Brother George. How are you?

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These are words that I cherish.  As often as I see Gary, he utters these sweet words to me.  Love is stirred in my heart and I remember how many hours he spent with me along with his wife Diann when I became a believer.  Gary led a Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study every Sunday morning before our church service.  As a new believer I was like a sponge.  I wanted to hear everything.  My dear friend Mark from my workplace spoke to me one critical day about Jesus and you can say the rest is history.  I was now being discipled.  Gary has become a dear friend. Then things changed on July 4, 2019.  Gary was clinging on to his life.  Gary has a massive heart attack and his brain was not receiving any oxygen.  His son Jason said, (paraphrase) “He has suffered through two cardiac arrests, a lengthy lack of oxygen to his brain, seizures, broken ribs, a punctured lung, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure, multiple medically induced comas, a tracheotomy, among other things”  Prayers began for Gary. A lot of prayers.

Over the next several days and weeks, many people joined the family in prayer for Gary’s health and healing, for strength for Diann and their sons Scott and Jason.  We prayed for their entire family for God to pour out His supernatural presence by His Holy Spirit.  Gary was hooked up to hospital devices that would lengthen his life, but the prayer for Gary was complete restoration.  Oh, I wanted to hear those words from Gary again, “Brother George. How are you?”  I couldn’t imagine not being able to see Gary and Diann in church each Sunday, encouraging others to simple believe God’s authority over all things including healing.  I’ve prayed along with them for many other people.  Believing God for the promises in His Word.  Faith rose up to a level I’ve not witnessed before.  God manifested His Holy presence and said, “It is finished”

Jason followed with this in one of his updates on his dad.  “BUT today he gets to go home. His prognosis was so grim and chances of recovery so small, BUT today he gets to go home. When he began to come out of sedation, he wanted two things: water, and to go home. The guy who’s known in medical circles as “miracle man” will get his wish today. He gets tired quickly but can do many things on his own and will continue to build strength from home. He will return to his beloved chair where this all began, only this time with quite the story to tell instead of read.”  A miracle testimony.  Gary is  the “Miracle Man”. But God…

 

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We must remember God’s promise, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV}  

Through it all, God’s been good.  Through the hundreds and hundreds of hours Gary’s family spent with him in the hospital, their strength was upheld by God’s strong right hand. The family began to speak the many promises of God.  And God delivered Gary.  God is faithful.  God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

I rejoice that Gary is alive and ready to tell the world of God’s miracle healing.  Gary’s the “Miracle Man”.  God is the giver of life and he gave Gary a second life.  I’m reminded of Lazarus.

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”  The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 ESV)

I’m looking forward to seeing Gary and Diann tonight with my wife, Nancy.  Oh what joy I will have when I hear those words again. “Brother George. How are you?”

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

 

Luke 1:11-20 NIV – Miracles often depend on faith

Luke 1:11-20 NIV – Miracles often depend on faith

“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

The angel of the Lord, Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, appears and gives Zechariah some news. Gabriel comes to let Zechariah know that his prayer has been answered. Wow. Zechariah serves in the temple only twice a year, but only once does he get to assist in the daily offering by going into the holy place. Out of all of the priests (studies indicate that there were about 18,000 priests), today is the day Zechariah is in the temple, among people who are praying. His job this day is to offer incense, in the holy place, symbolizing intercession rising up to God. And Zechariah’s prayer is being answered. In the midst of worship, God moves.

God sometimes moves in a dramatic way when we pray. Miracles often depend on faith on the part of those who will benefit from them. Some of us respond in faith and obedience, while others may not believe. I know one thing, Zechariah was taken by surprise. I think I would be gripped with fear as well. I probably would have fainted. Zechariah responds, questioning the angel. Sometimes when we hear from God, we, too, respond with questions. Zechariah lacked confidence in God’s ability to act in a supernatural way.

God’s power is released through faith. “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NIV) We all have prayed, asking God to perform the impossible. Zechariah also prayed asking for the impossible. The bible says that both Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous before God; that they walked obeying God’s commandments. But both were well advanced in years. Elizabeth was barren. Sound familiar? Abraham and Sarah?

But Scripture emphasizes the importance of putting one’s trust in God. God makes the impossible, possible. God is faithful. “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV) When we pray and intercede, we can be confident that God will respond. Prayer embraces praising God for who he is, thanking Him for what He has already done, and looking forward with joy to what he has promised to do in the future.

Friend, we may never experience a visitation from an angel of the Lord to deliver us an answer to our prayers. But God will answer. He will bring you news. Faith relies upon God and His promises alone, and results in boldness and steadfastness in the face of difficulties. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) Let us believe that God is and He will reward us as we diligently pray and seek Him.

Lord, thank You that You know every need and desire we have. Thank You that You answer each of our prayers offered. Thank You that You come to us in the most perfect time. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Forgive us Lord when our faith waivers. Teach us through Your Word to remain bold and steadfast in the midst of our difficulties. Trusting and believing You, Lord, to make the impossible, possible. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!