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Today’s story is about an old country doctor that dates back to the late 1930s when doctors made house calls. Isaac Pender was his name. Everyone in the area for two reasons respected him. First, he was an excellent doctor who provided compassion care for his patients. Secondly, Doc Pender was a good Christian man. He had taught a Sunday school class at his church for years and he was well acquainted with what the Bible says.

Doc Pender had a horse and carriage that he used to go see those who got sick or injured. Doc also had a Beagle hound that he always took with him when he made house calls. That Beagle would sit on the carriage seat as Doc drove down the dusty country roads. When Doc arrived at a patient’s house the dog would jump down and wait on the porch for Doc to finish his patient care.

On one particular day, there was a knock on Doc Pender’s door. It was Elizabeth Hays and she pleaded with Doc to quickly come help her husband Zeb. Zeb Hays had fallen out of the barn hayloft. Doc Pender quickly hitched up his horse to the buggy. The Beagle jumped up on the seat. Doc Pender hollered, "Get Up!" and away they went to the Hays farm as fast as that horse could trot.

Upon arrival at the farmhouse, Doc Pender went inside to examine his patient. Zeb was in bad shape. After a thorough examination, Doc gave Zeb the bad news. There was nothing he could do for him. "Zeb!" Doc said, "I think it’s only fair that I be honest with you. You are a dying man. It’s time for you to repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Savior." Naturally, the news came as quite a shock to the farmer, but Zeb took Doc Pender’s advice. He prayed with Doc and he was saved. Then Doc Pender patted the dying man’s hand and said, "Now your soul will go to heaven when you die."

Zeb Hays had never spent any time reading in the Bible so he didn’t know much about heaven. As death drew near, Zeb asked Doc Pender to tell him something about the place to which he was going. Doc recognized the fact that explaining what heaven was like to a man like Zeb was not going to be easy. As Doc fumbled for a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and he had his answer. "Do you hear that?" he asked Zeb. "It’s my dog. I left him out on the porch, but he has grown impatient. He has never been in your house and he has no notion what is inside this door, but he knows that I am here. He hears my voice and wants to be with his master."

(From a sermon by David Rigg, I Can Only Imagine! 7/31/2011)

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