January 26, 2010
The Lord My Healer
He’s a 7 year old school boy in England and he may lack the clout of a George Clooney or Simon Cowell, yet little Charlie Simpson has ridden his bike in the local park and keeps on raising money – lots of money – to rebuild earthquake shattered lives in Haiti. Welcome to Haven Today. I’m Charles Morris, telling the great story that’s all about Jesus. Caring Charlie Simpson was so concerned after seeing pictures of other children being freed from the rubble in Port au Prince he had to do something about it. So he started asking for sponsors if he would ride his bike and the results are amazing, the money just keeps rolling in – moving towards $100,000 the last time I looked. I’m so thankful for a young boy like Charlie, aren’t you? I’m also thankful for so many people who listen to Haven Today praying first and giving smart, to make sure their gift is spent not just on relief but on being the hands and feet of Jesus. Our internet address with full details is haventoday.org. Our telephone number is 1-800-654-2836. I’ll give you all that information and give it more slowly a little later. Give safely. Give smart. In the next few minutes, I want us to hear from some physicians who have been working in Haiti the last 2 weeks after the earthquake, flown in by Missionary Flights International. And then I want us to talk about a very special name God gave himself in the book of Exodus, Yahweh, or the Lord, heals. And that’s why we’re calling this program “The Lord My Healer”.
A young trio out of Belmont College in Nashville, No Other Name and their song “Lead You To the Cross”, written by the way, in honor of a medical missionary, a doctor who died while she was giving care to those in need. This is Haven Today and a program called, “The Lord My Healer”. As physical needs are still desperate in Haiti, both for food and medical care, I want you to hear some on the ground talk from 3 people working through Missionary Flights International out of Fort Pierce, Florida. I want you to hear firsthand about the hands and feet of Christ. Dr. Lyle Ashberg, an orthopedic surgeon at Palm Beach Medical Center.
DA: The vast majority of patients that we took care of had broken bones or open wounds, crush wounds, open fractures that had not been treated, that had gotten infected, and then some that had not gotten infected but were just untreated for many, many days. Supplies are extremely difficult to come by there. As an orthopedic surgeon trying to treat broken bones there were very, very limited sets of instruments that we could use. A significant number of those people are surgical patients. Just being able to get those people treated was extremely difficult because we did not have the appropriate set up. We had to clean our own instruments, put our own sets together. There was sterilization in the hospital. It was kind of less than perfect. It was very, very long turnaround, so it would be 2 hours before we could get a set of instruments done.
CM: this is Haven Today and I am reminded of Psalm 30 verse 2, “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” I want us to hear from the Association of Haitians Living Abroad for Development. They’re very active in South Florida. They’ve been working with Missionary Flights International getting help in. The director’s name is Pauline.
Pauline: My team is going to assess the Saint Nicholas Hospital in St. Marc. They have this hospital that can only support 50 patients and they have over 400 patients. Out of that 400, 250 of them need surgeries and they don’t have a surgeon, they don’t have an orthopedic and they don’t have any surgical supplies. We have nurses, we have anesthesiologists, we have a medical doctor and we have one pediatrician between us.
CM: Haven Today and we’re calling the program “The Lord My Healer”. The Lord is bringing physical healing in Haiti today, right now, and he’s doing it in many ways. But in God’s eyes healing is not just physical, it’s spiritual. Psalm 103:2-4, “Praise the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Dr. Ramon Vasquez is with Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and he’s been in Haiti, on loan from his hospital.
DRV: We’re seeing now the latent effects of crush injuries of limbs and internal organs. Those general surgical procedures that we more than likely will end up doing are amputations, debridements of major wounds and then bandaging. The blessing of our hospital, Palm Beach Medical Center, the operating room donated all their old equipment that was about to be exchanged anyway after a certain period of time, in addition to a number of drugs, antibiotics, anesthetic agents as well, bandages and a whole host of operative supplies so that we can almost convert almost any room into an operating arena wherever we end up.
CM: Haven Today and “The Lord My Healer”. I’ve got to ask you even in your life where you live and not just Haiti, why can life be so bitter sometimes, so hard? And why is there suffering, especially right now in Haiti? Well, right now what we need is a Savior. And I don’t think that’s just a religious cop out line either. We need a healer, not just to heal our bodies but to heal the bitterness of life, to make life sweet. And then, thinking about what’s going on in Haiti right now and hearing from many Haven Today listeners about what’s happening in their lives I’m recalling the Hebrew term Yahweh Rapha, I AM your healer. In the Bible God calls himself Yahweh, sometimes translated I AM. It is a simple but a profound name, I AM. I don’t need anything. I wasn’t created. I don’t have a beginning. I AM. I AM self-existent, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign, and that’s what the name I AM tells us about God and I’m probably not even getting close, but at least that’s a start. But then there is this addition to his name like Yahweh Rapha, which means, “I AM your Healer”. The Lord is telling us something else about himself. He’s telling us that he is everything we need. I AM is what we need. Study the names of God in the Bible and you get a comprehensive list of the needs of the human race. We need peace, righteousness, provision, shepherding, salvation. He wants us to know not just who he is but who he is for us. He is everything we need. He wants us to know that he is Yahweh Rapha, the Lord our Healer. God gave his people this name just 3 days after he delivered them out of Egypt. 3 days earlier they had been celebrating ecstatically, hundreds of years of bitter, bitter slavery had been brought to an end with a magnificent display of God’s power. They were dancing and playing their tambourines. “Sing to the Lord for he is highly exalted, the horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.” From now on, though life is going to be sweet, right? Wrong! Here’s what happened next, Exodus 15:22-27. And by the way, if you’re joining me in reading the Bible in 90 days, this is day 6 in your reading plan.
“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the desert of Shur. For 3 days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Mara they could not drink its water because it was bitter. That’s why the place is called Mara. So the people grumbled against Moses saying, ‘What are we to drink?’ Then Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water and the water became sweet. Then the Lord made a decree and a law for them and there he tested them. He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians for I AM the Lord who heals you.’” There it is, Yahweh Rapha. Verse 27, “Then they came to Elim where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees and they camped near the water.”
Yahweh Rapha, the Lord, Yahweh, is our Healer. Let’s take each of the elements of the story so we can understand what the Lord is saying and saying to us today. First, there is the bitter water. Life was bitter under the Egyptians but after the Lord delivered them life turned bitter again, just 3 days later. They were desperately thirsty and when they finally found water it was brackish, bitter, so they named the place Mara which means bitter. The bitter water represents the bitterness of life. But then second there’s this other object lesson, the stick. The Lord had Moses pick up a stick and throw it into the water and lo and behold, the water turned sweet. A stick shows up all through the story of the Exodus. It’s a stick, or a staff, that Moses uses to bring the plagues on the Egyptians and then to part the Red Sea, or the Sea of Reeds. And later, it’s a stick he raises to Heaven to bring about the defeat of the Amalakites. It’s a stick with a bronze snake on it that heals the people when they are being punished for their sins. It is a stick that Moses uses to strike the rock so that water comes gushing out later. What is it with this stick? The stick of wood, the staff, the rod, represents the power of God working on behalf of his people. Whenever you read about the staff or the stick you know that God is raising up his arm and acting in the power of his might. There’s the sweet water. The stick of water turns the bitter water sweet. Cool, thirst quenching water when you’re really, really thirsty is the sweetest thing you’ll ever taste. That sweet water represents the sweetness of life. Life is especially sweet after a long, long bitterness comes to an end. Notice that right after this the Lord takes them to Elim where there are 12 springs and 70 palm trees. The Lord is showing them just how sweet life will be, just how overflowing with goodness if – and that’s the big word here, if – and the big word becomes the problem. If, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees.” Follow the history of the Israelites and you find out that the “if” kept getting in the way of the sweet life the Lord had promised to them. Listen to Isaiah 1:4-6, “Ah, sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption. They have forsaken the Lord, they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured. Your whole heart is afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness, only wounds and welts and open sores not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.” Their life was bitter because they were sinners. Their life never got sweeter because of their deep sickness with sin. Yahweh Rapha needed to do a healing in them that would go deep into their souls and heal them at the source of all their bitterness. He needed to get to the heart of the problem. In Isaiah 53 the prophet looks into the future and sees the One God is going to send, the One who is going to accomplish this. Isaiah 53:4 and 5, “Surely, he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.” That’s Jesus Isaiah’s talking about. Jesus is the Great Physician sent by God to heal us. He came with healing in his wings. He came to turn our bitter water sweet. The Gospels are full of one story after another of Jesus healing people, physically, with one touch of his hand, but he knew they needed a deeper healing. He needed to do more than just touch them. He needed to die for them and us. He needed to be resurrected for them and us. And he needed to pour out the Holy Spirit. First, he needed to die for us and that’s what he did. He took all our sin onto himself and suffered the bitterness of it in our place. That’s what Isaiah 53 is all about. Second, he needed to be resurrected for us, and he was! His resurrection means these 3 things for believers according to the scripture: It means we’re justified in the eyes of God. The great impossible “If” was satisfied on our behalf by Jesus and based on his obedience the Lord pronounces us righteous. But second it means that we’re guaranteed to receive resurrected bodies like his, free from pain, free from disease and death, all our wounds will be permanently, fully healed. And then third it means we’re going to be the true Elim, the paradise of God where all the bitter sufferings will finally be over and we can drink the sweet water of life. So first he needed to die for us, but second he needed to be resurrected for us and third he needed to pour out the Holy Spirit on us. And he has! The Spirit is the beginning, the foretaste, the first sweet sips of the water of life. Life can’t be sweet without the sweet water of the Holy Spirit coming into us and changing everything on the inside. If you’ve ever tried to change yourself, to make yourself what God requires you know you really are sick with sin. But the Spirit begins the process of healing, a process that will one day be complete. He brings light into our souls, light that the Bible associates with healing. He can change even our sufferings into sweet places. The dry valleys become a place of springs because of the presence of the Spirit. Jesus is our Great Physician. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of God to be our Rapha, our Healer. He has done what had to be done to turn bitter lives sweet, for you and me where we live and for people who need him desperately in Haiti today.
Song: If We Don’t Believe
Performed by: Harvest
A classic song that came out a number of years ago, Harvest and “If We Don’t Believe” here on this Haven Today, “The Lord My Healer”. Thank you for joining me. Thank you for encouraging so many people in Haiti if you are one of those who has already responded. Let me tell you what we’re asking you to do. Let me tell you how we’re doing it. First we’re asking you to pray. And second, we’re asking you to give smart. And we’re at the point now where the national and the international media is declining in their coverage of what’s going on in Haiti, but after all those camera lenses have gone and all the microphones have been packed up and put away, Haiti is still going to need Jesus. And people are still going to be needing physical help and spiritual help and I think we know the way to get it to them. That’s by first praying and then giving smart. We’re sending your gift to Haven, if you just mark it “Haiti” or make sure you delineate which part is for Haiti and which part is for Haven, we’ll send all of the Haiti amount – 100% of it, not a dime for Haven – to 2 organizations. First, HCJB Global with their rapid response medical team, they, I think are on their second wave of a medical team in there right now because in those kind of conditions where there running a 100 bed hospital you just can’t go more than a few days around the clock so their sending in waves of surgeons and physicians, something they train for out of their Kito Center. That’s the first thing and then the second thing is you’ve got to get help there and I can’t think of a more in tune organization than Missionary Flights International. So we’re giving to them as well. They’re out of South Florida and they’re flying in missionaries for all kinds of mission organizations but they are, more than that, flying in relief supplies as well, medical supplies and food supplies. So, that’s what I’d ask you to do. Just go to our website, h.a.v.e.n.t.o.d.a.y, haventoday.org for more information about what we’re doing with your gift, 100% of it to Haiti. And also you can call us if you like and that toll free number is 1-800-654-2836. Let us know how you’re listening when you call 1-800-654-2836. And when you go online or when you call you can still get from us the “Bible in 90 Days”. I’m back on track with it now after being gone a few days and I thank the Lord for that. You could join me and you can start anytime by reading the Bible cover to cover in less than 3 months. There’s a special Bible you can ask us about or go online and see or you can download the reading plan online or we’ll mail you a copy if you just give us a call. I’m Charles Morris and thanks for joining me. Would you come back again tomorrow when again we’ll share the great story of Jesus, the Lord our Healer and we’ll do it together here on Haven Today.
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