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October 17, 2013

October 17, 2013

"Healing Choices: God Wants You to be Strong"

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up you mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”John 5: 8 – 9 NIV

Can you imagine being paralyzed for 38 years? Such a long illness creates a passive dependency. Each day you rise, hoping to make it to the end of the day, longing for something else, perhaps even death.

It’s that kind of circular survival thinking that traps us in a death-like state where we are ruled by our fears and our stresses. That is far removed from the abundant life that Jesus promised us.

Then, one day, along comes this stranger named Jesus. He looks at you, says, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” You now have to make a choice. What will you do?

Do you get up, pick up your mat and walk or laythere on the ground? The first choice calls for trust that the one who commands you has power; the second keeps you in the fear and dependency you have lived with for years.

But you see the choice is really bigger than that. You now have an option; you can get up and walk, stepping into faith and leave behind your fear or you can lay there in your unbelief and fear.

God is strong and He wants you to be strong. Like our own steps of faith the first step was surely the hardest for the man. He had no experience of walking. He had 38 years of experience laying there.

Those 38 years of experience told him that his legs would not support a walk. He had no experience in trusting this man named Jesus, so he had to make a choice.

It took courage, energy and pain to take that first step, but then, he had one step of experience telling him Jesus might be right; two steps telling him Jesus could be right; three steps telling him that Jesus is probably right; four steps telling him that Jesus is absolutely right.

Jesus didn’t enslave the man; God was not punishing him. Jesus came to liberate him, empowering him with choice and independence from his fears.

When we’re paralyzed in confusion and fear the same questions remain for us:
Do you want to be healed?Will you do what God says to do to be healed?Will you step into faith and walk away from your fear?God is a God of choices. You can choose to follow and obey or you can choose to stay in your fears and hurt. The choice is yours. Never doubt that God is there to help you make the best choice.

Peace in the Lord,

Pastor Don