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Opened ears and eyes to the very true power

August 23, 2015


12th Sunday of Holy Trinity

“Jesus left the region around Tyre and went by way of Sidon toward Lake Galilee. He went through the land near the ten cities known as Decapolis. Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk. They begged Jesus just to touch him.

After Jesus had taken him aside from the crowd, he stuck his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit and put it on the man’s tongue.  Jesus looked up toward heaven, and with a groan he said, “Effatha!” which means “Open up!”  At once the man could hear, and he had no more trouble talking clearly.

Jesus told the people not to say anything about what he had done. But the more he told them, the more they talked about it. They were completely amazed and said, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk.”

Mark 7:31-37

Our Lord Jesus seldom stopped for long in one place. After healing the daughter of the Canaanite woman, that is, after having done what he had to do in that place, he returned to the Sea of Galilee (v 31) He did not take the shortest route, but rather took a detour in the middle of the Decapolis region, which was in the area of the Jordan River.
This story of Christ’s healing that took place is not mentioned by any of the other evangelists.

A new poll by the Princeton Religious Research Center says “about half of the U.S. Americans who are familiar with the New Age movement don’t take its teachings seriously, and a third of them say New Age thought runs counter to Judeo-Christian teaching.”

The poll also shows that the general population’s awareness of the New Age and occult is low, but the number of U.S. Americans who adhere to New Age practices is alarmingly high, even among professing Christians. “Many who consider themselves good Christians nonetheless have engaged in practices that seemingly are counter to the teaching of their church,” the pollsters said.

Roughly half of all U.S. Americans say they believe in extrasensory perception. Thirty percent of Roman Catholics and 22 percent of Protestants say they believe in clairvoyance, while 48 percent of Roman Catholics and 44 percent of Protestants say they believe in psychic healing, other healers and quack doctors the poll shows. The poll indicates that 25 percent of both groups believe the movement of the stars may help govern the affairs of men and women.”

We often wonder why we don’t see God’s miracles, like those performed by Jesus, in our everyday lives. Perhaps one of the reasons, which is where I want to focus my message today, becomes apparent in this report. When Christians themselves begin to believe in other things and mix with the powers of darkness, God, who is very respectful, like a good gentleman, steps aside from the lives of people, not wanting to intrude.

Today, we hear that God is a God of power, who created the heavens and the earth, as we say in the Creed. How will He not have the power to heal? And if we don’t receive healing when we pray, it is not because God doesn’t have power. We can be healed of our sicknesses by this power of Jesus, through the redemption of Christ on the cross. We have to feel safe knowing that the healing power of our Lord is still available through the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, why are there are still countless Christians who suffer affliction?
All parents, sooner or later, face the experience that their children refuse to eat what has been prepared for them. When such rejection leads to physical weakness or stunting, this causes great pain to the parents. Similarly, when the people refuse to accept Christ and be forgiven of their sins, to be freed from the curse and to enjoy the blessing of health, God feels great pain. If a lid is placed on a bottle, you cannot collect even a drop of water, no matter how much rain falls from the sky.
Christ has prepared blessings for us to enjoy, but we must first prepare the container and open our hearts to Him, and as our spirit is relieved, our life is also relieved. How can we enjoy these blessings of God?

We must always have hope in perfect health, though we live in a world that is still imperfect.
We must confess and be forgiven of our sins.
We must forgive others, even our enemies.
We must have naive faith, as a child, and give more credit to God than even to doctors.
We must ask God to help keep us holy and sinless.

For people to go to other powers for help is nothing rare or unusual, especially in South America. I want to tell a story that was once told to me by my mentor pastor, and similar stories I’ve also witnessed.
In South America, most people use healers. If someone has a disease, the first thing they do is go to such persons. And distance doesn’t matter. If the male or female healer does not help, they try again with a second or a third one. Everyone knows who these healers are and they even suggest them. In the event that the disease doesn’t pass, then they go to a physician. And finally, they call the pastor, mostly to administer the sacrament to the sick.

However, the word of God forbids such occult practices that are contrary to God’s practices. In the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 18: 9-13 God says to his people through Moses: “Soon you will go into the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The nations that live there do things that are disgusting to the Lord, and you must not follow their example. Don’t sacrifice your son or daughter. And don’t try to use any kind of magic or witchcraft to tell fortunes or to cast spells or to talk with spirits of the dead.
The Lord is disgusted with anyone who does these things, and that’s why he will help you destroy the nations that are in the land. Never be guilty of doing any of these disgusting things!”

Many other biblical quotations from the Old and New Testaments speak about these dark practices that are contrary to God’s will and forbidden to be practiced by God’s people. In this way they differed from the pagan peoples in their daily lives.
But those who frequent such hidden healers engage with the powers of darkness. That often brings negative consequences that affect the physical, mental and spiritual levels.
Today I want to tell you about a healer. One afternoon, this pastor came to a house in the country. Both parents and their daughter were present. He just began to talk about this sensitive issue of healers. And there the father told him about his daughter who had suffered from a disease. And they had found no medical cure. They called a healer to the house and she healed her. And to this day she was still healthy!

And then the minister told the parents that the word of God forbids such practices. Then the father interrupted him and said: “But, pastor I won’t let my daughter to die.” And the daughter said: “The healer was a religious woman; she quoted Bible verses and prayed the Lord’s Prayer. She even named the Trinity: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. That healing took place through God.” After thinking about this, the pastor answered them: ‘I have three questions and I would like you to respond honestly to see if the healing took place by means of the living God or by the power of darkness:
First question: Since this woman came to your place and healed her sister, did you have more enthusiasm for participating in Sunday services?
Second question: Since this woman came to your home, have you felt a greater need to read the Bible daily?
Third question: Since this woman came home, do you spend more time in daily prayer?
And as he formulated the last two questions the daughter’s eyes filled with tears. And through tears she said: “From the moment that this woman came to our house I have felt disgust for the word of God. And when I wanted to pray, it immediately makes me sleepy.” “And there he replied: That is a sign that that healing of the sister’s body took place by means of a power that was not from God!”

And you may be wondering how to get rid of the powers of darkness.
Answer: When alone or in the presence of a minister of God, we confess our sins and make a prayer of renunciation. And I give you an example:
“Lord Jesus Christ, in your name I release the devil and all his works and all his being. I give up any right for him over me. Lord Jesus Christ, in your name I am free from the influence of the power of darkness that has come to me, even from my parents and my ancestors, “And I surrender to you God, triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and I will be obedient to you in faith to the end of my days.”
God is also present as power; God is a God of power that transforms things. And just as water was transformed into wine, God can also cause a transformation of matter in our body when we need it. The largest source of power is in Christ; do not seek other places. Recall that He also wants to heal us physically. The Bible says: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven”. (Jam 5: 14.15) Let us keep our faith alive and we will see God’s miracles around us. Amen

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