, my heart was in panting mode.  " Mr. Scott, you must have a praying church behind you" came the booming voice.   " Why?" I asked.   He went on to state, " when we opened up the engine, everything was perfect, looked as if nothing was wrong, we can only think that the belt must have broke the moment you started the engine or just prior to you coming to a stop."  I let out a huge sigh of relief, and obviously a not so silent, "Praise the Lord", to which Bobby, a non believer then chimed, "yes, praise the Lord".   It's already to be picked up.  We cleaned the engine for you too,  and with a discount it will be just under  the $500 I had quoted you a couple of days ago.
       I got a quick ride down to the Dealership to pick up the car.  Words cannot describe the look that was on both Bobby and his chief mechanics face when I walked in the door to get the keys and pay the bill.  He had a grin a mile wide.  It looked as if it was his car that had gotten saved by God.  I will never forget it as long as I live.  I guess it was simply that they had both gotten to share in some of God's amazing grace , and had been able to see the power of prayer at work.  As I took the keys from his hand, I half jokingly said to him, " I told you that I had people praying for me", to which he replied, "Amen".  There was nothing else to be said.  He put his hand on my shoulder and walked me out to the car.  All the time, shaking his head, smiling, and happily saying," You know I have really never seen a situation turn out this way".  He shook my hand, and walked back to his office still shaking his head.
     That day I was reminded of how God provided for the Hebrew children during their journey in the Wilderness.  The Bible says that their shoes, clothes, etc didn't wear out, for get this, forty years.   He was the God of renewing their resources.  I believe that the Word also reassures us that he never changes.  So with that being said, I know that He is able to be my provider, and ...the God of renewing engines and timing belts.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In the Garden

     My grandfather's favorite hymn was "In the Garden".  We don't tend to sing the old hymns in church anymore, even though they've brought such comfort to so many over the centuries.  We have relegated alot of worship to only choruses.  In the Garden was not a high, holy or grandiose type of song, but rather a simple one.  It conveyed true intimacy with God.  I think that is why Gran like it so much.
          " I come to the garden alone
              while the dew is still on the roses,
            And the voice I hear
             falling on my ear,
           the Son of God , discloses...
          And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
           And He tells me I am His own..
         And the joy we share as we tarry there\
          No other, has ever, known."
     The Bible shares with us that it all started in a garden.  If we read it through we find that in some ways, it also ends in a garden type setting.  I could easily envision something like an unending panorama of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon,  Zion, California-Hawaiian shoreline that seemingly goes on..forever.  Wow, that's someplace where everyone should desire to end up someday!
     Yet sadly, something went horribly wrong in that original once beautiful garden.  Eden was a place where God would walk with man (Adam), and talk with man, and tell him that he was His own.  The joy that they shared as they tarried there none other has ever known, except for Jesus.  What a shame.
     Yet, that is what God still wants so desperately from us, that lost intimacy.  He wants us back, and so He Himself provided the way home.  You can almost imagine the parable of the Prodigal Son coming to life as you ponder those thoughts.
     It is within that one on one intimacy, and sharing that we can begin to soak in the River of Life.  We regain a heavenly prospective of our lives, and the world around us.  The written word becomes a living word, with a life of it's own, that seemingly makes the ink almost leap off the page and into our hearts.  We cannot really find this sort of life in religion or religious obligations.  As it has been said, truth is not a teaching, it's a person.   Our beginning, and our end must find ourselves back in the garden.  The truth is our pathway,and He is Jesus.
     When I muse on that song, as I do from time to time.  I find myself wanting to be there..sharing..talking..full of the joy of His presence.  Yes, perhaps it can be a bit of fanciful escapism for the uninitiated.  But, for those who know the living personal God, it is a true place of rest and refreshing. 
     Regardless of whether or not we acknowledge the fact, we all require intimacy to function as  healthy and whole human beings.  So who better to fellowship with than your Creator?  So, whether we find ourselves alittle or maybe even a lot out of kilter on the road of life; I would encourage you with these words.  Take the time to come to the Garden, He's waiting to talk with you.