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Archive for February, 2015

Verse 16: “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

The evil Lord of Time had captured and transported 4 Justice Leaguers to the 1870’s Old West. He had robbed Green Lantern, the Elongated Man, Zatanna, and the Flash of their memories, making them his unwitting pawns in a scheme to capture an anti-matter bubble from space from vaporizing on Earth (so he could use its power in his schemes). He arranged for them to meet up with some of the Old West’s more famous adventurers (in the DC universe anyway): Jonah Hex, Scalphunter, Cinnamon, and Bat Lash.

Jonah Hex, the West’s greatest bounty hunter of the late 1800’s, encountered Green Lantern as he was on the verge of dying from dehydration and sun exposure in the desert. Nursing him back to health at his campsite, Green Lantern recovered enough to accompany Jonah to a town named Desecration. On their way, Hex remarked how GL looked “a whole lot better than yuh did when I found yuh…could be that magic ring of yours that did the job.” GL confided that he wish he knew…that he knew how to use the “power ring” but had no idea how he got it or what it was…”that worries me even more than losing my name!”

Here is where Jonah Hex says something interesting: “ How d’yuh figure that? Seems to me a man’s name is more important than most anything else he’s got!” Lighting a freshly-rolled cigarette, Hex continues, “A good name will get yuh welcomed by polite society.” Tossing his spent match on the ground, it hits the head of a rattlesnake who can begins to rattle and to rise and strike…”a bad name…” at which point Hex lightning-draws his six-shooter and blows the head off the snake “…gets you nothing but enemies!” he says, as he blows the gunsmoke off the gun’s barrel. (all this was from the original Justice League of America series #199 story “Grand Canyon Showdown” from 1981.)

Ironically enough, the beginning of the story peers into the thoughts of the villainous Time Lord, as the narrator remarks he had long ago quit using a name, discarding its importance, remarking that a title was more desirable.

Peter is preaching to the crowd at the temple, telling them that the lame man was healed by the power of the name of Jesus Christ…”through faith in His name”. Jesus had departed from His earthly form and ministry but charged the disciples to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. They were to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, and thus empowered, do healing and miracles in His name. Jesus…the Name above all Names. People have come to salvation through His name from the time of Acts…until today and tomorrow. Talk about an important name!

Something to think about.

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Verses 7-8: “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God.”

Years ago, I was driving home from a high school football game by myself. I was taking a paved, two-lane county road through the woods. It was raining lightly, but steady. As I rounded a curve, I saw a good-sized tree limb in the road. I braked enough to roll over the limb in my truck, but the way the limb was shaped, it caught my front tires and spun me off the road. When I recovered from the shock of what happened, I discovered I was precariously perched on the edge of an under-the-road cattle crossing / drainage ditch, about 12 feet deep. Not too many minutes afterward, another vehicle came along and stopped. I heard a voice, and boy did that voice sound great! “Hey, you okay over there?” I answered back that I was okay, and that my parents lived down the road…could he give me a lift? Then, I heard the man call my name, and ask “is that you”? Turns out my rescuer was known to me! Boy, I was so glad to hear Tommy’s voice! He helped me get out of the truck and took me to my folks’ house (where I spent the night). The next morning, my brother-in-law was able to use my father’s tractor to pull the truck out.

You see, where I went off the road, there were no nearby houses, no street lights, and it was completely dark. I couldn’t even see how deep that ditch was, so that’s why I didn’t just climb down from the truck. The next day, when I saw how deep it was, I realize I could’ve been seriously hurt; more than that, I wouldn’t have been able to have been seen from the road. Turns out a cradle of limbs held my truck like a net from going nose-first into that ditch! But that previous night, I didn’t care who my mysterious rescuer was at the time, I was just so glad that he came along to save me. Knowing who it was made me feel even more relieved!

The lame man had just been witnessed to by Peter and John. Peter, in the name of Jesus Christ and with His power, delivered to the man the best gift his body could have…the ability to walk! Talk about happy! He knew that day who Jesus was, and he was non-stop praising God as he entered the temple. I’m sure that he was glad to hear Peter’s voice and message to him that day. He knew now who had rescued him. More than that, he now knew Who had saved him, period. Now, he knew Jesus!

Something to think about.

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Verse 6: “Then Peter said: “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.””

I remember seeing an old black-and-white comic strip advertisement for Charles Atlas in comic books that I read as a child. It would detail the skinny young man getting sand kicked in his face by beefier bullies on the beach. The young man finally gets tired of the ridicule (even the good-natured ribbing from his girlfriend) and decides to send away for Charles Atlas’s free body-building program book (all it cost was a stamp). Weeks later, he has a bodybuilder physique; not only that, he has bolstered confidence and courage to push back against the bullies and become the “Hero of the Beach”.

Here was Peter and John going to temple and encountering a lame man begging for alms at the gate. Peter could have made the wrong choice (which he oft times did) or offered money (which, of course, he didn’t have) or offered an excuse (which he could have, but didn’t). Instead Peter, empowered and filled with Christ-centered confidence and courage offered the man what he really needed: healing for his physical and spiritual state, most importantly through the power of the name of Jesus Christ.

Talk about a transformation!

So…are you sharing what Christ has given you today with those who need it?

Something to think about.

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